Historic Concord, NC for an Explore

It's not often one can meader through a town whose history dates back over 200 years. Back in the late 1700s, it seems there was a disagreement between the German and Scots-Irish settlements in the area over exactly where the County seat of the newly formed county of Cabarrus should be located. A compromise was eventually reached, and the new city was founded in 1796 on a 26 acre site. The city was named Concord, meaning "harmony," to reflect the spirit in which the issue was settled. We did meander and it was enjoyable and informative.

We began at this building, that acted like a beacon drawing us to the historic section of town. It was absolutely stunning. The seat of local Government for nearly 100 years, it is one of North Carolina's finest examples of late nineteenth century public architecture. The Court House, the third for Cabarrus County, displays the success of the early textile industry. This entire area saw tremendous growth in the late 1800s, when the downtown was lined with merchants. The successful business owners built very stylish buildings, many of which we ogled today. In addition, wonderful Arts Council employee, Lisa, gave us an impromptu tour and history lesson.
While we were ogling another building, a woman came up to us and asked if we needed help (we did look like lost tourists, to be certain). Carol then shared with us the history of the building behind Steve, which she owns. She even invited us in for another history lesson and tour. The people of Concord are incredibly kind, welcoming and proud of their community. Now the Piedmont Renaissance Center- a gorgeous event place, it began in 1923 as the Cabarrus Bank and Trust Building. We loved, and were confused, by this description of it, "As an important Beaux Arts classical Revival building, it is also clad in ashlar limestone at the first two levels. Above the second story cornice, yellow brick pilasters with Corinthian capitals rise to a broad frieze and a cornice trimmed with dentils and modillion blocks."
Okay, so yes, I love Coke and I love vintage, but this wall mural is so much cooler than what you see, when the history is known. From an article titled, Restored Coca-Cola Murals Refresh Southern Downtowns:
    There are a handful of artists who are breathing new life into faded Coca-Cola murals and the small Southern cities they call home. Charlotte, N.C.-based Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, the nation’s largest independent Coca-Cola bottler, has worked with community officials to give more than two dozen murals across its 15-state territory a second – or, in some cases, third – life.
    It all started in 2011, when Concord's Mayor approached Consolidated’s SVP of corporate affairs, Lauren Steele, at the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race. He asked for help restoring a recently uncovered Coca-Cola wall sign as part of a broader revitalization effort. Steele agreed, and other towns quickly took notice.
    “We tapped into a movement,” Steele said. “These old wall murals are an important part of our Coca-Cola history. But they’re also an important part of the history of these towns. They’re so much more than painted signs to people. They’re living testaments to the enduring bond between Coca-Cola and the American experience…. and we’re rekindling that emotional connection.”
This cool sign was painted by Andy Thompson. Thompson has hand-painted and restored thousands of signs over the last 50-plus years of working with Coca-Cola. Painted wall signs were one of the earliest forms of Coca-Cola advertising, dating back to the 1890s. I keep saying that history is found in some pretty unique places. I loved this lesson- truly! 
We paused briefly at the Memorial Garden. These three acres were originally purchased by the First Presbyterian Church in 1804 for construction of its first sanctuary in 1810. When the church was moved from the site in 1874, the land was used as a cemetery and over the years it was terribly neglected. In 1931, Sally Phifer Williamson (the Phifer family has been in Concord since the 1700s) restored its beauty as a memorial to her mother. It is considered to be one of North Carolina's hidden treasures.





We were introduced to S & D Coffee in Charleston. When we drove by their headquarters, we smelled it before we spotted it. We had to stop, get a cup of coffee, a photo, and a little history, too. It all started in 1927, when J. Roy Davis, Sr. and Lawrence Switzer created a company to provide fresh roasted coffee to local and regional grocery stores. As the company grew, they learned about buying the raw beans, the intricacies of different roasting processes and, especially, the simple but deep pleasure that a quality cup of coffee can bring. From those humble beginnings, this company has grown and makes delicious coffee.

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2 comments:

Karen Booth said...

Also being a Coke fan I loved the mural, the Memorial Garden looked amazing -- SO loved the statue/birdbath in the plants. I would have delighted in taking that exact photo! And you are still taunting me with your insect photos.

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