Grants help Bath preserve historic sites

Published 8:10 am Sunday, November 28, 2010

Special to the Daily News

BATH — The Historic Bath Foundation awarded its largest grant ever to another Bath organization and other grants to help restore several historic sites in North Carolina’s oldest town.
The foundation awarded a $50,000 grant to Bath High School Preservation, a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization, to help its effort to restore the former Bath High School.
Surry Everette, president of the Historic Bath Foundation, describes how the foundation operates.
“We typically give small grants around March of every year, but those are usually around $5,000. These are open to anyone in the Bath area that has something historic that they want some assistance on.”
Jim Edwards, president of Bath High School Preservation, said the old Bath High School building has some recognizable value to the town.
“The high school is on the National Historic Registry as a national treasure. We had an architect come in and do a survey about possible uses for the school. He found that the auditorium was perfectly fitted for a performing arts center. He suggested a museum and library for other parts of the school.”
The reference about the registry means the building is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Much of the work to repair and refurbish the building continues.
A $10,000 grant was awarded to the Town of Bath for a planned “green space” project — Lawson’s Walk — on the outskirts of Bath to honor English explorer John Lawson. The proposed project calls for building a pedestrian walkway with informative markers describing Lawson’s life and work.
Leigh Swain, site manager for the Historic Bath State Historic Site, spoke about some of the specifics of the Lawson’s Walk project.
“What is in consideration is including information about plants that Lawson mentioned in his book, ‘A New Voyage to Carolina.’ They are also looking for low-maintenance things, native plants, but as low maintenance as possible.”
Lawson played a major role in the founding of North Carolina’s earliest permanent European settlements, Bath and New Bern, in the New World. Lawson became one of Bath’s first commissioners. Later, he became clerk and public registrar for Bath County.
Bath residents have donated to the Lawson’s Walk project. Other contributors to the project included Wal-Mart, PotashCorp and the Beaufort County Committee of 100. The Lawson’s Walk project also received funding through North Carolina’s Adopt-a-Trail Grant Program. The Adopt-a-Trail program was established in 1987.