Historic Bath on display

Published 9:25 pm Thursday, May 3, 2012

Memorabilia from the early days of the Historic Bath State Historic Site are displayed in the town’s visitor center. A celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the site will be held Saturday. (WDN Photo/Kevin Scott Cutler)

BATH — A collection of newspaper clippings, yellowed with age, tells the story of the founding of the Historic Bath State Historic Site.

The site, a favorite destination for anyone wishing to learn more about North Carolina’s early history, celebrates its golden anniversary Saturday.

To commemorate that milestone, Bea Latham, the site’s assistant manager, has assembled a special collection of memorabilia. Displayed in the Bath visitor center, that collection will be available for public viewing for the remainder of 2012.

The display showcases items collected by the late Edmund Harding, whom Latham praised “for having the vision to spearhead the movement to preserve the unique history of Bath.” The display includes an extensive collection of Washington Daily News clippings; many of the featured articles were written by Harding as he worked tirelessly to promote Bath while raising funds to renovate and restore historic homes there. Displayed alongside the clippings are other memorabilia, including photographs of Bath as it appeared in the early 1960s.

“We are fortunate to have the Edmund Harding scrapbook here,” Latham said. “He was a man after my own heart because he saved everything! Through what he saved, we really know a lot about what happened in 1962.”

Latham pointed to several newspaper clippings, carefully preserved from a half century ago.

“The newspaper clippings are just mountainous,” Latham noted. “The Daily News helped keep people informed as to what was happening in Bath.”

Captured in the selection of photographs are images of townspeople, dressed in colonial-style attire, greeting visitors to Bath for the site’s May 5, 1962, grand opening.

“It was something that was done for Bath, by Bath people, to share with any visitor that wanted to come through,” Latham said.

Saturday’s festivities kick off with an opening ceremony at 11 a.m. on Bonner Point. Guest speakers will recall the early days of the Historic Bath site, and a portrait of Harding by Washington artist Nancy Scoble will be unveiled. Free tours of the historic Palmer-Marsh House, Bonner House and Van Der Veer House will be offered.

For more information about Saturday’s schedule of events, call 252-923-3971 or visit www.bath.nchistoricsites.org.