Cannon Charitable Interests Award Major Gifts to Help Preserve North Carolina History
RALEIGH — Another step to preserve history and protect North Carolina’s past is taken with grant awards totaling $480,000 to the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources by the Cannon Charitable Interests. Alamance Battleground in Burlington will receive $80,000, Roanoke Island in Dare County will receive $200,000 and Historic Bath will receive $200,000.
Alamance Battleground was the site of the War of the Regulation in 1771, in which backcountry farmers fought against colonial Gov. William Tryon and his militia in protest of taxation, dishonest sheriffs and illegal fees. The outnumbered “Regulators” were defeated. Yet their anti-government spirit inspired many Patriots five years later. Two tracts of land where Regulators rallied and fought are for sale.
The $80,000 grant award from The Cannon Foundation is the lead gift in the department’s fundraising efforts to protect Alamance. It will be used to leverage additional support to purchase the two tracts totaling 45 acres. The additional property will offer a buffer from continued urban expansion and allow for historical interpretation and reenactments in a more pristine setting.
Roanoke Island was the site of one of England’s first New World settlements in the 1500s and is the region where Fort Raleigh was built. It was a hub for Native Americans, other Europeans and African Americans seeking freedom. The prime real estate surrounding Fort Raleigh is of tremendous historical significance also. The State Historic Preservation Office has been working with the Conservation Fund and the Roanoke Island Historical Association to raise funds to purchase a 20.48-acre tract of land to preserve and protect the area. The Charles A. Cannon Charitable Trust’s $200,000 grant completed the funding needed for purchase thereby securing the environmental and historic value of the site for future generations.
The Trust also provided $200,000 for the renovation of the former Bath High School and its conversion to an exhibit center for Bath State Historic Site. Bath High School is located alongside the colonial-era National Register Historic District and was in danger of being demolished. The Bath Historical Foundation has raised $850,000 to save the building. A renovated first-floor gallery space opened earlier this year, but additional funding is needed to complete renovations to the remainder of the building.
Future renovations will include installation of an elevator to make the property ADA compliant. Areas will be created for artifact conservation and preparation, a workshop for exhibit development, exhibit gallery, and an area for special programming and events, and rentals. Historic Bath staff will be better able to tell the story of the town’s importance during the Colonial period, the Tuscarora War, and Blackbeard’s era, upon completion of the renovation.
The Division of State Historic Sites and the State Historic Preservation Office are within the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
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