Christmas Ornament Series

The Mitchell County Historical Society has created a series of glass Christmas ornaments featuring historic buildings in the county. Subjects are chosen based on their historic significance, and a new ornament is introduced each year.

The 2017 Ornament – The Spruce Pine Depot

Photo of the Spruce Pine Christmas Depot ornament, which is gold in colorWe step forward in time for this year’s ornament to the 1920s to celebrate the lifeline that opened up the region to the outside world: The Clinchfield Railroad.

Planning for what was to become the Clinchfield began all the way back in the 1820s when dreams of linking the coal fields of Appalachia with ports along the Atlantic coast inspired investors to try for decades to come up with a way through the mountains. Finally, Hillsville, Virginia native George Carter took over another failed attempt at building the route and managed to push it to completion. His South & Western Railroad purchased rights-of-way and arrived in what was to become Spruce Pine in 1903. Workers then managed to work their way down the Blue Ridge constructing the famous Loops, connecting with what was to become the Southern Railroad in 1909. At that time, the South & Western morphed into the famous Clinchfield Railroad and it made the economic dream a reality.

Not long after the railroad arrived in the Spruce Pine area, Dr. Charles Peterson, John Cox, and Tom Byrd purchased land back from the South & Western and established Spruce Pine where the railroad had constructed a depot. In 1923, the Clinchfield replaced that original depot with a new building that was of a standard design along the route. The Spruce Pine Depot provided as both freight and passenger service to the region, providing a vital connection to the outside world when roads were few in number and poor in quality. That depot stands on Lower Street to this day.

Passenger service ended in 1952 and major freight operations from the region, save the mining industry, had ended by the 1980s. Today, CSX still operates trains over the tracks that belonged to Carter’s railroad, but the Clinchfield itself ceased to be an independent company in the 1980s. This ornament celebrates the heyday of the Clinchfield run, with the famous Number 1 engine sitting beside the depot preparing for its trip down The Loops and on into the Carolina piedmont.

Buy Ornaments & Support the MCHS

Our Christmas ornament series make great gifts! Whether you are shopping for someone’s birthday, Christmas, anniversary, or “just because,” the choice of an ornament or the ornament set will be appreciated by anyone interested in history or beautiful buildings in Mitchell County.

All purchases made through our store benefit the Historical Society and its mission of preserving the history and heritage of Mitchell County.

To purchase, just choose from the Add to Cart button below each item below. Shipping will be added to the purchase price. We use PayPal for our online payment processing. You do not have to have a PayPal account to make a purchase from us.

Photo of the Spruce Pine Christmas Depot ornament, which is gold in color

Year 6 –
Spruce Pine Depot

Price $20.00 (+$7.00 shipping)

The iconic Clinchfield Engine No. 1 sits beside the historic Spruce Pine Depot. The railroad made its way to the fledgling town of Spruce Pine in 1903. The hamlet quickly grew into a sizable town and was incorporated in 1907, with all activity catering around the railroad and the depot.

The sixth Christmas ornament in our series celebrates this vital economic lifeline to the region and continues our collection of historic locations in Mitchell County for our series of Christmas ornaments.

Photo of the Kona Baptist Church Ornament

Year 5 –
Kona Baptist Church

Price $15.00 (+$7.00 shipping)

The Old Kona Baptist Church is the site of one of the most notorious graves in Mitchell County. Charlie Silver’s body is buried in three graves there. He was murdered and dismembered in 1831, and his wife Frankie was convicted of the crime and became the first woman to be hanged in North Carolina when she was executed in Morganton.

The fifth Christmas ornament in our series records the location of this famous gravesite and is the perfect addition to your collection of historic locations in Mitchell County.

photo of the Penland Post Office ornament

Year 4 –
Penland Post Office

Price $15.00 (+$7.00 shipping)

The Penland Post Office is at the site of a once-thriving community that featured a mica operation, lumber company, general store,  train station, and post office. A flood in 1916 significantly damaged buildings and the area began a decline. Today, the oldest continuously-operating post office location in Mitchell County continues to serve Penland, and a non-profit organization is raising money to renovate the building and preserve it.

This ornament, the fourth in our series, features an iconic view of the famous building.

Photo of The English Inn Ornament

Year 3 –
The English Inn

Price $15.00 (+$7.00 shipping)

The English Inn in Spruce Pine is one of the most important historic structures in the region. The original section of the structure was built in the 1700s and may have. It was later purchased by Isaac English who ran it as an inn and tavern in the mid- to late-1800s. He served as a surveyor and postmaster, and his wife Alice gave Spruce Pine its name in the late 1800s.

English also was involved in early mining efforts in the region, partnering with Colonel J.M. Gere of Syracuse, NY to start the English Mica Company in the 1880s, which operated out of a section of the Inn. This was the first company to incorporate to conduct mining in the area.

The third in our series of Christmas ornaments features a classic view of the Inn, which is located near the center of Spruce Pine.

Photo of Dellinger Grist Mill Ornament

Year 2 –
Dellinger Grist Mill

Price $15.00 (+$7.00 shipping)

The Dellinger Grist Mill, located at Hawk, NC, was constructed originally by Reuben Dellinger in 1867. It was operated for 88 years by successive generations. After years of benign neglect, Jack Dellinger restored the mill in 2000 and operates it grinding cornmeal, grits, and polenta. It is currently the last water-powered/stone-ground grist mill of its kind in North Carolina. It is a working historical artifact.

The second ornament in the MCHS series honors the classic mill, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Photo of the McBee Building Christmas Ornament

Year 1 –
McBee Building

Price $15.00 (+$7.00 shipping)

The first ornament in the Mitchell County Historical Society’s series features the current Mitchell County Historical Society Museum. It is located in the old law offices of John McBee, which is directly behind the Historic Mitchell County Courthouse in downtown Bakersville.

Mr McBee was a noted lawyer in the region and was extensively involved in civic and charitable organizations. This ornament kicks off the MCHS project of showcasing historical locations throughout Mitchell county.

Photo of the full set of Christmas ornaments

Full Set of
Christmas Ornaments

Price $70.00 (+$20.00 shipping)

Here’s your chance to purchase the complete set of historic ornaments offered by the MCHS. Featuring all five ornaments at a discounted price, this collection is sure to please anyone who enjoys the history of Mitchell County. It includes the McBee Building (the current MCHS Museum), Dellinger Grist Mill, English Inn, Penland Post Office, and Kona Baptist Church.

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