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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.
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.
The 2018 Ornament – The Cloudland Hotel
In 1885 Civil War general Thomas Wilder constructed a grand resort hotel atop Roan Mountain near a hunting lodge he had built after he came to the area following the war. The Cloudland Hotel opened to great fanfare with plans to make Roan Mountain a destination for those seeking relief from the summer’s heat and allergies. Wilder had a home in Roan Mountain, Tennessee but he enjoyed summers atop The Roan and thought a resort would be a big moneymaker. Not only would was the Cloudland Hotel located at a high elevation with cooling breezes, it featured fine dining, games, outdoor activities and other amenities for guests, including 166 rooms with copper bathtubs, cherry furniture, and spring mattresses for the beds. The Cloudland was built straddling the state line between North Carolina and Tennessee. In fact, the line ran through the dining room and a table had a representation of it painted down its length. This made for some interesting times as Mitchell County was “dry” (no alcoholic beverage sales) while Carter County, Tennessee was “wet” (allowing alcoholic beverages). The Mitchell County sheriff would station himself strategically on his side of the state line, arresting anyone venturing over from the Tennessee side and charging them with public drunkenness. The resort was the destination of visitors from the U.S. and Europe. John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, was a visitor in the 1890s and was most impressed with the environment of Roan Mountain and with the hotel. Alas, the short summer season atop Roan Mountain combined with high maintenance costs on the building doomed the venture. In 1910, the Cloudland closed, its contents and exquisite woodwork sold off or pilfered. The building eventually fell in and a portion of it burned. Today, little evidence of the grand hotel remains in its location atop Roan Mountain.
The 2018 Mitchell County Historical Society Christmas Ornament celebrates the heyday of the Cloudland Hotel. It is decorated with a drawing of the famous resort that appeared in a newspaper ad in the 1890s along with a sprig of the famous rhododendron that appears in the largest naturally-occurring rhododendron gardens in the world atop Roan Mountain. A brief version of its history is included on the back. This keepsake is perfect for anyone who has an interest in Roan Mountain and the grandeur of resort hotels from the late 19th Century. It is glass and comes in a box to protect it during shipment and storage. The ornament is $22 and can be ordered online by clicking the button below. You can also purchase ornaments at the MCHS office located in the Mitchell County Historic Courthouse in Bakersville during business hours (Wednesday-Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.).
Purchase Previous Ornaments
The Mitchell County Historical Society also offers ornaments from prior years for sale at $15 per ornament (plus shipping) for online orders. These ornaments can also be purchased in our office in the Mitchell County Historic Courthouse in Bakersville during business hours of Wednesdays through Saturdays., 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Make online purchases by clicking the button under the ornament(s) you wish to buy.
Year 6 – Spruce Pine Depot
Price $17 – 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.
Year 5 – Kona Baptist Church
Price $17 – 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.
Year 4 – Penland Post Office
Price $17 – 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.
Year 3 – The English Inn
Price $17 – 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.
Year 2 – Dellinger Grist Mill
Price $17 – 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.
Year 1 – McBee Building
Price $17 – 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.
Full Set of Christmas Ornaments
Price $87.00 – Here’s your chance to purchase the complete set of historic ornaments offered by the MCHS. Featuring all seven 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, Kona Baptist Church, the Spruce Pine Depot and the Cloudland Hotel..