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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. We use PayPal for our online payment processing. You do not have to have a PayPal account to make a purchase from us.
The 2019 Ornament – Mitchell County Courthouse
Historic Courthouse BellThe first Mitchell County Courthouse, built in 1869, served the county well until 1907 with the grand opening of the new Courthouse which was built on the site of the first courthouse.
More than just a courtroom where justice was served, the building was a gateway to the lives of Mitchell County people.
It held records of their births, deaths, marriages, divorces, military service, property sales, and mineral rights. Minutes of the County Commissioners were kept there also. It was where young men reluctantly or bravely went to sign up for the draft and where other young men gathered on their way to war.
Over the years, the bell in the familiar cupola called people to court. It also was rung to celebrate many a New Year’s Day as well as the end of the First and Second World Wars. It was used by the Town of Bakersville to call residents to fight fires, including the night in 1922 when much of the town was destroyed and the Courthouse itself was in danger.
Music groups including Arthur Smith, Bill Monroe, and Roy Acuff played and sang for appreciative audiences in the only space in the area that could accommodate the shows. The Methodist Church South congregation used the courtroom in the mid 1920’s while their new church building was constructed following damage to the first church during the May 1901 flood.
After Mitchell County built a new Courthouse in 2003, the faithful building stood proud but neglected. Rains damaged once beautiful tin ceilings and threatened foot-thick walls of brick and plaster. Fortunately, the original builders had completed their work so well that the building withstood the assaults on its structure while waiting patiently for rescue.
With input from the citizens of Mitchell County, the Board of Commissioners leased the building on a long-term basis to the Mitchell County Historic Courthouse Foundation, a non-profit organization which took responsibility for raising the necessary funds to completely renovate the building and make it available for community use.
In Fall 2006, the Foundation formed a 501(c) (3) organization to raise money for renovation and to determine how the building would be used. “Our intention is to create a space that will contribute to the entire County by promoting education, economic development, and appreciation for our heritage,” said George Wilson, Bakersville Alderman and Foundation Board Member. “This building is more than a historical site, it is a place that will continue to contribute to the entire County for many years.”
While maintaining the historical character of the building was important, making sure it was renovated with the most recent environmentally responsible techniques and materials possible was the goal of the Mitchell County Historic Courthouse Foundation. This included a geothermal HVAC system, first in the County in a public building. Also, low VOC paint, water efficient toilets, special floor and wall treatments, and insulated windows and doors to save money plus provide the public with a healthy and energy efficient environment.
In a little over 3 years, the Foundation raised nearly $1,000,000 thru grant and foundation contributions. Less than 1% of the total costs for restoration came from local tax sources. Notable among organizations that believed in the Foundation’s campaign theme, Putting Heritage to Work, were the NC Center for Rural Development, HandMade in America, the Janirve Foundation, the SECU Foundation, and the Samuel Phillips Family Foundation. The Foundation also received funds from Project Broadband USA.
In 2015, the Historic Courthouse was returned to the County; the Department of Elections is housed there, and space is provided for the Mitchell County Historical Society and the Rural Education Partnership. The courtroom continues to be used for a wide variety of public events and gatherings. The goal of the Foundation to keep the building working for the people of Mitchell County continues to be a reality.
The 2019 Mitchell County Historical Society Christmas Ornament honors this historic building, built of cast stone and designed in the Classical Revival style. which is home to the MCHS offices on the first floor. The building was designed by H.L. Lewman and was constructed by the Falls City Construction Company. The Yancey County Courthouse, built in 1905, is almost a clone of the building. 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 7 – Cloudland Hotel
Price $17 – 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.
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 $100.00 – 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..