On Wednesday, North Carolina governor Pat McCrory announced his budget proposal for 2013-2015. While there is much to be applauded in the budget, including a $139 million dollar surplus at the end of the year, the closing of five North Carolina historic sites, an estimated savings of a mere $498,712, is not an appropriate move. The historic sites which Governor McCrory’s budget plan proposes to cut are as follows: the Aycock Birthplace, the Polk Memorial, the Vance Birthplace, the House in the Horseshoe, and the Mountain Gateway Museum.
There are only three North Carolina “historic sites” in western North Carolina. They are the Vance Birthplace, the Mountain Gateway Museum, and the Thomas Wolfe House in Asheville. By closing the first two, western North Carolina is left with only one: the Thomas Wolfe House. What detrimental effect will this have on our region?
The Mountain Gateway Museum and Heritage center is the only western North Carolina museum dedicated to the mountain culture. The mountains of western North Carolina generate more than their fair share of tax revenue for our great state. Where else can people come and learn about the area from a state-sponsored museum?
Concerning the Vance birthplace—it seems that until recently, everyone understood than Zebulon Baird Vance was the greatest governor we have ever had in North Carolina. While opposed to the Civil War, he nevertheless piloted our great state through those awful times, with great success. He served in the general assembly, the US House, as a three-term governor, and in the US Senate. We honored him by naming a county and town in Iredell County after him. He has a monument to his memory in Asheville, in Charlotte, in Weaverville, on the grounds of the state house in Raleigh, and one of our two statues in the US Capitol is of Vance (the other is of Governor Aycock). Is it possible that since Vance (and Aycock) held some views not considered politically correct today that we are attempting to relegated them to the footnotes of history?
So, let me encourage you, my readers, to write to Governor McCrory and your representative in the General Assembly, and to sign the online petitions to keep our historic sites open. And even more, to devote the time and tax dollars to make them better places.
Save Vance Birthplace petition
Save Mountain Gateway Museum petition
Read the whole thing here.