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Spotlight on High Point’s transportation, furniture

By Gary McCullough
Correspondent

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    The museum, at 1859 E. Lexington Ave., is open 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; closed Sunday-Mondays and major holidays. Admission: free. The historic buildings are open for guided tours Saturdays only. Info: 336-885-1859; www.highpointmuseum.org.



An exhibit building and three historic structures give visitors to the High Point Museum & Historical Park a wealth of information about this Triad town.

Distance

High Point is 78 miles from Charlotte; plan on a 90-minute drive.

To see and do

The spacious first-floor exhibit galleries focus upon many of the “high points” of High Point history. Largely settled by Quakers, the region experienced significant growth when the North Carolina Railroad was completed, connecting Goldsboro with Charlotte on a 223-mile, crescent-shaped route through the Piedmont. According to legend, the railroad surveyor told his crew at this place – where the route intersected the Fayetteville and Western Plank Road was 943 feet above sea level – “Men, this is the highest point along the whole survey; so we will mark it High Point.” The name stuck.

Museum exhibits spotlight some of the industries for which the High Point area has become famous, including examples of the kind of furniture that eventually earned the region its reputation as the “Furniture Capital of the World.” The Perley A. Thomas Car Works, which moved to High Point in 1910, originally built streetcars; today the company manufactures perhaps the most recognizable vehicle on America’s highways – the yellow school bus. Other exhibits display changes in technology, social customs and popular culture, and a small exhibit on High Point musician John Coltrane, one of the famed “Carolina Be-Bop Kings.” A new featured attraction is “Meredith’s Miniatures,” a collection of 30 highly detailed miniature rooms by High Point native Meredith Slane Michener.

The historical park includes High Point’s oldest surviving structure, the John and Phebe Haley House (1786). Like the Haley house, another home built to last was the log cabin raised by Philip and Mary Hoggart around 1801.

Along with these two homes, the park also includes an 18th-century blacksmith shop.

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