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Charlotte, North Carolina
October 3, 2006
Before you enjoy the Hezekiah Alexander homestead, take time to stop in the stunning 36,000 square foot newly expanded Charlotte Museum.
The museum is dedicated to telling the history of Charlotte and the surrounding area. You first walk into the rotund marbled front desk and pick up a map of the museum and sign up for the tour of the Alexander home.
To the left you will see the history of Charlotte as it started to immerse into the 19th century. There are displays and artifacts of every day citizens, see how Charlotte began it rise as a banking giants with a display of a early 1900’s bank, see mementos from when Mother Theresa was in Charlotte in 1995 to open up one of her charities, and see a display to one of Charlotte’s most prominent citizens..Rev. Billy Graham.
To the right see how Mecklenburg county got its start. Check out a huge covered wagon which brought many new citizens to the area and everyday items including pottery, Bibles, photographs, coins, etc. There is also a display to show the regions prominence as gold was first discovered in the area in 1799.
Up stairs there is a display of the Alexander house. There is a miniature of the house and it shows the work and progression of restoring this amazing house. There is also room for changing exhibits upstairs.
Outside there is large cannon in front of the museum as well as a beautiful flower garden and water fountains which allows this stunning museum to have a picture postcard quality to it. They also have a walking path around the back which can be accessed anytime.
The museum has a very well stocked gift shop on the premises. It includes books, local crafts, museum replicas, as well as children’s gifts and your requisite round up of t-shirts, post cards, magnets and such. Scrapbookers be on the lookout for their bookmarkers. I got a beautiful one that made a great enhancement to my page. They do have restrooms and water fountains. They are handicapped accessible. But please note the Hezekiah Alexander homestead is not. They are affiliated with the Smithsonian. They have a research library and reading room. They also have a beautiful grand hall that can be rented out for private events.
They have a number of on going events through the year including music sessions, ice cream socials, kids nights, demonstrations, lectures, Christmas and Halloween programs, and tours of the museum in the evening.
Tue-Sat. 10-5 Sunday 1-5 Tours of the house: 1:15 and 3:15
Closed major holidays and Monday except for Memorial Day and Labor Day. Hours may be changed or extended during events.
Admission: $6 (a) $5 (s) $3 (c) under 6. AAA and other discounts may apply.
Parking is free. Accessible by CATS bus system on CAT Rt. 23 Shamrock.
For more information please go to www.charlottemuseum.org.
From journal Historical Charlotte
This lovely 2 story stone house was built by Hezekiah Alexander in 1774. Listed on the National Register of Historical Places, this home is the oldest home still standing in Mecklenburg County. The homestead originally encompassed 600 acres.
Alexander was originally a blacksmith, but after moving to Mecklenburg County he became a Justice of the Peace as well as a planter. He is one of the original signers of the May 20, 1775 Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. He also served as a delegate to the Fifth Provincial Congress. He was quite wealthy and an influential member of the local community. He had this large and impressive home built for himself, his wife, and 10 children.
The home, reminiscing of the houses of Maryland and Pennsylvania, was built from stone quarried from nearby. In parts of the house the walls are 28 feet thick and tapering to 14 inches at the roof. When the home was restored in the 1950’s, very little had to be done to the exterior. The stone had allowed the home to remain solid for almost 200 years.
In the 1950s the Daughter’s of the Revolution saved from the home from the wrecking ball. Today the home is run by the DAR and the Hezekiah Alexander Foundation and is part of the Charlotte Museum of History.
Visitors can take a guided tour of the home. Downstairs you tour the dining room, the master bedroom, as well as the parlor where Mr. and Mrs. Alexander would have once entertained guests. Upstairs the children’s room as well as guest rooms can be seen as well as a large loom which of course would not have been placed in this room at the time the owners lived here. Most likely the loom would have been in the kitchen area and a slave would have woven wool. Once you walk into the bedroom on your right make sure to take a look down. Here you can see the beautiful herb garden that has been planted. The house is furnished with pieces from the 1700-1800’s and a few pieces are from the Alexander family.
Not done just yet! Read on for part 2.