In addition to the home, there is a barn on the premises. Though not original to the property, it is of the era. The barn was found in Cabarrus County and was saved from being demolished. There would have likely been such a barn as part of the original property. There is a reconstructed log kitchen adjacent just to the house. Built by students from Central Piedmont Community College, excavation shows this is where the original kitchen was located. Most homes of the period had their kitchens separate since kitchens tended to go up in flames sometimes. Also since there wasn’t such thing as Zippo lighters in those days, fires were a lot harder to start and the fire had to keep going at all times. In the summer this would have made the house unbearable to have a kitchen fire going. There is an herb garden outside which was typical of the colonel homes. The herbs grown are used today for cooking demonstrations.
Down the walkway a bit you will find the springhouse which is original to the property. The spring was used to cool and preserve food. Water ran over a floor of bedrock and stayed between 54 and 56 degrees year round. Milk, butter, cheese, and other food items would have been placed in containers and kept in the water. Even today when you walk up to the spring you can feel the coolness from the springs.
The home still stands proudly in the same spot it has occupied for more than 200 years. Today the home is part of the Charlotte History Museum. The home sits on top of a hill overlooking a stunning park and is the highlight of the walking tour. There is not an actual charge to walk through the park area and it is a favorite place for joggers and walkers after the museum closes. In addition to the homestead you will see the 7 foot Freedom bell, a Chilean Mill, a Native-American garden, a statue of Hezekiah, and lovely bridges and sculptures through the walkway.
In order to see the home, you do have to be part of a tour group and tours are given daily. Costume docents lead the tour which takes between 1-1/1/2 hours to complete. Our guide was a wonderful woman named Ellen who certainly knew her stuff. She was very informative and as equally entertaining.
Tours: 1:15/2:15/ 3:15 Tue.-Sun. Admission: $6 (a) $5 (c/s)
Museum hours: 10-5 Tue.-Sat., 1-5 Sun. Admission is free.
Closed Mondays except Memorial and Labor Day. Closed major holidays.
The museum its self is handicapped accessible but due to the nature of the home, it is not. There are restrooms and snacks and beverages available at the museum. There is also a gift shop within the museum.
The museum currently has a display on the Alexander house on its second story wing as well as a miniature replica of the home.
The museum in about 3 ½ miles from downtown Charlotte and is accessible on CAT route 23-Shamrock. It is about a 15-minute drive from Rosedale Plantation.
For 2 great resources on Southern homesteads try: Marvelous Old Mansions by Sylvia Higginbotham and Bob Vila’s Guide to Historic Homes of the New South . Bob’s book is a bit older so try www.amazon.com. I got a used copy here. Sylvia’s books should be readily on hand at your favorite book store or directly from the publisher at www.blairpub.com.
There are a number of events and workshops and demonstrations throughout the year. For more information please go to www.charlottemuseum.org. You should allow a minimum of 2 hours to see the home and the museum. Both are wonderful places to discover the history of Charlotte.