Celebrating the ‘new’ historic Edwards-Franklin House

David Broyles

July 12, 2014

LOWGAP — What was old is new, in a manner of speaking as the Surry County Historical Society announced it will hold an open house this weekend to showcase the historic Edwards-Franklin House’s fresh, “new” look.

According to Society spokesperson Dr. Annette Ayers, the open house will be held at 4132 Haystack Road and is set for today and Sunday, from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

“We want the public, the whole community, to come out. We are so excited,” said Ayers. “This had been in the planning stages for two years. We are thrilled to have the repairs completed. The home looks newly built. Of course, it’s not. It was built in 1799 but now it is in pristine shape.”

Among the many repair projects are the home’s hearths being restored, the front porch floor being refurbished, front porch pickets being replaced (as needed), the kitchen’s roof being replaced and the kitchen being painted and a new covering on the back door. Supports under the front porch were also replaced and some boards near the home’s chimney which had deteriorated and two windowsills were also replaced.

The home’s sign has also been painted with new lettering and has been moved so it can be easily seen from the road. Ayers said society member Emma Jean Tucker’s research and work has allowed the group to post new signage at the slave cemetery. She said much of the work at the house has been done by local restoration expert, John Kidwell.

“This allows us to honor those individuals whose lives and labor contributed to the Edwards-Franklin estate and the economy of early Surry County,” Ayers said. “Just like owning a personal home you have to work at it (maintenance) all the time. We are all volunteers with none of us getting paid. This is our way of giving back to the community by preserving the history of this area.”

Ayers said the society is always interested in attracting new members. She stressed interested persons can help in a variety of ways and said “it takes a village to keep things going.”Ayers said the group is in the midst of a fund raising campaign to support continuous upkeep on the home as well as the repairs. She said the home was restored in the 1970s.

“All the home needed was a little more tender loving care,” Ayers said. “We want it to continue on for another 200 years for the residents of this county.” The Edwards-Franklin House was built by Gideon Edwards in 1799. Edwards was a local leading planter and state senator.

She explained the mission of the society is to preserve the history and culture of Surry County and interpret it to the community thorough research, programs, publishing, collection of documents and photographs, the identification, cataloging and labeling of sites, maintenance of archives, and cooperation with other organizations.

One of the popular annual events held by the society it is Sonker Festival, typically held the first Saturday in October. The event honors the distinctive Appalachian deep-dish fruit or sweet potato pie.

David Broyles may be reached at 336-719-1952 or on twiter@MtAiryNewsDave.