The Historic Carson House received a donation earlier this year of more than $990,000.
On Thursday, the directors of the historic site and museum announced in a news release that a “very sizable donation” was made to the Carson House by Gilbert and Mary Meade Hollifield. The donation was more than $990,000 and was made earlier this year. The donation will assist the Carson House with several large projects that are currently being discussed, according to a news release.
“The exact use of the funds has not been determined but there are several larger projects that are currently being planned for including the possibility of an ‘interpretative center’ that would house offices, museum displays and amenities such as a gift shop” said Chuck Abernathy, chairman of the Carson House’s board. “While the plan has not been approved, some archaeological work was done recently to enable the work to proceed. There are other needs and we want to hold some of the funds for currently unknown needs, future emergencies.”
The house’s board is planning to build an interpretative or visitors center behind the house. It will have more exhibits, modern facilities and offices. But an archaeological study has to be completed before any earth-disturbing construction activity is started. That study was done last month by archaeologist David Moore of Warren Wilson College and his staff.
“We are unbelievably appreciative and thankful for this generous donation” said Abernethy in a news release. “We were stunned.”
“The members of the Executive Board of the Historic Carson House were so pleased to receive the notification of the generous endowment from Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Hollifield,” said Executive Director Martha Jordan in a prepared statement. “Since that time the board has been working diligently exploring possibilities for the best use of the funds to enhance and improve the Historic Carson House. One idea that was generated almost 10 years ago has been brought back into focus. That idea was to build an additional interpretive center to house permanent and rotating exhibits, office space and a genealogical library. Additional space would then allow for the home to show more displays of period furnishings. Some of the funds would be reserved for emergencies that might occur to the historic 1793 home or for restoration projects. The generous gift makes it possible to project a bright future for the Carson House and the valuable history it holds.”
Historian and author James Haney is an honorary member of the Carson House board after previously serving as the chairman.
“I have known the Hollifields for a long time and they have been always been supportive of the mission and activities of the Carson House,” said Haney to The McDowell News. “I didn’t know they had decided to be so generous at this time and I am delighted that they are so supportive of the Carson House.
“We have a major project that we are planning in the future and this contribution will go a long way to making that a reality. We are very, very grateful for their support.”
Gilbert Hollifield said to The McDowell News that he and his wife Mary Meade have always been interested in local history and were happy to do something that can support the Carson House. Hollifield worked as an auctioneer in McDowell County for many years and often handled the sale of artifacts related to local history. The Hollifields now reside in Florida.
Built in the late 1700s, the Carson House is a two-story mansion offering a walk through the Carson family’s experience in the Revolutionary War, Native American struggles, the Civil War, the North Carolina Gold Rush, the political/economic climate of the times, slavery and plantation life. It is located on U.S. 70 West near Marion.