The Rural Hall Historical Society’s vision and purpose is to research, promote and teach current and future residents the unique culture of the Rural Hall area. The RHHS is excited about upcoming projects, including a website, pictorial identifications, etc.
Rural Hall has a rich heritage in manufacturing and railroading. At one time within the last 100 years, 5 passenger trains from competing railroads stopped at the two Rural Hall depots on a daily basis.
Recorded interviews of long-time residents’ stories are preserved to document how Rural Hall families lived in the past. These projects have been started and we now wish to include your written or oral stories, memories or genealogy for our records.
Preserving history is important. With the new developments in the area, Rural Hall’s population could easily surpass 4,000. The Society would welcome these people as neighbors, not newcomers.
For more information on the Rural Hall Historical Society, please contact Mary Lee Smith at (336) 969-6905. Meetings are held at the Rural Hall Museum located at 145 Bethania Street on the fourth Thursday of the month at 6:30 PM.
In August 2003, the Town Council commissioned a group of citizens to serve on the Old Town Hall Study Committee (formerly known as the Present Town Hall Usage Committee). The committee included Roger Scott – Chairman, Mark Flynt, Paul Hepler, Mack Kiser, Nancy Plunkett, and Peggy Toler. The committee was charged with evaluating the condition of the building at 145 Bethania Street, renovation cost estimates, appropriate uses for the building and financial resources. The committee was also requested to explore grant feasibility since the building was purchased by World War I veterans and constructed by World War II veterans. In February 2005, the committee submitted their report to the Town Council and it was accepted on February 14, 2005.
When We Meet
Fourth Thursday of the Month
Rural Hall Historical Museum
145 Bethania Street
If you are interested in being a part of this society or finding out more information, please attend our meeting!
Rural Hall Historical Museum
We now have a mailbox! Our mailing address is:
Rural Hall Historical Society
145 Bethania Street
Rural Hall, NC 27045
Feel Free To Contact Us
Roger Scott: 336-969-9842
Mary Lee Smith: 336-969-6905
Marvin Morris: 336-969-2468
The interviewing process of older citizens who remember Rural Hall’s history is ongoing. If you know of someone with Rural Hall ties, whom you feel should be interviewed, please contact us!
Report of the Old Town Hall Study Committee
February 7, 2005 – You honored a group of Rural Hall citizens by giving them the responsibility to recommend the future use of the now vacated Town Hall building. We took this assignment seriously and attempted to cross section the community for input. Rest assured that you could take an idea for use of the building and discuss it on the busiest corner in town, and you would have strong support and strong opposition at the same time. So how do you judge?
Honestly, we did not have a lot of participation at two announced open houses inviting the community to come by and visit the site. We have spoken to people individually and we had a good response by sponsoring an information tent at the Rural Hall 30th Anniversary celebration.
Some of the committee volunteered their services thinking that a museum type facility would be in order. We have considered a variety of uses including renting it for office space for either short or long term, a senior center, a place for family gatherings, an outreach mission and others. There are many other factors of cooperation required for any of the above to materialize. The size of the building and restrictions on how many people it can accommodate at one time is certainly a concern. It is up to you to make a final decision.
The study committee, consisting of Mr. Mark Flynt, Mr. Paul Hepler, Mr. Mack Kiser, Mrs. Nancy Plunkett, Mrs. Peggy Toler and Mr. Roger Scott, recommends that as soon as the Council can move forward, the old Town Hall be developed into an area museum that would capture the history of the Rural Hall area and preserve and honor those who have served in the armed services. This combined recommendation preserves our local history, reserves a special recognition for those who served in the military and recognizes the American Legion chapter that helped our town acquire the building. You will recall that the property was originally purchased by veterans of World War I.
One does not have to look long to realize that the building is small. Too small to develop the spacious museum like we would prefer that may house antique fire trucks, a section of a real tobacco barn and a train station. But it is big enough to preserve some of old Rural Hall that a lot of people do not know. Surely, a working museum committee could hit the ground running and collect from people who would contribute Rural Hall artifact items, pictures and stories, stories that may otherwise never be told. Did you know that Rural Hall once had a toy factory and also a well in the middle of town?
There are stories to be shared. So many people have unique stories waiting to be told. Someone needs to be out there today interviewing the likes of Nita Marshall, who in her nineties, knows some Rural Hall history that no one else knows. Mr. Paul Hepler, at 85, can tell you about what happened before paved roads were the standard for our town. These contributors to our history need to be interviewed by a professional interviewer with their conversations recorded and video taken. Would you not like to hear about the Rural Hall hotel people stayed in, taking a break from their journey, while waiting to visit Moore Springs the next day? Or maybe just as interesting would be the story of the old well in the middle of town where travelers drank and acquired water for their livestock while passing through Rural Hall. What impact did the Old Wagon Road have on our community? How did the railroad impact us? Why did people want a “Rural Hall” to start with? And as veterans of World War II, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam or Desert Storm wish to tell their stories and have them etched in history, we need a place for their stories to be preserved, protected and heard.
There are so many details to work out in order to begin such a journey. To fine tune our direction, a mission statement that includes preserving the history of Rural Hall must be developed and approved. Then the work begins! The easiest part of the process is making a recommendation.
The Mount Airy Museum of Regional History is ten years old. Someone had a story they wanted others to hear or have told, and the spark ignited. A fact finding group revealed that their heritage was being lost and a mission statement was developed and approved. Five donor families donated enough funding to purchase the old Merritt Hardware building, a four story structure on Main Street. Through fundraising, they renovated the building into a magnificent facility. They had a volunteer director position for several years. What a dedication! They hired a retired museum director to guide them through many processes in their early development. Most of their funding currently comes from tax deductible membership, categories of annual donation commitment levels, fundraising with yard sales, bake sales, gala events, etc. All this requires dedicated commitment.
Even the simplest form of planning requires someone to take charge. As people donate funds or items, record keeping must occur. Documentation of who gave what and why is it part of Rural Hall history is essential to know and should be recorded at the time of acceptance. Dedicating a computer to the cause would be a first step in modern record keeping for recording and tracking whether items are on display, in storage or on loan.
There are so many stories to be told. Each story is important in the history of our town. Let’s begin to keep our heritage so those who follow us will know what we were all about, that we cared for and preserved our heritage. Please accept our recommendation and move forward for our community.
Thank you for appointing and allowing us to serve our town, Rural Hall.
Old Town Hall Study Committee (Roger Scott, Chairman; Mark Flynt, Vice-Chairman; Paul Hepler; Mack Kiser; Nancy Plunkett; and, Peggy Toler)