Kannapolis History moving archive

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 9, 2011

By Hugh Fisher
KANNAPOLIS — For 24 years, the Kannapolis History Associates’ task has been to preserve the history of a rapidly evolving city.
Through the work of dedicated volunteers, the group has archived documents, collected textile memorabilia and photographs and established a genealogical reference base.
Today, the organization has overcome setbacks and is growing in its quest to preserve and celebrate Kannapolis’ past.
At last month’s annual meeting at Trinity United Methodist Church, retired Judge William Hamby and Martha Macon spoke on the importance of keeping history in mind as Kannapolis moves forward.
The focus was integration. Those who spoke shared stories of racial integration at Cannon Mills and in the community.
Goodman said that Kannapolis has been progressive while also keeping a focus on its past.
Change has come quickly to KHA in recent months.
Last November, the Cabarrus County Library announced that the history room that had been housed at the Kannapolis branch since 1992 would have to move.
Talks led to the decision to relocate the collection to Rotary Hall at 211 West Ave., a more central downtown location.
“Final arrangements, inventory and coordination with the Cabarrus County Library are in the works now,” Goodman said.
Goodman said he hopes the new Hinson History Room at Rotary Hall will be open to the public by mid-June.
Tom Kincaid, president of the Kannapolis Rotary Club, said he’s excited about having the history collection under the same roof as one of the city’s oldest service organizations.
“We couldn’t be prouder,” Kincaid said.
The group remains hard at work.
One of KHA’s current projects is relocating and preserving one of the “maids’ houses,” small one-room homes for domestic workers.
They were usually located in the backyards of supervisors or overseers who worked in the mill, or those of other prominent citizens, Goodman said.
Funds raised at the annual meeting helped preserve one such house to be relocated.
“KHA’s mission is to preserve our past while embracing the future,” Goodman said.
“We want to preserve our unique local history by collecting artifacts … relating to our heritage,” Goodman said.
“We also want to welcome change, new businesses, residents and opportunities which will shape our history of tomorrow.”
Another fundraising effort, just in time for Mother’s Day, is the sale of sterling silver charms.
The nostalgic charms, which can be bought with or without a bracelet, are miniature re-creations of Kannapolis’ historic landmarks.
The first round of charms includes the Gem and Swanee theaters, A.L. Brown High School, G.W. Carver High School, the historic Cabarrus Courthouse and Gary’s Barbeque.
Also available are a replica of the What-A-Burger sign and the neon Cannon Mills sign that once graced the roof of Plant No. 1.
Goodman said the hand-designed charms were chosen to represent some of Kannapolis’ best-loved landmarks.
Churches and community groups could contact KHA about having a charm made of their own beloved landmark.
“All charms are designed, handcrafted and made by Windsor Gallery jewelry store in Salisbury,” Goodman said.
Goodman said the charms can also be used on necklaces or as lapel pins or tie tacks.
“By purchasing the charms you can wear history and support the KHA.”
More information on the Kannapolis History Associates, and on the charm bracelet fundraiser, is available at Kannapolishistory.org or 704-796-0803.
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.