Veterans restore historic site on North Carolina’s Uwharrie National Forest

Stevin Westcott
National Forests in North Carolina, U.S. Forest Service
July 22nd, 2013 at 4:45PM

Under a new program to help veterans re-enter civilian life and find career-oriented employment, eight military veterans visited the Uwharrie National Forest near Asheboro, N.C. As part of their summer program to gain experience in developing historic preservation skills, they restored a historic site of farm buildings on the forest. 

“I recognized the importance of preserving these buildings for generations to come and am grateful to be just a small part of the process,” said Tyler Price, a veteran and history and anthropology student at California University at Fresno.

The Veterans Historic Preservation Team of seven military veterans and their crew leader, joined 12 other project volunteers in early summer at Thornburg Farm. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the farm is significant for its history, architecture and progressive agricultural practices. The site  hosts 19 buildings including the original 1855 farmhouse and a large hay barn. The crew performed a variety of repairs, such as roofing the house, re-building one corner of the barn and stabilizing several small outbuildings. The repairs will allow more public access to enjoy the buildings and grounds.

The post 9-11 veterans are part of a HistoriCorps and Student Conservation Association pilot project. HistoriCorps is a national initiative in partnership with the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Region. The nonprofit saves and sustains historic places while fostering public involvement, engaging volunteers and providing training and education.

The Uwharrie National Forest is one of three national forests with properties on the National Register of Historic Places involved in the summer program for the military veterans and historic preservation volunteers. Rehabilitation work is also scheduled for Forest Lodge, a privately donated property on the Chequamegon National Forest in Wisconsin, and the Birches Picnic Shelter, a Civilian Conservation Corp-era building on the Chippewa National Forest in Minnesota.   

The military veterans will spend three to four weeks at each site developing valuable trade skills under the guidance of two HistoriCorps preservation professionals.  Their preservation work  will ensure Forest Service visitors can enjoy these areas of American history and culture for many years to come.