Note New Phone Number: 919-542-6222
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Unique Smokehouse History
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Please send your 2015 dues to
CCHA, PO Box 93, Pittsboro
Donations in addition to
these rates are greatly appreciated.
a Chatham County burial or cemetery? CCHA’s extensive
database and many photos are available at
make great gifts!
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or order online
Western Chatham history featured in upcoming
Sunday, November 15
The small towns of Bonlee and Bennett will
be the topic of a historical program by Mr. John
Hudson Emerson on Sunday, November 15, 2:30 pm in
the Historic Courthouse at Pittsboro.
Mr. Emerson has long been a friend of the Chatham County
Historical Association. Over the years he has enlightened
us on the career of Sheriff John Emerson, the Bonlee and
Western Railroad, the Regulator Movement in the area,
numerous other topics, as well as provided extensive
genealogy work on the Dunlap and Emerson families. His
programs are always in depth, informative, and fun. CCHA is
pleased to provide another opportunity to share history with
The towns of Bonlee and Bennett were bustling with business
and community life in the early 1900’s. Many factors came
into play to transition them to what they are today. Mr.
Emerson’s photographic collection included in his
presentation will be supplemented by some artifacts on
display in the museum.
The program is free and open to the public. The Chatham
County Historical Association, Inc. is a non-profit
corporation [501(c)(3)] with the goal of preserving and
sharing the history of Chatham County, North Carolina.
Would you like to share your time and talents to help us
reach our goal? For more information or to contact us, call
919-542-6222 or visit our website at
CCHA Documents History of
Property for New County Agricultural Center and Saves
well underway on the construction of a new County
Agricultural Center in Pittsboro on the west side of
town. Before the land was cleared for the project, the
county allowed the Chatham County Historical Association
to examine the site for clues to its history. There were
A small group of volunteers,
including two local professional archaeologists, spent a
few days on site—from July to December
2014—photographing several structures and ruins, mapping
50 large trees (most over a century old), and
researching early residents who made the property their
home from the early 1800s to the late 1990s.
While most of the
structures on the site had been razed or were in
advanced stages of deterioration, a smokehouse was found
largely intact. The structure had several unique
features. It was overly tall—about 25 feet at its roof
apex, with a cantilevered roof and an unusual decorative
pattern made with nails on its single door. Above a more
recent dropped ceiling, the original ceiling of the
smokehouse was intact, complete with riven sticks or
pegs set directly into the upper rafters—once used for
The CCHA Board felt that the
smokehouse offered a rare opportunity to preserve
something of the county’s early agricultural past and
vernacular architecture, and voted to move the structure
to a secure location while construction proceeded. It is
the Board’s hope that the smokehouse can be worked into
future plans for the site and returned to serve as an
example of Chatham County’s early traditional
To learn more and to see
photos of the site prior to the start of construction,
CCHA Documents History of Property for New County
Agricultural Center and Saves Unique Smokehouse —the report prepared by the volunteer team who
researched the site.
Calling All Volunteers