5 Myths About Fayetteville – Myth #2

July 10, 2018

Yesterday, I busted the myth that the Fayetteville area has nothing to do. Today, I'm addressing the misconception that Cumberland County isn't important to history. I have always loved studying American history, but I never read about Fayetteville in school textbooks. However, once I got my nose out of the books and took a look around the surrounding area, I found plenty of locations that are packed with information about how Cumberland County is very important to the growth of both North Carolina and the United States. Here are a couple of examples that bust the myth that Cumberland County has no historical significance.

Myth #2: Cumberland County Has No Historical Significance

History textbooks may not always mention Fayetteville or Cumberland County, but that doesn’t mean there's no significance to this military town on the Cape Fear River. The greater Fayetteville area is rich with history involving military events and the development of the nation. Fayetteville, North Carolina, is one of 40 towns in the U.S. which bears the name of General Marquis de Lafayette, a Frenchman who became a hero when he fought for us in the American Revolution. Out of those 40 cities, our City of Fayetteville is the only one bearing Lafayette's name that he ever personally visited. An impressive statue in his honor stands downtown, near First Presbyterian Church on Ann Street. Last summer, I joined the nation's excitement over Hamilton: An American Musical in which Lafayette is represented as a central character. Being both a history buff and fan of popular musicals, this Fayetteville statue was doubly exciting for me to see.

I was also excited to learn that the Constitution of the United States was ratified by North Carolina in downtown Fayetteville. At the location where the Market House stands, there once was a different building called the State House. It was in this important government building that the North Carolina Constitutional Convention met, and in November 1789, North Carolina became the 12th state to ratify the Constitution. It's a surreal experience to be there when you know exactly what happened at that very spot hundreds of years ago.

The Cumberland County area played a significant role in the Civil War. In 1865, General Sherman, of the Union Army, made his infamous march to sea. One of his directives was to destroy the Confederate arsenal that stood in Fayetteville, and Sherman accomplished this goal. You can visit the site where this arsenal once stood at the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex. On his way out of Cumberland County, General Sherman encountered a Confederate force just north of Fayetteville, in a place called Averasboro. There, you can visit the Averasboro Battlefield & Museum to learn about this conflict and see the sites where the soldiers fought and were buried. Being fascinated by the history of the Civil War myself, this is a must-see in my book. My favorite exhibit there was a letter from a Union soldier, but you'll have to visit to know what it says.

While visiting the Museum of the Cape Fear, witness a day in the life of an aristocrat in the Victorian era at the 1897 Poe House. This house was built by E. A. Poe in 1897. While sharing the same name, this is not the famous author, Edgar Allen Poe. I was fascinated by the fact that the house still stands in excellent condition today, with much of the original furniture and décor. After finishing the tour, I found myself wishing that I had grown up in Fayetteville during the Victorian Age. This site is open multiple times a day for tours, led by staff and volunteers from the Museum of the Cape Fear.

The Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum has opened a new exhibit called Fayetteville “Over There” – The Centennial of World War I. With this exhibit, the Transportation Museum is commemorating Cumberland County's involvement in supporting World War I from the home-front. World War I is especially important to this area, because it was during this war when Fort Bragg was built. I recently visited this special museum and learned so much about our wartime history here.

Cumberland County does play a significant role in the history of our nation. For more info on how to learn more about the history of the Fayetteville area and how you can experience these history lessons for yourself, refer to the Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (FACVB). From their comprehensive lists of Museums to Historic Landmarks, the FACVB is a great resource for visitors and locals alike to learn more about the area's history. Check the blog again tomorrow, as I take on another common myth about Fayetteville.

Written by Communications Intern Evan Young

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