On the Trail of Independence

June 20, 2017

On June 20, 1775, a year before the Declaration of Independence would be signed, a group of 55 patriots made history in Fayetteville. At this significant occasion, the Cumberland Association signed another important document that would later be known as The Liberty Point Resolves, pledging their devotion to the cause of independence. If you visit the area now, over 240 years later, you will enjoy exploring the history that has shaped and defined Cumberland County’s pursuit of independence and devotion to war-time service. To get you started “on the trail of independence” here, we have suggestions for how to venture out on an historic exploration.

American Independence Trail

This handy tourist tool—one of several Cultural Heritage Trails created by the Fayetteville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (FACVB)— tells the remarkable story of Cumberland County’s pursuit of independence as our nation was being formed. You may choose from ten historic sites and markers to visit on the self-guided American Independence Trail (or tour them all).

Along the trail, you will come across Liberty Point and the granite marker that stands in downtown Fayetteville, commemorating the location where The Liberty Point Resolves were signed. If you make a stop at Cross Creek Park, you will see the impressive statue of the Marquis de Lafayette, the French Revolutionary War hero who is Fayetteville’s namesake. A scenic drive out to the Town of Wade will take you to one of our county’s oldest graveyards, Old Bluff Cemetery, where a monument commemorates the achievements of a leading county patriot during the Revolutionary War.

Historic Tours

Hop on one of the Historic Tours by Carriage to explore downtown Fayetteville’s history, architecture, and legends. The Downtown Alliance and the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum host these guided, horse-drawn tours on the second Saturday of each month (unless there is a conflicting holiday) from March through November.

Depending on which knowledgeable guide is leading the tour that day, you might hear a variety of anecdotes about infamous figures in Fayetteville’s history. For instance, the legend goes that, on General Sherman’s March to the Sea, he smoked a cigar as he watched The Fayetteville Observer newspaper office burn down. As you ride by the Marquis de Lafayette Statue, your guide might share with you how the city threw a huge party for the war-hero-turned-celebrity when he visited in 1825. No matter who is leading the tour, though, you are guaranteed to discover architectural flourishes, hear inspiring stories of heroism, and learn little-known facts along downtown’s cobblestone streets and byways.

Museum Open House

Two of Fayetteville’s museums are only open to the public by appointment or on special occasions. On July 14th, visitors may attend the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry (F.I.L.I.) Armory and Museum Open House for a rare peek at this historical treasure. After President George Washington enacted the Militia Act, the F.I.L.I. was organized in 1793, and today, it still serves as an active ceremonial unit and North Carolina’s official historic military command. Among the many fascinating artifacts stored in the museum is the carriage that the Marquis de Lafayette rode during his visit to Fayetteville.

 

To learn some of the history behind Cumberland County’s only National Historic Landmark, the Market House, you must attend either the Mid-Month Market House Open House, occurring on the second Friday of the month through August, or 4th Fridays at the Market House Museum, occurring on the fourth Friday of the month through November. The small museum is located on the second floor of the stately Market House, and rotating exhibits this summer include “World War I,” “Vintage Postcards,” and “Market House History.”

The FACVB’s Cultural Heritage Trails offer visitors a wealth of information, tourist tools, and tidbits about a variety of interests to pursue in Cumberland County—from history to art to shopping. If you prefer a printed copy of the trail guide, you may pick one up at any of the three Visitor Information Centers located around Fayetteville. While planning your visit here, also be sure to check out the FACVB’s Calendar of Events for year-round happenings like the ones shared above. On the calendar, you will find several July 4th celebrations, as well; read more about our five-day countdown to Independence Day at “Light Up Your 4th in Fayetteville.”

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