Members of the Lincoln County Historical Association doing archaeological fieldwork at Michal-Butt-Brown-Pressly House built in downtown Lincolnton in 1819.

1. LCHA was founded in the 1950s

While concerted efforts to preserve the history of Lincoln County date back to the early 1900s, the Lincoln County Historical Association wasn’t founded until 1954, becoming officially chartered by the state in 1955. At that time, the organization’s mission included the investigation, compilation and preservation of historical facts, data and other information concerning Lincoln County and its residents. The association also made provisions to purchase, lease, own, compile or develop historical sites and mementos of Lincoln County to educate its residents on the past.

2. Its work is expansive

The LCHA has been involved in a number of preservation projects in recent years. With the upcoming development of Ingleside Plantation in eastern Lincoln County, the organization played a key role in turning over the historic Ingleside home – which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places – to Preservation North Carolina. The LCHA has also been instrumental in the preservation of the Plonk Family Cemetery and the White Haven Church Cemetery, and worked to have the Madison-Derr Iron Furnace added to the National Register earlier this year.

3. The executive director recently stepped down

Jason Harpe served as executive director of the LCHA for more than 20 years before stepping down from his post late last year. Harpe, a Charlotte native, authored and edited numerous publications detailing the history of Lincoln County through firsthand accounts and images from an era gone by during his time at the helm of the organization. In 2008, Harpe started his own consulting firm specializing in gravestone and monument preservation, as well as institutional and collections assessments for museums and historical sites. “The Lincoln County Historical Association is forever indebted to Jason Harpe for his hard work, passion and dedication to our county’s storied past,” LCHA Board of Directors chairman Bill Beam said.

4. Harpe’s position won’t be filled, at least for now

The current iteration of the LCHA board has no plans to hire a replacement to fill the void left by Harpe’s departure. However, it’s likely that new faces could be added to the board this summer, and a new board may decide to bring in a new executive director. In the meantime, the organization’s staff of two – which includes Curator of Archaeology and Collections January Costa and longtime office manager Tina Guffey – and its board members will pick up the slack in the absence of an executive director.

5. It’s in the midst of a fundraising campaign

The LCHA is a nonprofit organization that relies on outside funding. The programs produced by the LCHA, including the annual Ramsour’s Mill Battle Weekend, come at a cost, and funding is needed to continue expanding its programming offerings. The fundraising campaign is nearing its end, but there are two upcoming events through which people can donate. GoodWood Pizzeria in downtown Lincolnton will be donating 10 percent of its sales Saturday, May 11, in support of the LCHA. Then, Saturday, May 18, the LCHA will present “Letters from the Trenches: Dear Kit,” a one-hour multimedia solo performance based on actual love letters written between a World War I soldier and his then-sweetheart. The program will be held at the Lincoln Cultural Center, with tickets available for $15.


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