When I hear “Macon,” I typically think of Georgia, but there’s a Macon County in the southwestern corner of North Carolina, right along the Georgia border. “It has a rich, well-documented history,” says the Macon County Historical Society, “and unlike many western North Carolina counties, most of Macon’s records have survived.”
On a recent trip to speak to the Western North Carolina Civil War Roundtable, I had the opportunity to visit Macon County and its groovy little museum in downtown Franklin. Reminiscent of an old five-and-dime store, the museum captures the county’s history—Civil War and otherwise—and serves as the historical “conscience” of Macon County.
The Macon County Historical Society’s purpose “is to being together people interested in history, especially Macon County history; to discover and collect any object or material that may help establish or illustrate the history of the area; to provide the preservation of historical objects and other materials; and to undertake the preservation of historic buildings, monuments, and markers,” its brochure says.
Located at 36 West Main Street in the Pendergrass Building—one of the oldest buildings still standing in Franklin—the museum traces the county’s history in exhibits and displays rich in material culture. They operate a small bookstore and a nearby thrift store to help support operations. They also charge a $5 admission fee to help offset costs.
The museum also sponsors educational programs and, for fun, conducts ghosts tours. “We dare you to try and retain all the history, mysteries, gore and tales of ghosts in the night,” the brochure challenges. “Franklin, North Carolina, considered by many to be one of the most haunted small towns in America, will not disappoint.”
The museum is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10-4 and on Wednesdays from 10-1.
For more information, you can check out the museum online at www.maconhistorical.org, or call them at (828) 524-9758.