Monday, November 30, 2009

The Guilford Courthouse Park Experience

Well, this is it, ladies and gentlemen. This is my last post about the journey of HSS 105. For my Greensboro project, I decided to analyze the relaxing, yet mysterious area of Guilford Courthouse Park. This area has a reputation that only a few other locations can have. It was the site of a major battle in the American Revolution. This battle was so major that it was known as the ultimate turning point for the War. Still, we all know about the battle. Or do we? This is only one aspect that I will tackle today along with a few other "mysteries." I will cover 5 big aspects. First, I will give a brief background of the park itself and a little bit of the battle itself. Second, what is the connection between exercise and the history of the battle? Third, we will see why there are certain monuments in the park. Fourth, we will see why the memorial was placed at the battle site (or was it?). Finally, we will solve the mystery of Tannebaum Park and why it is around the area of the battle site.
First, we will cover a brief history of the park. The battle took place on the Guilford Court House area on March 15, 1781. In one corner, we have the Dean of Mean, the Britain Destroyer, the Ravager of the Colonies, please welcome General Cornwallis! (cheer) In the other corner, we have the Defender of the Carolinas, the one and only General Nathaniel Greene! Both men met with their armies at the site and planned to do their battle. Little did Gen. Cornwallis know that Gen. Greene had Col. William Washington and his fighters, the Dragoons, flank the British Army on the side to make the battle tougher for the British. The battle lasted and lasted, but in the end, Gen. Nathaniel Greene had to sound a retreat. He was so depressed because of the loss, but he realized something. He may have lost the area, but he put a big dent in the Britain Army. He killed more troops, wasted more of their ammunition, and destroyed their overall morale. This soon led to the surrender of Cornwallis in the Battle of Yorktown. Over time, the site lost its caliber and was soon forgotten. It was nearly lost to progression until two powerful men saw the site and wanted to fix this. Then, Judge David Schneck and Joesph Morehead formed the Guilford Battle Ground Company, with Schneck being the first President around 1880. Now, before we go on, we know that the Morehead name was very powerful and knoeing this, with a Morehead at the head, who knows what could happen? Anyways, the battlesite was made into a local park in 1887. Other monuments were placed such as Monument Row, a row of monuments that were important to David Schneck, Morehead, and even Morehead's wife.

In 1893, Governor Holt placed a memorial for an unknown hero of the battle, Major Joesph Winston and his troops. They still fought against the British troops even after the retreat was called. Their bout was unsuccessful of course, but it was memorable. Then, in 1915, the Nathaniel Greene monument was erected to attract people to the park and to symbolize the person who Greensboro was named after. Then, in 1917, the park was endorsed by the National Park Association, making it the national park we know today.

Next, we have our exercise dilemma. What is the connection? Well, as I entered the visitor center, I ran into a older man in a Continental Army uniform who was publicizing about the movie within the park. He told me all about the history, when I asked him about the exercise aspect, he gave me a sad look. This park was about walking and enjoying history. Over time, people became bored with history and found a new value: staying in shape and looking good. Therefore, running came into play here at the park. As you can see, when values change, some are left behind and some are adopted. Why? Well, when running became popular at the park, more people came to the park. Then, more people came to the city. So, the running was allowed to promote tourism in Greensboro. Therefore, there is no real connection between the park and exercise except the fact that exercise has taken away from the realization of the history of the park. It's sad to think about, is it not?

Continuing, we move on to our third mystery. What is with the monuments in this park? We have monuments that have nothing to do with the battle or even North Carolina. Well, let us start with the most obvious of the monuments, the Signers monument. This monument represents three powerful people, William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, and John Penn. These people were three signers of the Declaration of Independence, one of the major reasons we started this revolution. This monument specifically is a statue of a Congressman stating his point and the graves of two of the signers, Hooper and Penn. Hewes' body was lost over time. These people were buried here in 1894. Anyways, this is a symbolic monument to the cause that the men who died here fought for.

Next, there is the tombstone of Major John Daves. As you can see, this monument and other monument like this (Maryland troops monument) are here to signify the people that died here. Their graves are actually on this battlesite. Thje officers had a bit more decoration for their grave markers.

There is the Maryland troops monument as well. The bones of these troops were found by Schneck in 1888 and identified as troops from Maryland. Still, why would you see a Maryland monument down in North Carolina? This shows that the park is known nationally. It is not a local landmark. It is nationally renowned and the other states want to show their part in the battle. Also, you see that the value of history in other states is very high. Therefore, you see the great monuments from the other states you see today.

Finally, there are a few specific monuments that resemble the untold heroes of battle. For instance, there is a monument for the great Col. William Washington and his troops that flanked the British Army and killed many of the troops. Also, there is the monument to Major Winston, who tried to resist the British despite the retreat being sounded. A little side note, in Monument Row, there are a few monuments that represent the Morehead and Schneck respresentation in the battle. There are a couple "show off" monuments that show descendants of David Schneck, Joesph Morehead, and even Morehead's wife.

Continuing on, we have the connection between Tannebaum Park and Guilford Courthouse Park. Why are they near each other and why is this one continued with the GC Park? Well, this spot was the Hoskins Farm Estate (7.5 acres of farmstead are left as a park), where the Hoskins worked their hardest to make a living. Still, there's a bigger reason for the park itself. This is the area where the British began their march to the battle. If you can see the map, then you can tell that the battle took place from that area to nearly the other side of County Park. This is a monumentous area because this was the starting point of the army that got smacked around by the Continental Army. It is very essential to see where the enemy began as well the heroes. So, the Guilford Battle Ground Company saved this part of history to continue history and the knowledge of it. As of 1985, it became a local park. Coming up in a couple of years, it will soon become a national park as well.

Now, the big mystery awaits us. Why was the memorial placed right at the battlesite instead of a different area unlike War Memorial Auditorium or Memorial Stadium? Well, the reason that the park was placed right at the battlesite is because the park is the only big monument for the Revolutionary War. There are other little areas such as the statue of Greene in the traffic circle, but this is the only big and old memorial for the battle. War Memorial Auditorium is for World War II and it was built in 1959. Therefore, why would they build it near the battlesite of aother war? Same for Memorial Stadium which was for World War I commemoration. The only war that is not represented here is the Civil War. Why is it not represented in Greensboro? Well, I do not know that reason but mabe it was because we were a part of the Confederacy which was not well taken during the Radical Reformation after the Civil War.

Now, there is the big mystery. Was the battle site really there or is it a few miles down the road? Now, the battlesite was actually at that area, but there is a new twist. The park only covers 25% of the actual battlefield. Let's look back at the map. The park only covers around the 2nd and 3rd lines. There is more to the battlefield than meets the eye. Why was the battlefield not bought out all the way? Well, there are other areas that came into play such as Guilford County Park. Also, back in the time when the park was first created, the battlefield was considered to be much much smaller. Therefore, the Battle Ground Company only bought that much of the battlefield. Tannebaum Park was set apart in the 1980s, so it was not considered part of the park at the time.

So, as you can see, the mysteries have been solved. We found out that exercise was not part of the park's true meaning, the history of the park itself, Tannebaum's connection with GC Park, why the park is at the actual site (just a quarter of it, but the actual site), and what the monuments represent in the park. Enjoy!! Thanks for being so supportive throughout this whole experience.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Wrap-up for a Great Smeester

Well, the time has come where we all must wrap it up. We have been all over UNCG, College Hill and Park, Downtown, and even all around Greensboro itself. We have accomplished so much. I have learned a lot. I have learned about Nathaniel Greene, a man we would hear about so much throughout the semester.

We learned that all streets have a name for a reason, like Market St. was called Market because it led to the market in Greensboro. Also, going with that, I have personally learned that each building has a story to tell whether it is clear or not so clear. All we have to do is take the time to ask the question: Why is this this way or that way?

Finally, my thoughts about looking at life, buildings, and areas itself have changed severely. I have gone from saying, "Oh, what a nice building!" and moving on, to asking myself about the purpose of the building and how it got a mark or a cranny. I tell my friends about what I learn from an area all the time. It's always very interesting to see what happened here.

For my Greensboro Project, I am very interested in studying more of Guilford Courthouse Park. We did not get to spend as much time there and I was very interested in this area.

There are so many mysteries to solve and a lot of information to gather about the battle that took palce there. See, I am a history fanatic so this is very itneresting to me. I guess we'll see how it goes. Thanks for being so supportive, everyone!!

The Gate City Marathon #4: Roadways

Well, here we go again! This is when we went from place to place and went on many major roadways. We covered three big roadways on our long marathon. We were on Battleground Ave., Wendover Ave., and Interstate 40.

First, we went on Wendover Ave. This strip of road is a strong place for businesses of all kinds. There are hotels (O Henry), gas stations (Exxon), and even car dealerships (Honda). Quite frankly, I believe that if anyone built a store or business on this road (where there is space), then it would do quite well. Why? I believe it is because that it is near so many residential areas that people could walk, run, drive, or bike to Wendover Ave. As we went along the way, we saw that Wendover changed into more of a residential area than into a conglomerate of businesses like the western side. That could explain the popularity. Also, when I think of this street, I think of another street as well. Elm Street pops up. Elm Street is much like this street except the only problem is that Elm Street has smaller businesses and a smaller size for stores to come to. Therefore, Elm could never amass to what Wendover is now. Wendover became what it was because it had bigger stores like Wal-Mart and even the mall is around that street too.

Next, we went onto Interstate 40. This stretch of road can connect you to many places and even give the speed demons a sense of satisfaction (but only up to 60-65). You can see many things along the way to where you are going. Take the last picture, for instance. You see a big gray slab. Those are barricades. What's the point of this barricade, you ask? Well, behind this barricade, there is either a drop of 3 feet or 20 feet. Depends on where you are. So, big values on safety continue to emerge everywhere now. Now, my sense of community changes in the fact that a community can now be a lot bigger because of this interstate. Now, people can get to each other a whole lot faster and even in mere minutes because of this interstate. Plus, a community can advertise for everything a lot more because of this interstate with the invention of.....BILLBOARDS!!! Therefore, a community can become bigger instead of a small group.

Finally, we went onto Battleground Ave. on our way to Guilford Courthouse Park. Battleground Ave. was very calm compared to the clutter of Wendover Ave. The landscape here was very weird because this is considered a busy street with lots of businesses. Still, do you know what I saw that was not very visible on Wendover? TREES!!! There is actually greenery on Battleground Ave.Check Spelling Also, there could be more businesses for Battlegorund Ave. to prosper, but people are more content with a historical park and that helps anyday. Well, that's it for the marathon! Now, my next blog will consist of a big wrap up of all we have done. Enjoy and give as much feedback as you can!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Gate City Marathon #3: Residential Areas (Getting Close!)

Off to Number 3 on our marathon through Greensboro! We are stopping by the residential areas of Greensboro (major areas) like the White Oak Village area. First, though, we are stopping by a house that is very different from houses all around it. This is what we call the Lowenstein House. This house was created by Edward Lowenstein, a famous architect who was the first to employ African-Americans as workers in the architect firm. Anyways, when we stopped here, we were already surprised by the windows that slanted to get all forms of light when needed. They were so different from other houses we have seen. Also, we have seen that it was straight on the ground instead of slanted to meet the ground. Why was that? I believe that it was meant to be a house of the future and people could see that. Plus, the house was created to be different and with it on the ground, it shows that people could be down to earh and still have amazing features. Then, we saw the backyard and we were amazed by the artwork. One was the pile of airplane parts formed to make an arch. Why was art such a strong part of this house? Well, I also believe that without art, the house would not stand out as much. It would not be a house beyond all houses. Also, Lowenstein might have been an art fanatic. He has numerous pieces which each add life to the house. Either way you see this place, it is a standout place that creates a sense of the future of architecture.

Next, we went to the White Oak Village area. This was an area where the mill workers stayed for sleep, food, and relaxation from work. Also, it was a village for families to stay while the mill workers worked. From the first picture, you can see that all the houses were not really ones that would stick out like the Lowenstein hose. They were just used for people and their necessities. There were no decorations or anything as I know of. Also, religion was really big for the people of that area. As you can see, there was a big church called Buffalo Presbyterian Church. It originated around the 1790s. Now, why is religion big here for the area? Well, the mill was a dangerous workplace and people were, once again, very determined to get to an azfterlife in heaven. So, the churches were there. Also, there is another bit of history here. Thre is a Masonic Lodge for the Free Masons who lived here. This showed that Free Masons were popular around this area and who knows what could have been here? As you can see, this area was a quiet area where people did not care about decoration and luxury. They were worried about life and making sure that everyone made it another night. Well, moving on to #4: Roads and their Craziness!!

The Gate City Marathon #2: Open Spaces

Welcome back!! Next, we are ging to continue our marathon with open spaces or one big open space: Battleground Park (Guilford Courthouse Park). This is the only really big space we came to on that fateful day. Anyways, this place was placed here to symbolize THE major turning point for the American Revolution, according to history and Greensboro. This place represents the unit of Gen. Nathaniel Greene and his battle with Gen. Cornwallis in that specific area. Greene lost the battle, but found out that Cornwallis lost a severe amount of troops and lots of ammunition. Then, he surrendered at Yorktown. Now, as we have seen before, towns like to make populated areas around historical landmarks. Our mystery to solve today is why the people of Greensboro did not make a towny area in this park.

My first (and strongest) reason is that there are many graves among this area. There are two remarkable graves in this area. First, there are two people buried here who signed the Declaration of Independence and took residence in North Carolina. These two people represented Greensboro's part in freedom and democracy. Also, there is a monument that marks the graves of three American soldiers killed in the battle of Guilford Courthouse. Now, why would people build anything populated-related over graves? They will not. The people of Greensboro were a Protestant style group. They were a very superstitious group of people who believed in God as their Savior and ghosts and the damned as evil. Now, there's an old superstition where if people build over a grave of someone, they disturb the spirits of the dead buried there. Now, does that sound bad to you or not? Also, the people buried here had too much respect to just be built over so why do it?
Next, we have our second reason. This land has national appeal instead of just a state appeal to being a landmark. This photo below shows a monument of the soldiers who died.........from Maryland! If Maryland has claimed a monument here, they must have some sort of value of respect for this place. If we built over that, we are just trodding all over another state's respect. That's not too good.

Finally, we have a nameplate of one of the presidents of the Guilford Battle Ground Company. This group loved the history of this area and wanted to preserve it despite the economy gained from new buildings and shops. Look at the name on the plate. Yes, it is a Morehead. Joseph Morehead took over as president of the company once the first president, Schenck, died. He was around for the christening of the park as a park and he made sure of it. Now, if you remeber from the Blandwood mansion, the Moreheads were a powerful family. If a Morehead wanted something, they were pretty sure that it was going to happen. Therefore, the area was going to be a park. End of story on that. Well, moving on to #3: Residential Areas!!

The Gate City Marathon #1: Retail (Our Main Spots)

Welcome back to another wonderful edition of the journeys of HSS 105 and our ongoing journey through Greensboro and deciphering its amazng history. We traveled all around Greensboro and stopped at many places. Therefore, you will see 4 different blogs about these areas and one blog to wrap up the journey, sadly. We will start with the main buildings we went to. There were four big areas, Old Friendly Center, Four Seasons Mall, Revolution Mill, and The New Shoppes at Friendly Center. Well, here we go!

We started at Friendly Center, the original part. The original part of Friendly Center is the red rectangle with strips down the side (on the map). It is a center for many people because it is in a central location where is is easily accessible from the road and for pedestrians. Also, it has a wide variety of stores for children, adults, and even our elder adults (Chuck E. Cheeses, Gap Kids, and even a Mexican Restaurant). Now, there are a few areas in this area where something does not make sense, or you could say it sticks out. Notice the next two pictures at the top? One building is made of stone decor. The other building is made of brick? That doesn't follow standards of consistency. Well, my theory is that the stone buildings were used earlier, circa 1950s, because that was a strong material that was cheaper at the time of the creation of Friendly Center. Then, circa 1970s and 1980s, people saw that Friendly Center needed to grow and the stone we saw on the other building was getting expensive. So, the workers switched to a new material, brick. It was sturdy, strong, and could possibly withhold through strong storms. So, this explains the two stripes of Old Friendly Center.

Next, there is the issue of parking. Parking was tough because the value was use everything you can to make something useful. Then, the issue came up with where to park when cars became very popular. So, you can see a value change from building space to space for parking. So basically, parking is wherever there is not a building. Finally, there is a new style that we do not see in other places. There is the pedestrian connector and many sidewalks. This shows that values of walking are also in effect because people needed exercise and it saved money with gas. All in all, this place is a strong center for a variety of things whether it be food, appliances, or even a place to exercise. Now, we move to a different style of center, Four Seasons Mall.

Four Seasons Mall is a big center for many people in the Greensboro area. I wish I had more pictures but the security in the mall were not very "photogenic." Still, this is almost like Friendly Center. There are a variety of shops which are placed in one big area. Also, it has security making sure everything was in good condition (by the way, i was stopped by security twice for using a camera and standing with a group, so they are on their best work ethic). Along with these, there is a main center where everyone meets for an event or etc. Still, there are a lot of differences. Four Seasons is actually a big building so everything is inside. Also, it has more of a popularity because it is closer to big areas of residence and business, like the Koury Convention Center with a HOTEL right in it. To sum up Four Seasons, the value here is that it provides an indoor area for people to converse, buy products, and have a good time. Next, we'll go to Revolution Mill. Word of warning. There wasn't too much on this but I will give you what I have.

Next, we went to Revolution Cotton Mill in the White Oak neighborhood.

Revoltuion Mill helped symbolize the model of a mill town. It was made to symbolize the American Revolution, since we are on the craze of the use of Guildford Courthouse. The mill is not in use right now, but it was one of the strongest mills around at the time. How can we tell? There was a big railroad right beside it and from what we could see, it went all around Greensboro, back where Wafco Mill was at the time. It's amazing how it all comes back around. Finally, our last retail stop is the Shoppes of Friendly Center. This one is fun!

Finally, we stopped at the Shoppes at Friendly Center. This is the newer part of Friendly Center with many different parts to it that makes this area look like the future. Now, there are a variety of stores here (Wine store, Jason's Deli, and even the Apple Store). Now, the demographic here is more for adults because you have breakable objects, not too many kids stores, and especially the wine store. Now, on this last picture, you can tell that there is a style of brick and stone. Weird. The workers combined the two designs of Older Friendly Center. They may have done this to show the continued history of Friendly Center and how it will become a great center for people who can not get to Four Seasons. Also, one last thing, there are many different art pieces here in this area like the wall of bamboo in the picture above. Well, one down. Four to go!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Exploring the Other Side of the Tracks

Here we are again!! This time, we are going to the other side of the tracks where there was a notable street: South Elm Street. South Elm Street had a strong past since it is a part of the downtown scene as well as the railroad scene. Well, this part of Elm St. was very active due to its location near the ever popular railway. There have been many stores, lawyer offices, and even insurance companies that have taken residence on this street.

Now, we walked up and down both sides of the street to see what was there presently. I did not manage to get any pictures this time (grrr....), but I will explain the best that I can. Each building did not look like a new building, but as if they were re-used. (seems familiar from a while back) Anyways, we looked at these today and from overtime back from 1925, 1950, 1975, and 2000. It was a very interesting process.

Overall, I was not very surprised about a few of the results. 1925 had a lot of commercial businesses such as Furniture stores and hardware stores. Still, it was very commercial due to one big fact. The railroad was right by this area! The train was a powerful mode of transportation and lots of people came through the area of Elm Street to get commodities, food, etc. Where people are is where the businesses will clutter. So, it is very logical to see.

To add on, a lot of businesses died out because of the dominance of the railroad and expansion of properties. Also, the Great Depression just cut through the United States like a wildfire so therefore, businesses will get hurt and be closed due to money. Then, the 1950s came and people started worrying more about money and their right to take money for wrongdoings. So, what takes over this area? Lawyers and insurance companies, that's who! Where could accidents happen the most? Well, at a busy part of town, or the railroad itself. Money became a key part of society and that's how this era came around.

Now, the railroad became over-prosperous and it needed to expand. Therefore, around the times of the 1970s and even today, places were taken out for parking spaces, more railway goods and necessities, and even a bus depot for people to get to the station and other places. So, the railroad took over the area and took away from the commercial areas. Now, more traditional areas popped up and took the places of the lawyers and insurance areas such as a Goodwill and other small businesses.

To end with, there are some big patterns throughout this era of railway dominance. First, there is the Fordham Drug Co. It stood the time barrier from 1925 to today. How did this survive? Well, my opinion is that it is a historical landmark that became a historical landmark over time. Something must have gone on over time and made this place historic. What could have appened? Maybe it could have adapted over time to create this store that could adapt with the times. Who knows?
Also, many stores have taken the test of time and survived. There is the Salvation Army Hall, Southside Hardware Store, Coe Grocery, and many other places. Why? Once again, they contributed to the ongoing necessities of the people coming off the railroad. There were palces to get clothes, tools to build, and even food to eat. They had what people needed, so they survived the test of time.
Well, that's it, but leave some feedback if you desire and I hope that you continue to read The Amazing Journey of HSS 105!!