Students in the Trail Club and the History Club at Surry Community College worked together with the Surry County Historical Society to begin work on a new nature trail at the historic Edwards-Franklin House on Haystack Road.
“We cleared the trail and picked up trash along the new trail, as well as toured the historic house and the enslaved people’s graveyard,” said Mecca Lowe of Mountain Park, a sociology instructor at the college and the advisor for the Trail Club.
Participating students included Peter Sykes of Hillsville, Va.; Alexander Stern of Mount Airy; John Moxley of Boonville; and Celena Pardue of Benham. Rick Shelton and Abby Williams, history instructors, both of Dobson, also participated.
The Trail Club is comprised of students interested in hiking and nature trails. The club is currently working to restore a one-mile nature trail on the Surry Community College campus, which they hope to open by the end of the spring semester. Students have been clearing trail, picking up trash, and assembling trail markers so that students and visitors can enjoy nature while on campus. The Trail Club also visits local state parks and recreation areas once a month to hike. Recent hikes have been on the Mountains-to-Sea trail in Elkin and Cumberland Knob on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The History Club at SCC provides out-of-classroom history-related experiences for students, as well as the study of history through special events, guest lectures, movies, games, museum visits, field trips, and other events throughout the year. The club is open to any student interested in history.
TheEdwards-Franklin House was built in 1799 by Gideon Edwards, a local leading planter and state senator. Later, his son-in-law, Meshack Franklin, who was a landowner, politician, and member of Congress, occupied the home. Franklin remodeled the home in the Federal style of the 1820s, which included decorative painting meant to imitate marble on the paneling, mantels, and staircase.
COVID-19 has disrupted events open to the public at the Edwards-Franklin House. Traditionally, the Surry County Historical Society sponsors an open house the second weekend of each month from May through October. At the Edwards-Franklin House, the Historical Society hosts the Annual Sonker Festival in October and a themed Christmas Open House in December. These events are open to the public at no charge. The Surry County Historical Society hopes to resume events by October.
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