The Radio Museum
The Radio Museum was built in 2000. It was originally intended to house the radio collection of NC State Senator, Stan Bingham of Denton. While it does still house the 130 radios in the collection, there are many items that have found their way into the Radio Museum. There are Soap Box Derby Cars and other memorabilia from the late Willard Moore of Jamestown, NC. The Derby cars were raced by Mr. Moore’s sons in the 1950’s and 60’s. One , in fact, was raced in Dayton, OH. The toy steam engine collection is on permanent loan to the Park by the family of O’Ryan Sr. and Mary Holen of Winston-Salem, NC. ON the back wall is an extensive axe collection that is on loan to the park in loving memory of Herman Wyrick of Gibsonville, NC. There are also items from the Estate of Frances Bavier, who starred as Aunt Bea on the Andy Griffith Show. There are too many collectibles to mention; come in to discover your favorite for yourself.
Denton FarmPark’s Shoe Shop was built in its current location. It houses many items that would typically be found in a shoe shop that were purchased from the late Sam Morris of Thomasville, NC. There are also other items that call the Shoe Shop home; one of those is a sewing machine that was once owned by the great-great grandmother of the Denton FarmPark’s Director, Brown Loflin. That very sewing machine was used to make uniforms for the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. This is a completely functional Shoe Shop. Denton FarmPark is on the lookout for an individual who knows their way around a shoe shop to demonstrate the art of shoe making and shoe repair during our Southeast Old Thresher’s Reunion.
The George E. Sperling Grist Mill was built around 1892 in Shelby, NC. In 1991, the mill was moved from its original location to Denton FarmPark in 1992 (the 100th anniversary of the mill). It was then restored to operation. French stones are used to ground the corn into flour. These stones came from Europe to the United States in the bottoms of ships as a way to stabilize the ship’ s weight. Millwrights chiseled the stones and placed bands around them to make them able to ground the corn. You can buy corn meal here at the Park inside the mill that has been ground on these stones. Many say that the cornbread that comes from the mill is mighty good!
Beside the Service Station stands the Machine Shop. Inside, one sees the early 20th century machine tool technology in operation. Most of the tools were donated to Denton FarmPark by Vaughn Smith of Woodruff, SC. The line shafts and belt system are examples of how factories were powered before the advent of electricity became available. Such systems would have been powered by a single steam engine, and even prior to that, waterpower.
The display of machines represents what a fairly well equipped working machine shop would have looked like in its time period. The display includes lathes for turning round stock, planers, shapers, and mills for machining flat surfaces, drill presses for making holes, as well as boring mills for machining inside of cylinders or other large round holes. There are also grinders for metal removal. There is a broacher that makes grooves in holes. There is a harness hole puncher, a saw blade sharpener, a plow tip sharpener, an automatic screw machine, and an air compressor. It contains approximately 30 machines that have been restored and are operational.
In 1973, Charles Snyder or Snider wrote the following article about the Richmond Reid Plantation while it was still located at its original location and still a viable farm. It was published in the Lexington Dispatch in Lexington, NC on March 24, 1973.
The Reid Plantation on the waters of Cabin Creek and the Yadkin River, 2 miles south of High Rock and 7 miles southwest of Denton, may be called the most remarkable farm in Davidson County. In the first place, it is the only farm in the county still in operation where every sizable building was erected before the Civil War. Secondly, it is the birthplace and boyhood home of Dr. Albert Clayton Reid, who taught philosophy at Wake Forest University for 45 years and may well be the most distinguished teacher that Davidson County ever produced. Thirdly, it is the only farm in Davidson County that has ever been used as the backdrop for a book. The book is a delightful little novel entitled Tales of Cabin Cook. Cabin Creek is a small stream that rises about 5 miles southeast of Denton, then meanders westward for some 10 to 12 miles passing through Dr. Reid’s ancestral farm to join the Yadkin River.
The old plantation is a relic of the old South. So far as known, it is the only farm in NC now in a high state of cultivation, where every sizable building on the place was erected before the Civil War. One approaches the Reid Plantation, if one goes from Denton by motoring South over Jackson Hill Road for a little over 4 miles then turning West into Lick Creek Road and proceeding for a little over 2 miles, then turning southwest over a dirt and gravel road, and proceeding through the woods and fields for about a mile. At the end of this road, on a hill about a quarter of a mile from where Cabin Creek joins the Yadkin River, stands a group of antique buildings dating from a time when millions of American people still believed that slavery was a divinely ordained institution and when nobody in Illinois even expected Abe Lincoln might one day be President of the United States. Most conspicuous of these holdings is a fine two story farmhouse vacant for 20 years except for furniture which has in its day housed 3 generations of the Reids. Built of heat pine by Richmond Reid and his slaves, it is still well preserved. Near the ancestral home is a smaller 2 story house part of which served as a kitchen in which slaves, at the big fireplace prepared food for Richmond Reid and his family. The second story served as a weaving room in which slaves were employed. It is now the home of Henry McDowell and his wife who have cared for the plantation for many years. Other buildings within a convenient distance from the dwelling are a smokehouse, granary, and a large 2 story barn all substantially built and put together with wooden pegs.
In the nearly 40 years since the publication of this article, the Reid Plantation changed as one might suspect. The health of Mr. and Mrs. McDowell deteriorated to the point that they were unable to care for the plantation. They were eventually moved to health care facilities. With no one to to look after the plantation, vandals took their toll on the buildings. As a result of this and with the concern of others, Denton FarmPark’s director, Brown Loflin, acquired the buildings that remained intact from the descendants of Richmond Reid and moved them to Denton FarmPark in the 1980’s. They were lovingly restored to their original luster for all.
As with most cabins, there is a timeless quality about them. The small cabin at Denton FarmPark, which was one of the first buildings brought to the park and restored, provides this quality. Many are not aware of the history of this cabin, but fortunately, Shirley Terrell of Denton, NC provided enough information for us to share.
This cabin is a typical one room cabin with a large fireplace for cooking and for warmth. The cabin also has a loft. Its original location was off of Old Jackson Hill Road, which is now known as South Main Street Extension in Denton, NC. This cabin was the home of Miss Adeline Loftin.
Miss Adeline was born August 28, 1843. She was the third of ten children born to Gray and Prissilar Badgett Loftin of Denton, NC. She never married. She was, however, the caregiver of her extended family of aunts and uncles. She died November 17, 1942 at the age of 99 and is buried at Clear Springs United Methodist Church in Denton, NC.
Today, the restored cabin is full of life. It houses the collection of antiques which are sold during the Southeast Old Thresher’s Reunion by Danny and Glenda Wagoner of Salisbury, NC. Come by and browse our antique selection as you marvel at the uniqueness of the Adaline Loftin Cabin.
The “tramping” barn used to be abundant in the country and in its day was the most advanced method of separating the grains of wheat from the stalk and pod. The barn is part of the W.A. Reid Farm plantation, and was moved to Denton FarmPark in the 1980’s. The barn has a long platform slanting up the side of the building leading to a large door into the threshing room. Three or four horses were driven up the ramp and into the tramping room where bundles of wheat were strewn on the floor. The floor consists of boards 2 ½” by 2 ½” that are placed about an inch apart to allow the grains of wheat and chaff to drop through into a bin on the first floor.
Once the horses were in the tramping room, an attendant, usually a slave, was put in charge. He kept the animals moving with a whip in one hand and a bucket in the other. The constant pounding of the horses’ hooves and pressure from the weight caused the separation of the grain.
Sometime between the close of the Revolution and 1800, a Methodist Church was established in the Clear Springs area. The church was located to west and north of the intersection of NC Highway 8 and Lick Creek Road. The building was made of logs and stood for many years. About 1825 or prior, a church building was built at Clear Springs near the present cemetery. The building was a frame structure in which services were held once a month, either on Wednesday or Thursday.
On April 12, 1883, Richard S. Adderton and his wife Martha deeded one half acre, more or less, in the Village of Jackson Hill to the trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The trustees were Alexander Bulla, James M. Badgett, Edward L. Yarborough, Joseph L. Wood, William M. Surratt, William M.C. Surratt, and Marmaduke Surratt.
A church building was constructed on this site at Jackson Hill and was used for about 25 years. According to information recorded in a local man’s Bible, “the first sermon preached in this Methodist Episcopal Church at Jackson Hill was by Rev. M. Black, the presiding Elder, on Saturday, October 13, 1883. The text used was the 10th Chapter of the Acts, 1 and 2 verses.”
In 1901, a parsonage was built there, and Jackson Hill was made the center of a new circuit, with Rev. John Davis as a minister. Also in the same year, W. Harris Badgett and Elizabeth Badgett deeded about an acre of land to the Jackson Hill trustees:David Smith, Alfred Smith, and William M.C. Surratt.
In 1908, the construction of this church building was completed on the Jackson Hill site. Mr. Ciero L. Badgett served as the building chairman: and Tom S. Everhart, J. Walter Newsom, and Alex W. Surratt were responsible for the completion of the building. It is the steeple of beautifully designed rural building that inspired the artist, Bob Timberlake, of Lexington, NC to paint his now famous work “Cicero’s Steeple”.
At different times consolidation of some of the smaller Methodist churches in the area had been discussed. The actual planning for combining the Jackson Hill and Newsom congregations was made under the leadership of Rev. John Oakley and Rev. Ray C. Stephens. In February 1956, both congregations approved plans for a new church building to be built on a lot joining the Clear Springs Methodist Church . In May, 1957, the last worship service was held in the Jackson Hill Church being conducted by Rev. Stephens.
On Sunday, May 6, 1956, Rev. M. Teague Hipps, the District Superintendent, called a Quarterly Conference of the trustees of Jackson Hill Methodist Church for the purpose of granting them the authority to sell the Jackson Hill church building. At the sale, D. Lee Smith purchased the church building and the land on which it stood. After Mr. Smith’s death in May 1976, arrangements were made by the Smith heirs to let the church building be moved to Denton FarmPark to be restored and preserved