Architectural historian to speak here

By Tom Joyce -

Longtime local history buffs might recall an inventory of Surry’s architectural treasures which was conducted by Laura A.W. Phillips in 1980.

Though done more than 35 years ago, the Surry County Architectural Inventory that included 638 properties has remained a valuable historical resource, with Phillips’ work often consulted by those wanting to learn about older local sites.

And next week, the noted architectural historian/consultant is scheduled to make a rare appearance in Surry, where she will talk about that 1980 project.

Phillips, of Winston-Salem, will present a program on the local architectural legacy during a dinner gathering of the Surry County Historical Society to be held Thursday at 6 p.m., which is open to the public.

The dinner program will be held at the historic Edwards-Franklin House at 4132 Haystack Road.

Phillips said Friday that she plans to discuss the process involved with the 1980 survey and some of the interesting developments uncovered along the way.

Phillips conducted the architectural inventory by traveling down every passable road in the county, according to information from the Surry Historical Society.

She often depended on the county’s oldest residents, who directed her travels and shared their knowledge of the area’s architectural history. In addition to the inventory, her work led to the publishing of a highly regarded book, “Simple Treasures: The Architectural Legacy of Surry County,” in 1987.

During the project in 1980, Phillips recorded excellent and often-unusual examples of historic decorative interior painting.

Such discoveries in Surry County sparked a career-long study throughout the state identifying, recording and researching this art form that is an important part of North Carolina’s architectural heritage.

Phillips’ work has been supported in part by the N.C. Museum of History and the state Division of Archives and History.

While her architectural survey and historic-preservation projects have spanned North Carolina, Phillips has particularly focused on the Piedmont.

Dinner details

The cost for the meal and program Thursday is $15 per person. Participants must purchase the meal to attend the program, according to officials of the historical group.

They recommend that reservations be made with David Crawford at 336-789-2983 or 336-416-1996.

Checks for the event can be mailed to the Surry County Historical Society, P.O. Box 469, Mount Airy, NC, 27030-0469.

Payments also will be accepted at the door on the night of the event, but reservations with Crawford are urged so the group will know how many meals to prepare, organizers say.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.

By Tom Joyce

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