EDITORIAL: House in the Horseshoe — history worth repeating

Jun. 11, 2014 @ 05:00 AM

The home still bears the scars of The American Revolution, and each year, thousands gather on its grounds to watch a true-to-life recreation of a battle between loyalists and American militia.

But bureaucracy, being notoriously short-sighted, is most concerned with the bottom line — not the indisputable historical and cultural value of Moore County's House in the Horseshoe State Historic Site. Once again — it seems like this local treasure has become a perennial whipping post at budget time — the site is slated for closure.

North Carolina has more than its share of significant Civil War locales, but the state is relatively short on landmarks from the Revolutionary period — making the House in the Horseshoe a unique asset. The annual reenactment each summer is history at its most hands-on, with visitors able to touch the bullet holes, smell the smoke and and musket fire, and witness the skirmish between Col. Philip Alston's Patriot militia and the Loyalists under Col. David Fanning just as it happened.

The last time the house was on the chopping block, it was at least in good company, with three other sites on the same list. This time, curiously, it has been singled out for defunding despite its popularity and relatively low cost to operate; the site drew a reported 20,000 visitors last fiscal year and the annual reenactment has been named one of the top 20 events in the southeastern U.S. for August by the Southeast Tourism Society.

Rep. Mike Stone, R-Lee, seems to believe that this attempt to shutter the site will fizzle out like the rest. He has put a provision restoring its funding into the House budget — a commendable move that may halt its closing, now set for July.

If his effort succeeds, let this be the last time this ill-advised plan is put forward. With history repeating itself this many times, let's hope our legislative leaders will finally learn from the past.