HISTORY MUSEUM OF CATAWBA COUNTY
Hours: Tuesday - Friday 9am - 4pm
Location: 30 N. College Avenue, Newton NC 28658
The History Museum of Catawba County offers testimony to the hardy settlers of the Catawba River Valley and their resourceful descendants who carved a world-renowned furniture and textile empire out of the backwoods.
It is the story of the American Dream as perceived by the self-sufficient Scotch-Irish, German, English, and African peoples who followed the Native American trails along the Catawba River in search of a place to call home. The story is artfully displayed in the unique setting of the former Catawba County Courthouse, an imposing National Register Renaissance Revival structure built in 1924, on the square in downtown Newton.
The collections include agricultural tools and implements forged from hand-dug iron ore, and handcrafted household cupboards, wagon benches, beds, tables, chests, cradles, plantation desks, a firkin, and miniature furniture samples shown by “drummers” or early salesmen.
There are treasured military uniforms, including a British Red Coat from the Revolutionary War era (one of the few such coats in existence). A major repository of Civil War objects, the museum displays the Clinton A. Cilley Collection, including this distinguished colonel’s field desk; firearms, notably a Colt 45 swiped from Stoneman’s Raiders by a Newton boy and handed down through his family; and an 1861 locally hand-made and hand-dyed First National Flag of the Confederacy, the “Stars and Bars".
Two full-scale, original antebellum parlors have been reconstructed and preserved in the museum, the Shuford-Jarett from 1830, featuring deft molding-plane embellishments—in the time before power tools—and pegged muntins, and the Munday Parlor from 1840, with trompe l’oeil dentils, marbleized wooden baseboards, and a hand-painted dazzling central medallion. Visitors can also walk through Dr. Hambrick’s 1920s medical office, containing his ice-cold stainless steel examination table and an extensive variety of instruments from the period.