Tryon tours new museum/visitor center

Published 5:21 pm Thursday, December 26, 2013

Tryon council, staff and residents toured what will soon be the town’s new museum and visitor center, located in the front of Tryon Town Hall.

Visitors to the Tryon Museum, which will open in 2014 (photos by Leah Justice).

Visitors to the Tryon Museum, which will open in 2014 (photos by Leah Justice).

The tour was done with refreshments before the council’s Dec. 17 meeting.
The official opening of the museum and visitor center, which will also house a gift shop will be announced sometime in 2014. A committee is waiting on responses from grant requests in order to obtain start-up funding. Volunteers will operate the museum/visitor center, including a gift shop that will carry local pieces and be a source of income for the museum.
Tryon has been working over the past few months renovating town hall to add a new museum and visitor center in the front portion of the building. The museum/visitor center will be located where at one time the town offices were housed.
Newly elected Tryon Commissioner Happy McLeod organized a committee in April to begin the museum and visitor’s center.
McLeod said she was once asked by newcomers who Carter Brown was and that question made her realize the need to preserve Tryon’s rich equestrian, toy makers, arts, vineyards and its people’s history.  McLeod said telling Tryon’s story is the vision behind creating a town museum.
Historical pieces already are filling the space, including historic photographs of Tryon’s many landmarks.
Tryon, named after Tryon Mountain, was first incorporated as a city in 1885 then later as the Town of Tryon in 1920.
Tryon was developed because construction of the railroad to Asheville brought rail workers and later passenger and other trains close to the geographic center of the town.
Passenger trains had to stop in Tryon before heading up the Saluda Grade, the steepest grade east of the Rockies, to take on a helper train. Passengers would get out while waiting and frequently decided to stay because of the appealing Thermal Belt weather.
In the 1880s western North Carolina was a refuge for people suffering from tuberculosis with Tryon being a popular spot for its mild winters and cooler summers.
Tryon was also known for its vineyards, its equestrian events and its artists.

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