Tryon remembers

Published 9:48 am Wednesday, January 17, 2018

McLeod presents the story behind the town’s history museum 

TRYON – It was standing room only at the Lanier Library lunchtime on Tuesday. Approximately 50 people gathered to hear Happy McLeod’s talk, “Telling Tryon’s Story: the Birth of the Tryon Historical Museum.”  

As a founder and board chair of the museum, McLeod took great pleasure in describing the wonderful displays to be found in the brick building on Maple St. She described the trains that used to come through Tryon and the room filled with information about the town’s early days.  

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The horse lovers in the audience added bits and pieces as McLeod began talking about how it was Tryon residents who helped start the first civilian Olympic Equestrian Team after the US Cavalry was disbanded. 

She mentioned Olympian Frank Chapot and his famous, Nautical, “The horse with the flying tail.” She mentioned how the team came to Tryon and trained at the Cotton Patch Farm for the Olympics during the 1950s. 

“There are people here in the audience who remember the Reynolds family and Jackie and Bill Coon who brought the wonderful Thoroughbreds to the area,” she said as heads in the audience nodded agreement. 

Of course McLeod talked about the museum’s room dedicated to the equine history of the area and the pictures of Carter Brown, the Olympians, Gordon Wright and other famous horsemen and horses in the area.  

“Some of the finest horses in the world came out of and are still coming out of Tryon,” she said.  

McLeod spoke briefly about how the tradition of world-class horses and horsemen is continuing in the area, including the Tryon International Equestrian Center and the World Games. She said the work being done on Interstate 26 is to accommodate the horse trailers.  

“They will be using the Greenville/Spartanburg and Charlotte airports to fly the horses in from around the world,” she said. “Then they will transport the horses here by truck and trailer.” 

McLeod said the museum board is hoping that, in the near future, they will be able to find a permanent home for the museum. Though they love where they are currently located on Maple St., most of the museum’s proceeds are going toward paying rent.  

The museum is in the process of submitting a request for a grant for electronic docents, which McLeod described as being similar to a kindle or tablet that guests can carry with them as they stroll through the exhibits.  

She added that they were always looking for volunteers. “It’s your museum,” she said. “We’re telling the story through the people of Tryon and the area.”