The Hickory Landmarks Society
The Hickory Landmarks Society is a non-profit organization committed to serving the community by leading in the protection of historically or architecturally significant neighborhoods, individual landmarks and traditions. It began in 1967 when Frances Moody, Edna Barringer, and others organized a small group of people to save the Propst House from destruction. The following year, the organization was incorporated in North Carolina. Annual membership dues and contributions supported the all-volunteer efforts in those early days.
The Propst House is a Second Empire style cottage built in 1883 by J. Summie Propst. The house was built along the railroad tracks where Hickory’s earliest fine homes were located. In 1970 the Hickory Landmarks Society moved the house to its present location at Third Avenue, NW and Sixth Street, NW. In 1975, the Hickory Landmarks Society received the Ruth Coltrane Cannon Cup for the restoration of the Propst House. The Cannon Cup, established in 1948, is North Carolina’s most prestigious preservation award.
Maple Grove was purchased in 1970 by the Hickory Landmarks Society thanks to a contribution in memory of the late Wade Hampton Shuford, Sr. by his widow Nora Algood Shuford. The Italianate-style farmhouse was built in 1883 by Adolphus and Mary Adelaide Shuford with the back portion of the house having been built ca. 1870. In 1976 it was transformed into a house museum and headquarters for the Hickory Landmarks Society. Restoration of Maple Grove to the c. 1895 period has been an ongoing project since 1992.
In 1984, the Hickory Landmarks Society hired its first director, Mavis Sears, who worked part time. The following year, Bobbie Patterson became director and in 1988 Carey Walker became the first full time director. Following in their footsteps were John Compton (1991-1995) and Patrick Daily (1996-present). Through their leadership efforts, historic preservation education activities grew. More and more private historic properties were both recognized and saved in Hickory.
Hickory Landmarks Society acquired Houk’s Chapel in 2004, an endangered Methodist Church built in 1893 and located within Hickory’s Fairview Cemetery. HLS restored the chapel to its 19th century appearance. The oldest standing church in the city proper, Houk’s Chapel is one of only sixteen Hickory properties individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The chapel is available for tours by appointment.
Although the Hickory Landmarks Society is directly involved with historic preservation, either through actual restoration and rehabilitation, it now offer technical advice and services for private owners of historic properties. Spurred by acquisition and moving the threatened 1895 Corinth Church parsonage and the 1898 Fox-Ingold house, the HLS Endangered Properties program was formally established in the late 1980’s to purchase and “revolve” historic properties in Hickory that could not otherwise be saved to new ownership.