Five years ago, in August 2007, the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee (LTLT) purchased the T.M. Rickman General Store, one of the most important historic buildings in Cowee Community. The Friends of the Rickman Store invite visitors and neighbors this Saturday, Aug. 4, to celebrate with ice cream, music and memories on this milestone anniversary.
The preservation of the cultural landscape and heritage of the region is an important component of the programs of the LTLT that since 1997 has dedicated is efforts to conserve and protect land along the Upper Little Tennessee Valley. In 2001, the LTLT was instrumental in the creation of the Cowee-West’s Mill Historic District, the largest National Register Historic District in Western North Carolina. This first Cultural Landscape Conservation Project inspired many members of the community and opened new opportunities for investing efforts in the preservation of the historic buildings in the district.
When the opportunity for purchasing the Rickman Store came up in 2007, a group of community volunteers jumped in to help LTLT with the necessary fund-raising.
This group of volunteers came to be known as the Friends of the Rickman Store (FORS), who since 2007 have been organizing a variety of cultural and educational activities for members of the community and visitors to the region.
“Volunteering with FORS has been an opportunity for me to get involved in the community, and to learn and share more about the history of the valley,” says Cowee resident Connie Reynolds who invites other neighbors and temporary residents to join FORS’ efforts.
The public is invited to celebrate at the Store this Saturday, Aug. 4. Doors will open at 10 a.m. for a full day of activities. There will be a special exhibit and presentation on the current programs of LTLT, a musical performance by the Nikwasi Dulcimer Players at noon, an Ice Cream Social starting at 1 p.m., and a Music Jam at 2 p.m. with Smoky Burnett, Mary and Harry Miller, Dave Stewart and other local musicians who have found at the Rickman Store an intimate and supportive venue for sharing their talents.
The historic Rickman Store is located on 259 Cowee Creek Road, seven miles north of Franklin by Highway NC 28 next to Cowee Elementary School where parking is available for visitors. For more information, call (828)369-5595 or visit www.ltlt.org.