Housed in a 1917 home facing
"We have tons of stories to tell, many of which are not on display," said
Since it opened to the public in the 1960s, the main attraction at the historic park has been the 1785 Mordecai House, the oldest house in
Most of the 5,300 artifacts in the site's collection won't fit in the house or the park's other buildings, which include an 1847 chapel and the birthplace of President
Some of them will soon have a home in the Interpretative Center's new exhibits. Proctor said the display will feature the plantation's slave life as well as the history of the families that called Mordecai home.
"The growth of this family and this farm coincided with the history of
Plans for a visitors center have been on the drawing boards at Mordecai since 1968. Construction was delayed first by a lack of funding, then by neighborhood complaints that the design was too modern.
After a 2007 parks bond allocated
City officials found an 11th-hour compromise: renovating the longtime two-story home of antiques dealer
The center will host more educational events, with the goal of luring back visitors who have already done the standard house tour. With two outdoor porches, the building can be rented for private events. And the city can reopen two historic outbuildings that had been serving as offices and storage: a curing barn and overseer's office that will eventually become part of the tour.
But the location isn't ideal. Most parking spaces are on the opposite side of the park, forcing tourists to cross the entire property to start their visit.
"I still don't know that this is the best solution," said
Campbell: 919-829-4802; Twitter: @RaleighReporter
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