For their ongoing support of preservation throughout the state, including restoration of a Civil War memorial in Jackson County.
About the Award
Each year, Preservation North Carolina presents the Gertrude S. Carraway Awards of Merit to individuals and organizations that have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to promoting historic preservation.
The awards have been given since 1975 and are named for the late Dr. Gertrude Carraway of New Bern, a leader in the successful effort to reconstruct the state's colonial capitol, Tryon Palace, in New Bern.
If something good is happening in Sylva or Jackson County, there’s a pretty good chance that Phil and Connie Haire are involved. A highly respected attorney, Phil has served six terms in the North Carolina House of Representatives, where he serves as a chair of the Appropriations Committee. Connie is Vice President of the Macon Campus for Southwestern Community College, where she has worked for more than thirty years. Fortunately, both have had a long-time love of history, historic preservation and the environment.
Recently Phil organized an effort of the Jackson County Historical Association to restore the bronze Confederate statue that was placed in front of Macon County’s impressive historic courthouse in 1915. It is the only bronze Confederate statue west of Lenoir. Unlike in some communities, the statue in Sylva was constructed as a symbol of the pride that Jackson County took in being part of a united America.
The statue had suffered eight decades of weather damage and pollution. Phil wrote articles about Jackson County’s history for the local newspaper, spearheaded the drive to raise the funds for restoration, and then organized the rededication ceremony on Memorial Day.
With its refurbished statue, the Jackson County Courthouse will soon have an addition that will serve as a new library. As the Friends of the Library work to raise funds for its exciting new facility, the restored statue will take on an even higher profile as a source of community pride.
As always, the Haires are continuing to be involved, working to protect the historic resources and the environment of western North Carolina.