Walk of History Rededication

It’s not unusual to see small groups of people gathered at Silvermont Park. They meet for play dates, programs in the mansion, or just to enjoy the fresh air with friends. Such a group gathered on June 17, but for a special purpose: to celebrate the rededication of the Transylvania County Walk of History.

Current and former Friends of Silvermont (FOS) board members, family members, volunteers, and special guests gathered on a sunny afternoon for the rededication. FOS President Erik Rasmussen made brief remarks praising the original cadre of volunteers who stepped up at pivotal times to preserve and protect Silvermont Park and Mansion, singling out Jane Shiley as an activist volunteer who was the motivating force behind the Walk of History. The Walk is rededicated in her honor, as is noted on a plaque added to the large sign.

Erik Rasmussen addressing the group

Erik also thanked Transylvania County and partner organizations such as the Transylvania Heritage Museum for their continued support of the park. He concluded by recognizing the volunteers who worked on the refurbishment of the Walk, which included the planning effort, cleaning and repair of the large sign, removal of the old tree ID signs, replacement and installation of new tree ID signs, and purchase and planting of a replacement flame azalea. The new tree ID signs have QR codes enabling people to link to web pages at the FOS website that provide more information about the trees and shrubs, such as their historical uses, their roles in the environment, and associated folklore. 

Left to right: Chad Owenby, Operations Director, Transylvania County; Rebecca Suddeth, Curator, Transylvania Heritage Museum; Pinkie Byrd, FOS Recording Secretary; Joe Dapkins, FOS Vice-President; Chet Wright, FOS Board Member at large; Carrie Blair, volunteer who provided extensive botanical expertise; Erik Rasmussen, FOS President; Jenny Tierney, FOS Board Member at large

Friends of Silvermont board members started planning in Spring 2023 to refurbish the Walk of History, beginning with inventorying the surviving trees and signs and evaluating the condition of the large sign. A project plan was put together and approved by the board, with the goal of rededicating the Walk on June 17. Major work on the project was contributed by Erik Rasmussen, who disassembled, repaired, and reconstructed the large sign, and Chet Wright, who coordinated acquisition of the tree ID signs and developed the web pages linked to them. Thanks to the efforts of several Friends volunteers, the project was completed on time and nearly on budget.

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