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Cabarrus Magazine

Concord Museum's "A City of Steeples" Explores the Stories Behind the Churches that have Served Their Communities for Over 100 years

Jun 19, 2017 08:35PM ● By Melanie Heisinger

Bethel United Methodist

Historic Cabarrus Association, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization formed in 1973 by local citizens who were passionate about the preservation and restoration of the Historic Cabarrus County Courthouse.  The original Board of Directors, along with the originators of the Old Courthouse Theatre, were responsible for saving this wonderful historic treasure from demolition.

The Concord Museum, originally known as Memorial Hall, was founded in 1939 when the Concord City Aldermen requested that the Coltrane-Harris Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy create a home for artifacts, documents, and books of historical significance to the community.   

On June 26, 2007, Historic Cabarrus, Inc. and The Concord Museum merged, becoming Historic Cabarrus Association, Inc. We have begun a mission to find a permanent home to showcase historical collections, memorabilia, and a library of antique books, photographs, documents, and oral histories from all of Cabarrus County. 

Recently they opened an exhibit titled "A City of Steeples" and we wanted to know a little more about it. We reached out to Ashley Sedlak-Propst the Executive Director of Historic Cabarrus Association, Inc., who is also the Archivist/Curator for the organization, to get some more information about the Concord Museum's latest exhibit. 

Tell us a little bit about the latest exhibit "A City of Steeples" at the Concord Museum.

"A City of Steeples" takes visitors back to the 19th century in Cabarrus County and showcases several of the churches and congregations that were founded in the county between 1805 and 1895. Most of the churches displayed at the museum still exist to this day, have very active congregations, and are providers for their communities. St. James Lutheran Church, Central United Methodist, Zion Hill A.M.E., Forest Hill Methodist, St. James Catholic Church, Bethpage Presbyterian, Bethel United Methodist, and Grace Lutheran Church are just a few of the churches whose stories are told through artifacts and documents on display.  

How long will the exhibit be there?

Courtesy of the St. James
Lutheran Church website

"A City of Steeples" is part two of a three part exhibit series that Historic Cabarrus Association, Inc. is putting on at the Concord Museum. The exhibit runs through July 21st. Part three of HCA's Church of Cabarrus County exhibit series will open spring 2018 at The Concord Museum. 

What can someone expect while viewing the exhibit? 

Visitors to the museum will be able to explore the stories behind the churches that have served their communities for over one hundred years.

They will be able to see historic photographs of early sanctuaries and church buildings that no longer exist and can add to the narrative by telling their own stories. Many guests have already provided their own memories of attending these churches and have become part of the exhibit themselves! 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What's your role there? 

I am the Executive Director of Historic Cabarrus Association, Inc. and I'm also the Archivist/Curator for the organization. Part of my responsibility as Archivist/Curator is researching and designing the exhibits on display and using artifacts and documents from our archives to build those exhibits. We have items in our archives dating back to the 1750s! My background is in archival work and historic preservation, and I get to do what I love on a daily basis.

My favorite part of being involved with this organization is hearing the stories of Cabarrus County through its citizens. History isn't just what is in our past, we are actively creating and living through history every day. The history of Cabarrus County is diverse and unique and I love being able to help museum visitors interact with that history on a daily basis. 

Are there any future plans or exhibits in the works? What should we be excited about? 

Forest Hill United Methodist Church

Our next exhibit, "Celebrating A Century of Progress" will celebrate the 120th anniversary of the founding of the Concord Telephone Company. Early photographs of the company will be on display, along with dozens of artifacts and documents from Historic Cabarrus Association's extensive Concord Telephone Company collection, gifted to the organization after CTC was purchased by Windstream. "Celebrating a Century of Progress." will open at Art Walk downtown Concord on August 11th and will run through the end of 2017. 

We will also be hosting our 2017 Annual Fundraiser on October 14th at the Historic Odell House on North Union Street. For more information about the Fundraiser, other events, and upcoming exhibits check out our website, and like us on Facebook and Twitter @historycabarrus! 

Are there any volunteer opportunities for those that are interested? 

We are always looking for volunteers who are passionate about Cabarrus County, its people, and its history. If anyone is interested in becoming active with Historic Cabarrus Association, Inc. have them email me at [email protected] We'd love to hear from them! 

To learn more about this exhibit, you can visit the Historic Cabarrus Association's website at

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