Located in the heart of Historic Downtown Wilkesboro, the former Wilkes County Courthouse, built in 1902 was restored in 2005 to become the Wilkes Heritage Museum . Full of rich heritage, colorful characters, significant events and true enterprise in cultural arts & music, and business & industry exhibits tell the story of Wilkes from its beginning through Native Americans, Moravian Explorers, Revolutionary & Civil War Heroes, moonshine & racing, natural disasters like the 1916 and 1940 floods, The Flume, Kennedy Pottery and much more.
As you approach the front steps of the museum reflect on the Veterans' Walk of Honor, a tribute to our servicemen and women in which their name, rank, branch and date of service are engraved on bricks displayed in the front lawn. As of 2008, over 1,700 bricks dedicated in honor or memory of loved ones since the 1st Dedication ceremony in 2005.
The Old Jail is one of the few mid-19th century jails still intact in the state but is mostly known as the jail that incarcerated two infamous characters, Tom Dula (also referred to as Tom Dooley) and Anne Melton in the 1860’s.
Robert Cleveland and his family of 17 children lived in the log home built in the late 1700’s originally located in Purlear. Robert Cleveland’s brother, Col. Benjamin Cleveland, also lived in Wilkes and led forces from this region to the Battle of King’s Mountain during the Revolutionary War.
The first Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony took place in 2008 and is an annual event held in June at the Walker Center in Wilkesboro. The Museum showcases the rich musical heritage of the greater Blue Ridge Mountain area from northern Georgia to northern Virginia.
Enjoy a walking tour of the Historic properties within the National Register of Historic Places: St. Paul ’s Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church, Brown-Cowles House, Finley Law Office, Federal Building , Old Smithey Hotel, J. T. Ferguson Store and Johnson-Hubbard House.
School groups, special events/groups & meetings welcomed. The Museum offers a unique meeting space located in the former courtroom and seats 200.
Annual events include:
CandleLight Ghost Tours - March through Halloween
Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony - June
Veterans' Walk of Honor Dedication Ceremony - November
Christmas Tea with Old Wilkes Inc. - December
Wilkes Heritage Museum, Main Street, Wilkesboro NC 28697 (336)667-3171