The Hugh Torance House and Store, at 8231 Gilead Road, Huntersville, is one of Mecklenburg County’s only surviving 18th century structures, and is North Carolina’s oldest surviving store. The building was the home of Hugh and Isabella Torance. The log cabin was first built in 1780, with additions built through the early 1800s. The building served as both a store and a home.
Also on the property is Cedar Grove, the 1831 Greek Revival home of James Torrance, who was the son of Hugh and Isabella Torance.
James Torrance ran the dry goods store, starting in 1805. The store appears much the same as it did in 1805, and you can even shop at it. It’s open on Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m., and you can buy sodas and snacks, as well as items produced by local artisans, like candles, honey and soap.
Today the property is operated by a nonprofit with the goal of learning and sharing the history of the site.
Tours are available on Sundays at 1:15 p.m. and 3 p.m. Both admission and tours are free. Please RSVP if you’d like to take a tour.
On the tour, which is excellent, you’ll explore the various rooms of the building, learn the history of the Torance family and the site and interesting details about the construction of the house. Costumed interpreters pay special attention to the history of the enslaved people who lived and worked there.
HEARTS Park encompasses both the Hugh Torance House and Store and Cedar Grove. The HEARTS Park program is key to the offerings at the property. Each letter of HEARTS stands for part of the mission and programming:
History: Connect to the stories and history of this land, from prehistory to the present.
Ecology: Learn about native plants.
Arts: HEARTS events feature live music (Cedar Groove,) poetry, historical reenactments and modern artistic interpretations.
Reunion: The Reunion project was created to collect and share stories of all the people connected to the site throughout time, including formerly enslaved people and indigenous people. (See more about this, below.)
Trails: The site is next to the McDowell Greenway, which is planned to continue north as part of the Carolina Thread Trail.
Store: The store is the hub for all the activities, and you can even shop for refreshments and sundries, as well as the wares of local artisans.
The Reunion Project focuses on genealogy. The mission of the program is to connect descendants of the land. It’s often difficult for descendants of enslaved people to learn about their ancestry, due to lack of records. The Reunion Project is working to build collections that will help. The Reunion Project is also gathering information about the indigenous people who lived on this land for thousands of years.
If you think that you have ancestors connected with a plantation in Mecklenburg County or nearby area, and you’d like to be a part of the Reunion Project, please feel out this form.
Upcoming Events at Hugh Torance House and Store
House and Store Guided Tour
1:15 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Free, but donations are welcome
Step back in time to 1779 and explore the house and store.
HEARTS Event: Harvest (live music and more)
Saturday, October 15th, 2022
2 to 5 p.m.
Free, but register at the above link
Featuring award-winning author and professor, Dr. Ashli Stokes, exploring local food history and our regional identity; and Singer-songwriter legend, David Childers and The Serpents, performing their original music in the Americana tradition. Plus, live music by the Torrance AME Zion Stroller Singers.
Old Fashioned Spirit Day — Halloween event for kids
Sunday, October 30th, 2022
2 to 5 p.m.
Free, but please register at the above link
Enjoy crafts and games, as well as an age-appropriate Haunted Trail for younger kids.
Upcoming Events in the Charlotte areaCheck out our full events calendar, where you can enter any date, or look at the events for the next few days here:
Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Thursday, December 8, 2022
Friday, December 9, 2022