I awoke to another fine morning in the Carolinas…so after my weekly visit to the recycling center, I headed into town to do some walking. I stopped in at the new Native American Studies Center on Main Street…run by USC Lancaster. Most of Lancaster County is on lands once held by the Catawba Indian Nation, and the center has many informative exhibits about this tribe native to the area, including examples of their distinctive style of pottery. There were also displays relating some of their native tales. I found one, in particular, both amusing (I like Snail) and touching. If you click on the image you should be able to read it for yourself.
This Catawba tale will come to mind whenever I hear my old friend Barred Owl on a dark Winter night. Next stop up the street was the newly restored historic County Courthouse (now a museum and visitor center). It was designed by Robert Mills, the architect who also designed the Washington Monument.
Directly in front of the courthouse is a Civil War monument, erected in 1909, dedicated to ‘Our Confederate Soldiers’. This is the South after all. I’ve also read that this site is where one of the last witch trials in America was held. It involved a woman from nearby Chesterfield who was allegedly accused of turning a young Lancaster girl into a horse…who she then rode into town to burgle some shops, entering through keyholes. I’m not quite sure what they were smoking in those days…but it was definitely some bad weed.
The main courtroom on the upper floor was beautifully redone, and in the silence of that room, I could almost hear the whispered voices of all the people who had occupied this space over the many years since it was built…who perhaps gazed through this window as they awaited their fates.
My last stop was Bob Doster’s Backstreet Studio and Gallery, which was having an open house today. Doster is an internationally acclaimed metal sculptor, who has converted a row of storefronts on one of Lancaster’s side streets into an eclectic (to say the least) studio and gallery. Out front is what I presume to be his ‘Great Wall of China.’
After that…I’d seen enough for one morning. It was back home. I will, however, be keeping an eye out for any strange horses wandering down the road.