Tannenbaum Historic Park

(26.08.2003 , United States, Greensboro )
Officials lure folks to park for lesson

Officials lure folks to park for lesson
By JIM SCHLOSSER, Staff Writer
News & Record
GREENSBORO -- Since its founding 15 years ago, tiny Tannenbaum Historical Park has grappled with an identity problem.
It becomes apparent when callers telephone the park, thinking it's Tannenbaum Medical Associates.
"I have people who reveal very personal medical information right off the bat," says park director Adrienne Byrd. "I say, 'Wait!'"
She keeps the number of the medical office handy.
The confusion about the park also becomes apparent when people come to the park at Battleground Avenue and New Garden Road believing it's a Civil War battle site.
And it becomes apparent when visitors come and go unaware that anything important happened there. They come to enjoy a pretty setting of grassy expanses and trees. Great for picnics.
Byrd welcomes those who enjoy the green space. But she says, "Since they're here, we might as well teach them some history."
Toward that goal, she has devised a ploy that can best be called "The Tease."
"In 1794, could you really drink a small ditto?" asks a question printed on a placard nailed to the center of a picnic table.
Byrd and her staff have posted 11 of these teasers on tables throughout the park. Among the questions: "Would you dare eat a love apple in 1780?"
"Where's the morning coffee in colonial Guilford County?"
"What was the British Army's breakfast before the Battle of Guilford Courthouse?"
That battle -- fought during the Revolutionary War, not the Civil -- is the answer to a question on another table: "What happened here on March 15, 1781?"
Byrd aims to arouse the curiousity of picnickers and entice them into the park's Colonial Heritage Center to find the answers.
The center chronicles life in Guilford County before, during and immediately after the Revolutionary War. It was during the war that the British and Americans spilled blood across 1,000 acres in what's now northwest Greensboro during the Guilford Courthouse clash.
Tannenbaum's 7.5 acres constitute part of the battlefield. The British occupied the Joseph Hoskins farmhouse, which stood within the park boundaries or just outside, before and after the battle. The battle gets its name from the county courthouse that stood in a now-vanished village that was about a mile east of the Hoskins farmhouse.
The placards went up only recently, Byrd says, but several visitors have taken the bait. While in the center, they've lingered to view an exhibit of artifacts from the 1976 American Bicentennial that a retired Guilford College history professor, Alex Stoesen, donated to the park.
The park staff's struggles to make clear that Tannenbaum is separate from two much larger neighbors -- Guilford Courthouse National Military Park and Greensboro Country Park.
"To many people, they are all 'Battlefield Park,'" Byrd says.
Each has a distinct mission: Tannenbaum conveys civilian life during the Colonial period; the national park, a block away, commemorates the Revolutionary War battle; and Country Park provides a scenic and spacious setting for jogging, walking, feeding the ducks and geese and other activities.
To draw attention to Tannenbaum, the staff must be innovative, even allowing occasional noise to break the park's normal peacefulness. That will happen today from 2-5 p.m. when the park hosts a free bluegrass concert.
It will feature the Southeast Express band, and amateur musicians are invited to bring an instrument and form impromptu groups. The last time the park staged such a concert, about 40 musicians divided up and played for hours.
Byrd hopes it will be "ditto" this time around.
And by the way, could you really drink "a small ditto" in 1794?
No, but menus in area taverns (listing prices in pounds, shillings and pence) read like you could:
"Strong Beer: per quart O.1.0.
"Small ditto: " " 0.0.6."

Contact Jim Schlosser at 373-7081 or <>
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