Historic house

Dr. Kevin Cherry (right) discusses how Thomas Day’s workshop could be reinterpreted while Brett Sturm listens on.

Dr. Kevin Cherry, Deputy Secretary of the NC Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources, along with two of his colleagues, Brett Sturm, the Historic Restoration Specialist, and Deans Eatman, Legislative Liason, traveled from Raleigh to visit the Thomas Day House/Union Tavern (TDH/UT) in Milton on Friday, January 24, 2020.

During their visit, TDH/UT Board Members gave them a guided tour of the property to visually review and discuss the current condition of the Thomas Day House.

The TDH/UT suffered a catastrophic fire in 1989. The initial restoration efforts that took place back in the early 2000’s made the building usable to house the Milton Town Hall office, meeting space for the TDH/UT board meetings, educational tours and host special events.

However, the initial restoration left other items unfinished. These unfinished items were pointed out to Dr. Cherry and his team by TDH/UT board members where they saw first-hand that the top floor, the ante room, and the walls in the gift shop need to be restored.

Afterwards, a guided walking tour of Milton was conducted that included High Street Baptist Church, Milton Presbyterian Church, Milton Baptist Church and the Milton State Bank.

Once the TDH/UT becomes a state run facility, parking areas will be constructed to accommodate cars and tour buses thus increasing tourism and boosting the local economy. From a historical perspective, this area will be able to tell the very unique story of a free man of color, who owned and operated a successful furniture business, was regarded as an influential citizen in Milton, Caswell County and North Carolina.

Back in 1976, the TDH/UT was designated as a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service in Washington, DC. Because of this designation, Dr. Cherry mentioned how important it is for this building to become a North Carolina State Historic Site. His visit, and that of his colleagues, to Milton acknowledges how significant and important that this property become a North Carolina State Historic Site.

Currently, part of a $625,000 fund that has been earmarked for restoration services of the Thomas Day House/Union Tavern is still awaiting appropriation from the NC Legislature. These funds were in the proposed 2019 budget that was passed by the legislature, but vetoed by the Governor. Until the budget is passed, this funding will remain in limbo. The earmarked funding, once passed and disbursed, will complete the needed restoration of the TDH/UT. The 2020 short session commences April 28 and runs through mid-July.

All of the governing boards of Caswell County (County Commissioners, Yanceyville Town Council, and the Milton Town Council) have passed resolutions promoting the idea and plans of establishing a State Historic Site in Milton, NC. The Mayors of both Yanceyville and Milton have expressed support as well.

To express your support of the Thomas Day House/Union Tavern becoming a North Carolina State Historic Site, please address your communications to:

*The Honorable Phil Berger, 16 West Jones Street: Rm. 2007, Raleigh, NC 27601. Email: Phil.Berger@ncleg.net. Phone: (919) 733-5708

*The Honorable Graig Meyer, PO Box 867, Hillsborough, NC 27278. Email: Graig.Meyer@ncleg.net. Phone: (919) 715-3019.

*State of North Carolina

The Honorable Governor Roy Cooper, 20301 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-0309.