Combine them all and what do you have? HEARTS! See below for details on what each letter means for our mission...
Travel Through Time Like Never Before
There's nothing like immersing yourself in the past to see new perspectives. HEARTS Park follows stories and history connected to this land from prehistory to the present through place-based experiences. These experiences explore how nature, history, culture, and the built environment work together to provide concrete context to better understand the deep history of the site, through exploring thousands of connections this site has to our region. In addition to the rich natural history of the land, the park highlights community connections to the people of the land from the first settlers in 10,000 BC through the modern 21st century.
Reconnect with Nature on an Ecological Island
The landscape surrounding the historic sites presents a pristine glimpse into the ecology of the wetlands and woodlands for the Piedmont region. A sanctuary from the surrounding development, this land is home to many native and protected species.
At each HEARTS event, a native plant is featured, sharing lore and historic uses. In addition, volunteer opportunities for stewardship, preservation, and conservation are available for individuals and groups of all ages.
You Can’t Have HEARTS Without the Arts!
HEARTS events embrace the arts to share the stories of the land and all the people the land has touched over the past 10,000 years. Through the arts, historic and ecological narratives are explored in unique and creative ways through music, dance, visual arts, poetry, and site-specific installations. Every genre of art can be found within a HEARTS event.
“Cedar Groove,” featuring live music.
Poetry and the written word are explored through connections to historic writers and poets encompassing the 18th-21st centuries.
Performing arts are alive through infusing dance and dramatic performances, featuring historic reenactments to modern artistic interpretations.
Connections Through Collections
The Reunion project was created out of the hope to collect and share stories of all people connected to the site throughout time. This initial wish has evolved into a growing web of collected artifacts, documents, and stories of individuals connected to this site spanning history through the 21st century. The collection of documentation and stories of the lives of formerly enslaved people and indigenous people is a key component of the HEARTS mission. For more information, visit the Reunion Project page.
Where Trails Intersect, People Come Together
We are conveniently located adjacent to the McDowell Greenway, which is planned to continue north as part of the Carolina Thread Trail. We hope to grow and expand our trails in the future offering interpretative signage detailing the local history, native flora and fauna, and historic details of the remaining outbuildings and ruins, as well as structures that no longer remain.
State’s Oldest Store, New Again
The 1779 Hugh Torance House and Store, known as the oldest standing store in North Carolina is the hub for all HEARTS events and offerings. Please visit the Events Page to learn more about Store hours and programs. We welcome you for a visit to take a tour and enjoy refreshments, sundries, and the wares of local artisans.
Preservation and Conservation
We strive for continued historic preservation and ecological conservation on this site and in the surrounding region. Important historic sites are regularly being lost to development in our region, erasing the character of what makes our towns and communities unique.
Through working with planners and developers and through the support of HEARTS Circle members, we will continue to advocate for the preservation of our important community sites. We believe historic places can be preserved and add value to a thoughtful development plan, increasing historic preservation through reuse, rehabilitation, as well as community involvement to prevent gentrification. If you know of a historic site in jeopardy within the Lake Norman region, please connect with us.