State Fairgrounds Gets Permanent Piece of Moore
A permanent part of Moore County history now graces the N.C. State Fairgrounds.
The state’s Forest Service earlier this month installed the cabin of an old fire watch tower where Cornelia Harrison McCrimmon, for 42 years, watched the wilderness from 99 feet above Southern Pines.
The cabin was installed earlier this month overlooking the lake at the fairgrounds. One entrance is at ground level, and another is elevated 10 feet high, to give people a sense of the height it once sat at.
Brian Hanes, a spokesman for the Forest Service, said the cabin hosts display information inside and a picture of McCrimmon in the cabin doing her work. The Service intends to add more features for future state fairs.
“A lot of people have come and checked it out this year,” he said.
The exhibit was led in part by Samuel Hicks, McCrimmon’s grandson, who wanted a permanent tribute to her service in Moore County and the state. He began working on the effort four years ago to honor his grandmother, who died in 2009.
“The tower was going to be dedicated to her at Jordan Lake but the agriculture commissioner, Steve Troxler, stated that he wanted to move the tower to the North Carolina State Fairgrounds, which I have absolutely no problem with,” Hicks said, saying he preferred to have a permanent marker noting his grandmother’s service.
“She spent half of her lifetime inside the tower, and then retired in 1996.”
McCrimmon climbed 97 steps to get to work watching for wisps of smoke in southern Moore County.
She hadn’t planned on a long career. She was asked to take over for a couple of weeks after her predecessor, a preacher, complained about having to spend too much time in the tower and missing prayer meetings.
Forestry service ran in the McCrimmon family. Her husband, Luke McCrimmon, was assistant forest ranger in Moore County. Her father-in-law, William “Gent” McCrimmon, was the first Forest Service equipment operator in the county. Several other family members served chasing down smoke sightings.
Hicks is pleased that the cabin has finally found a home four years after his effort began.
“I just had to get a lot of people involved,” he said.
Contact John Nagy at (910) 693-2507 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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