Planning Board Okays Plan for Visitor Center on South Main By Duncan McInnes Sports Editor As Appeared in the Kernersville News 7/15/2021 “The Kernersville Planning Board returned to in person monthly meetings at the Kernersville Municipal Council Chambers on Monday. The previous month’s meeting, the first live, in person meeting in a long time, was…
A History of Civic Engagement
In 1873, civic pride and visionary thinking brought townspeople together as they raised over $10,000 to build a four-mile section of the Northwestern North Carolina Rail Line, ensuring that Kernersville would be a stop between Greensboro and Salem.
Not content to be passed by, citizens saw the prosperity that the railroad would bring and worked toward a common purpose, even laying some of the track with their own hands.
Right: People waiting at the train depot, in Kernersville, North Carolina, ca. 1900. Courtesy Old Salem Library/Digital Forsyth.
This history of civic pride continued in 1970, when twenty-six families, including Kerner / Körner descendants, pooled their resources to save Körner’s Folly from demolition. They were successful in listing the unique home on the National Register of Historic Places, ensuring that Kernersville’s landmark home would be saved for future generations.
By rescuing this remarkable building, the community underscored the historical value of Körner’s Folly, and since then, has supported the restoration and preservation of this incredible example of American ingenuity and Victorian design.
The Körner’s Folly Foundation was formed in 1993 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of the house for the education and enjoyment of the public. Today, 22 rooms and thousands of items in our collection are on view, including Jule Körner’s original paintings and furnishing designs.
Making Visitors Feel Welcome
More than just a beautiful place to visit, Körner’s Folly helps citizens connect with history and with each other through educational programs and community events.
Over the last decade, Körner’s Folly has tripled the number of visitors we welcome each year; with over 14,000 visitors in 2019. Körner’s Folly is growing exponentially, and seeking to create a new space for programs, events, and field trips for the Kernersville community and beyond.
In 2018, a study of the needs of our visitors, partner organizations, and local resources determined that expanded facilities and increased accessibility will greatly enhance the Körner’s Folly experience. A new Visitors Center will allow us to present even more rich and diverse programming to larger audiences while offering meeting and event space to other local nonprofits and citizens alike.
A Destination for Kernersville
In addition to serving as a cornerstone for the Town’s history, Körner’s Folly offers citizens a sense of identity, and acts as a springboard for the Town’s economic development by attracting tourism and keeping our community culturally vibrant. The new Visitors Center will be located right next door to historic Körner’s Folly. Situated only ½ mile from the downtown historic district, and easily accessible from Business 40, it will serve as a tourism asset to the area.
A partnership between the Town of Kernersville and the Körner’s Folly Foundation was created for the new Visitors Center because Town leaders understand the significant value it brings to the entire community. Thriving tourism powers a thriving economy.
When out-of-town visitors select an attraction such as Körner’s Folly as a destination, they spend hundreds of dollars in our Town on dining, shopping, and other cultural and historical destinations, resulting in new customers for local businesses and increased tax revenue. In 2018 alone, Forsyth County residents saved $192 per person in taxes that were directly attributed to tourism spending.
Be A Part of History - Make Your Gift Today!
Become part of a new generation of history-makers with a contribution to the Körner’s Folly campaign to build a new Visitors Center. With your help, we will break ground on this project in the fall of 2021. Your gift is tax-deductible, and is secure and easy to complete below.