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Explore The Historic Side of Smithfield, NC

Explore The Historic Side of Smithfield, NC

Even the most modernized towns have some history of showcasing. And the case isn’t different with Smithfield, one of the historic towns in North Carolina. As to be expected, this town’s history is closely woven with the development of Johnston County. The town’s first settlement was called the Johnston County Court House, as it hosted this judicial building of the county. If you are a history buff looking to explore the town’s past, you have endless spots to visit. Here are just some of the top-rated areas that you should check first. Learn information about Smithfield, NC.

Visit the Johnston County Heritage Center

Drop by the Johnston County Heritage Center on the northwest corner of East Market Street and North 3rd Street. The center, housed in the circa 1913 building of the First Citizens Bank, is dedicated to preserving Johnston County’s history and culture through exhibits, publications, and programs. Discover facts about Enjoy Your Shopping as You Save in Smithfield, NC.

This center features an exhibit hall where one mainstay is an extensive collection of World War II artifacts. The Johnston County Heritage Center provides a reading room on its third floor for those who want to research the culture and history of the county and its people. In this center, you will also find a gift shop with displays of quilts and 1940s–50s memorabilia, books, T-shirts, and postcards.

Downtown Smithfield Historic District

Take a map of the Smithfield Walking Tour at the Johnston County Heritage Center, where the walking tour starts. This tour will take you around the Downtown Smithfield Historic District, officially designated as a US historic district.

The tour outlines the town’s history in its 19 stops in a walk near the scenic Neuse River that will take you to the Johnston County Courthouse. The vintage buildings comprising the Downtown Smithfield Historic District include superb renditions of the Art Deco and Classical Revival architectural styles.

These buildings were built from the 1890s to the 1930s, including the 1913 Carolina Telephone Building, the 1921 Austin Building, the 1935 Howel Theater, and the 1937 Municipal Building.

Ava Gardner Museum

Smithfield honors in a museum the achievements of 1940s–1950s movie star Ava Gardner, born in Grabtown, seven miles east of Smithfield. Whether you were a die-hard fan or just too young to know who Ava Gardner is, visiting the museum is an excellent chance to recall her life and learn about her contributions to the entertainment business.

The Ava Gardner Museum is on East Market Street next door to the Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield between North 3rd and 4th Streets. The grave of the famed actress is also nearby at the Sunset Memorial Gardens, some two miles northwest of the museum.

The museum displays a comprehensive collection of memorabilia from the illustrious Hollywood career of Ava Gardner. Her costumes, personal effects, photos, and movie scripts are among these items. Souvenir merchandise items are also available at the museum’s gift shop. This museum is an excellent spot for history lovers to visit. And the best part is that even the young will enjoy spending time here.