Rutherfordton celebrates its 225th in 2012

Dec. 29, 2012 @ 05:09 AM

RUTHERFORDTON — Celebrating the history of Rutherfordton with  a year-long 225th birthday party was the top story in Rutherfordton for 2012.

The town, committee members and a host of faithful volunteers threw the anniversary party, inviting the public to join in the celebration of heritage and culture on several different occasions.

The climax of the anniversary was in September with the premiere of the 30-minute UNC-TV documentary on Bechter Gold.

Hundreds filled the R-S Central High School Auditorium to view the history and work of Christopher Bechtler and his family, on the big screen. More than a million viewers saw it later when UNC-TV aired the documentary in October.

The anniversary was organized by a core of volunteers and committees. Chairing the anniversary were John and Frankie McWhorter. 

Of the year, the McWhorters said: 

“The year 2012 has been special for the Town of Rutherfordton and the County.  We have celebrated the 225th Anniversary of our town and county seat.  The entire year-long anniversary of monthly events celebrated our history and heritage.  Beginning with a birthday party on the courthouse lawn and concluding with a Christmas Parade with walking tours, festivals, fireworks, parades and concerts in between this was a busy year."

One special highlight of the year was the premiere of the UNC-TV produced documentary, “Gold Fever and the Bechtler Mint” at RS Central Auditorium where over 800 people attended. During the premiere a representative of Pforzheim, Germany, the home of Christopher Bechtler, presented a special gift to Rutherfordton from the Mayor of Pforzheim. 

“Such a huge undertaking as the year-long celebration was only possible because of the collaborative efforts of so many people, organizations, volunteers and donors," the McWhorters continued.

“A special thank you is due to 16 members of the Rutherfordton Anniversary Committee who faithfully met, planned and executed  for 16 months and who insured that all aspects of the Anniversary was first class. Thanks, too, to each sub-committee chair and member, to the generous corporate and individual donors who gave  almost $30,000 to cover expenses of the Anniversary year,  to The Daily Courier for media sponsorship, to other media  who covered the events, to Rutherfordton Town Council and each Town employee for their support , to numerous organizations and volunteers  --more than 300-- from across the county, region, state, and even a foreign country without whose assistance the celebrations could not have happened.”

The McWhorters concluded, “ As we have focused on the past, the  history and heritage  of Rutherfordton during 2012 anniversary year, for 2013 many of the same volunteers and interested citizens are focused on the Town's future as Rutherfordton continues the NC Rural Center STEP (Small Town Economic Prosperity) planning process as a way to move forward to the future.”

The town looks to 2013 as it focuses on NC STEP, which reaches across municipal lines, to all areas of the county.