The Guilford College New Garden Heritage Community website (https://www.greensboro-nc.gov/Home/ShowDocument?id=33389) is an impressive piece of work.
Even those who know a lot about Greensboro and it’s history are almost certain to come across some facts they didn’t know about the Guilford College New Garden Road area.
For instance, the fact that George Washington spent the night at Guilford College, well not at the college but in the Guilford College community.
Or that Westridge Road originally served as a bypass for New Garden Road because it “became impassable in the mud season.”
The Heritage Community Program is a homegrown program invented by the Greensboro Planning Department and according to Senior Planner Mike Cowhig, it has no budget.
Cowhig said that the program was an outgrowth of working with the Warnersville Community which has a rich history as a community, but the buildings which would qualify it as a historic district are gone.
He said, “We came up with the idea as a way to recognize communities.”
Cowhig said, “Guilford College is the perfect example because it doesn’t qualify for historic designation because so much has been removed.”
He said that people in the Guilford College community were interested in recording the area’s rich history and had started working on the project when the city become involved. What the Heritage Community Program gave the community was a framework. Cowhig said that the city’s main contribution was compiling the information and creating the website.
Cowhig said that since the Heritage Community Program is not associated with any state or federal historic designation the district doesn’t have to be clearly defined. He said the Guilford College New Garden area had no distinct boundaries and what has been included is what the people in the area determined to have historic significance.
There are a lot of areas in Greensboro that could benefit from a Heritage Community Program according to Cowhig, and the main element needed to complete a project is community involvement. He said the city was currently working with the Cottage Grove community.
Hamtown and Bessemer were also areas Cowhig mentioned where he thought a Heritage Community project would work, but he said there were many more.