For years, guides at the Fort Dobbs historic site in Statesville have tried to tell the fort's story without an actual fort. This weekend, a replica of the 18th century structure opens to the public, after three years of construction and an even longer campaign of preservation and fundraising.
Fort Dobbs is the only French and Indian War site managed by the state Department of Cultural and Natural Resources. The original fort was completed during the war in 1756. It housed British soldiers, gave settlers a place of refuge and was a symbol of colonial authority. It saw one battle, in 1760, when Cherokees retaliated over British killings of their people.
The reconstructed three-story, 8,000-square-foot timber block house cost about $3 million, including donated materials, says site manager Scott Douglas.
"We actually now have a structure that people can walk through, can get a sense of what the building would've felt like, smelled like at different times of year," Douglas says. "We have it fully stocked with reproduction furniture and uniforms and weapons. And so it's a really good gigantic classroom.
The reopening events Saturday and Sunday include tours, historical reenactors and weapons and cooking demonstrations.