Harmony Halldoesn’t deservethis squabbling

Harmony Hall is weeping.

Sure, you can’t see it. There are no visible tears and there is no audible sobbing. But the Revolutionary War-era home built by Col. James Richardson in about 1760 is crying just as sure as the boots of British Gen. Charles Cornwallis once trod across the grounds of the iconic plantation home.

For the past several years, Harmony Hall, by far the most historic site in Bladen County, has had perhaps its best group of folks who genuinely care about the well-being of not only the home itself, but of the grounds and the other buildings that have been brought to the site.

In a nutshell, it is this group that rescued Harmony Hall from ruin, toward which it was well on its way before the most recent membership and board of directors stepped in with a vengeance.

The most recent positive step was the separation of the Harmony Hall Committee from the Bladen County Historical Society, which was necessary to have any chance of moving forward.

But that forward progress of the group was delivered a severe blow last month when claims of mismanagement and unilateral decisions were cast between one faction of the board, led by Maureen Bell and Harry LaRock, against another. The result was the resignation of the board’s top officials — including President Seth Lewis, Field Marshal Bobby Lewis, Secretary Sunday Allen and Treasurer Tony Parnell.

The entire incident smells of a nit-picky personal agenda that has little to do with the betterment of Harmony Hall.

Claims by Bell and LaRock against how the board operated, as well as how decisions were being made hold little water with us because, quite frankly, they never once made their objections known publicly or approached any media member at any of the events held at Harmony Hall, where we have had staff in attendance often.

We will admit, along with Seth Lewis, that research, planning and decisions — such as the roof replacement and renaming of the Cape Fear Bridge at Tar Heel — were being done often without the full knowledge or OK of the board. And that’s an area that should have been easy to rectify.

But to even insinuate that anything those who have resigned did with regards to Harmony Hall was anything but positive is nothing short of irresponsible and vindictive. Every activity and event, every improvement and every decision made at the plantation has brought more people, more attention and more life to a site that was previously allowed to wither away.

We feel sure there are brighter days ahead for Harmony Hall, and we hope it is soon. But right now, the matriarch of Bladen County’s historic sites is boo-hooing big ol’ tears.



“Sometimes crying is the only way yours eyes speak when your mouth can’t explain how broken your heart is.”

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