ROADTRIP MONDAY: Downtown Morganton

by D. Lanier Shook  April 23, 2013

Morganton, North Carolina is about an hour east of Asheville and I decided to find out if it was worth the drive. Let me assure you it is and now let me show you why.

Morganton is a surprisingly big city, offering residents and visitors a huge variety of shopping, ranging from nationally known retailers to local art galleries. But as I strolled through downtown the word that kept coming to mind was “attractive.”

It’s an attractive city because it’s been there along time. There’s alot of history in Morganton. The courthouse dates from the Jackson administration and is a great example of architecture you can read more about by clicking here.

It’s an attractive city because the railroad and mills brought prosperity to this area of North Carolina in the past century. Alot of it’s gone, but some is still there. There’s still a big carbon plant on the west end of Morganton and that part of town is known as Carbon City.

It’s an attactive city because it’s citizens take care of it. They’ve taken pride in their streets, in thier buildings, and in thier businesses. And I’ve got photos to prove it.


A look down West Union Street from the corner of West Union and North King.


This is the Morganton Trading Station, a mill renovated into some incredible living and office space with architectural details that are really cool.

For more information about Morganton Trading Station click here to visit their website.


This is a mural across from the Morganton Trading Company. It’s titled Ode to a Mimosa Tree and was completed in 2004 by Rhea Ormond.


This is one of many eclectic sheet metal benches you’ll find around downtown Morganton.


The Burke County office building shows some of the architectural details that make this town so fascinating to visit. Look at that roof.


This is the studio of John S. Payne, in the former Alva Theater. Mr. Payne has done an incredible job of preserving the building’s grandeur.

Click here to visit Mr. Payne’s website and click here to visit Cinema Treasures’ page about the Alva Theater.


Located across north Sterling Street from Mr. Payne’s Studio, this building’s classic architecture was too compelling not to photograph.


A great view of North Sterling Street showing the variety of architecture and the great condition downtown is in.


This is an amazing sculpture on North Sterling Street by Grace Cathey, an artist from Waynesville. It’s titled Mimosa Kaleidoscope and each element of the sculpture represents something about Morganton. A wonderful plaque sits to the left of the sculpture explaining it all.

Click here to visit Grace’s website.


This Kala Gallery on the corner of West Union and North Sterling.

For more information about the Kala Gallery click here to read my Lifestyles article about it.


This is a block of buildings across from the old Burke County Courthouse. If you look hard you can see Sam Rayburn’s old law office.


This is the patio dining area for Root and Vine Restaurant, located on the corner of West Union and North King Streets.

For more information about Root and Vine, click here to visit their website.


This is a lovely alleyway leading from West Union back to parking behind the block.


These law offices just below the courthouse are a great demonstration of the care that downtown Morganton has received.


I’ve got to throw in another photo of the old Burke County Courthouse, built in 1830. That’s the statue of Sam Rayburn out front. This is an incredible example of pre-Civil War architecture.

To see more photos of the courthouse click here to read my Road Trip article all about it.

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6 responses to “ROADTRIP MONDAY: Downtown Morganton

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  2. Love Love Love the photos of downtown Morganton …thanks so much for posting…have lived here all my life and I never get tired of seeing photos of our sweet little town…again Thanks..Rhonda Morganton nc

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