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Every summer the story of the Waldenses is brought to life in the outdoor drama From This Day Forward, which is performed by the Old Colony Players in Valdese.

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The Waldensian Heritage Museum preserves and interprets the history of Waldensian settlement in the foothills of North Carolina. The Waldensian Church of Italy dates back to at least the 12th century and its followers suffered severe persecution for centuries. In the late nineteenth century, population pressures forced many Waldenses to leave their homeland in the Cottian Alps of northern Italy. A group of twenty-nine journeyed to North Carolina and founded the town of Valdese in 1893, preparing the way for hundreds more Waldensian settlers.

The Waldensian Heritage Museum features many artifacts of early settler life including photographs, clothing, crafts, toys, household items, church furnishings, farm implements, carpentry tools, books, wine making equipment, and a quilt depicting scenes of Waldensian history.

Across the street from the museum is the historic Waldensian Presbyterian Church, completed in 1899. The Romanesque style church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Prior to building the church, the Waldensian congregation decided to unite with the Presbyterian Church of the United States, finding great similarities in creed and governance. One notable tradition that survived the journey to the New World was the practice of having children memorize a chapter of the Bible-centuries of persecution had instilled a fear of losing access to written scripture.

Every summer the story of the Waldenses is brought to life in the outdoor drama From This Day Forward, which is performed by the Old Colony Players in Valdese.

 

BRNHA-PMSshieldtinyThe Blue Ridge Heritage Trail is a program of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership.

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Waldensian Heritage Museum
208 Rodoret Street South
P.O. Box 111
Valdese, NC 28690
828-874-1111
waldensianheritagemuseum.org

Waldensian Presbyterian Church
109 Main Street East
Valdese, NC 28690
828-874-2531
waldensianpresbyterian.org (Museum Info)

Valdese Tourism
P.O. Box 339
Valdese, NC 28690
828-879-2126
888-VALDESE
townofvaldese.com (Historic Attractions)