Carriage Tours of Olde Fayetteville, sponsored by the Cool Spring Downtown District, offers something special to guests on Saturday, July 13 — an exclusive inside tour of the historic St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church. The church was founded in 1873 by Rev. Joseph Caldwell Huske, rector at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, and its African American members, who constituted one-fourth of St. John’s congregation at the time. The church was built in 1896, thanks to the generosity of a wealthy New York philanthropist, Eva S. Cochran.
That connection to New York may help explain the “Resurrection Windows” in the sanctuary made by Tiffany of New York, the only Tiffany stained-glass church windows in Fayetteville. Another New York connection is the pipe organ, which was purchased from St. John’s. It was manufactured in New York in 1857 and is still in operation today. Heidi Bleazey from the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum will be on-site to give the back story on these and other features of this historical treasure in downtown Fayetteville.
Because St. Joseph’s is not typically open for public touring, this truly is a special opportunity. Also, on the way to and from the church, the horse and carriage will pass by many of the historic sites within the footprint of the original town founded as Cross Creek more than 250 years ago. A professional tour guide will relate the fascinating true stories of the people and events associated with these sites. The “limousine carriage” features comfortable, padded seats and a canopy overhead.
Because of the specialty tour of St. Joseph’s, the total experience will last an hour and a half. Departure times are 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and noon. Guests will meet their carriage at 222 Hay St., across from the Cameo Art House Theatre. Parking should not be a problem. The Woodpeckers baseball game scheduled for that night doesn’t start until 6 p.m., and parking in the nearby Franklin Street parking deck will be free.
Like all the carriage tours, this is an excellent way to entertain out-of-town visitors. People in Fayetteville have used the carriage tours to show off their city to friends and family for the past three years. A recent survey found that 40% of passengers are from out of town and, of that number, fully twothirds are from out of state.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.visitdowntownfayetteville.com or by calling the Cool Spring Downtown District office at 910-223-1089. The phone reservation system is recommended if there is any problem reserving online. Even with the added experience of the St. Joseph’s tour, tickets will remain at the same low price — $25 per adult, $20 with a military ID and $15 for children under 12. There are only three tours, and reservations are strongly advised.