Friday, February 29, 2008

$1 million pledged to Tryon Palace

Philanthropist Mariam Cannon Hayes (of Cannon Mills fame) recently bequeathed $1 million to New Bern's historic Tryon Palace, site of the first permanent capitol of colonial North Carolina and home to the royal governor.

Hayes died in August at age 91.

"The Tryon Palace money will help build a $60 million historical education center at the facility, palace Director Kay Williams said," according to the Charlotte Observer.

"The gateway in the new building will be named for Hayes' parents, textile magnate Charles A. Cannon and his wife, Ruth, and will feature information about the family's philanthropy. In the 1930s and 1940s, Ruth Cannon helped start the reconstruction of the palace, which had burned in 1798.

"Williams had discussed a donation with Hayes for several years. Construction on the education center will begin in June, and it should open in April 2010 in time for New Bern's tricentennial.

" 'She agreed the project was valuable and wanted to do something to honor her parents' involvement,' Williams said. 'In a way ... (the bequest) is a fitting memorial to her as well. It's a gift to history in North Carolina, her parents and a gift for education.' ..."

Hayes also pledged $3.5 million to UNC-Charlotte, $1million each to Davidson College and Queens University, $500,000 to the Blowing Rock Community Center and $600,000 for the Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital at Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast in Concord. She also bequeathed, according to the Observer, $200,000 for a scholarship fund at Cannon School, an independent school in Concord. She forgave the debt on the 2005 sale of a Beechcraft Baron airplane to her nephew, William Cannon Jr.

"And she left her Blowing Rock property, worth an estimated $2.2 million, to the Appalachian State University Foundation.

"She gave her Concord home to the Cannon Foundation. The house, valued at $413,170 according to her estate inventory, was built in 1907 and will serve as the foundation's new home, Executive Director Frank Davis said."

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