“Gazing into the Past” Offers Rare Look at Night Sky


Years ago, farmers used the phases of the moon as a calendar to help them prepare and harvest their crops. Today, the sky still shines as bright as it did over 200 years ago at the House in the Horseshoe State Historic Site. Come and learn more about what the night sky can tell us at “Gazing into the Past” on Sept. 20, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. This free, family friendly event is co-hosted by Morehead Planetarium.

Staff from Morehead Planetarium will be leading the stargazing session. The night promises to bring entertainment for all ages and a few surprises. Morehead staff will bring all telescopes for viewing stars and constellations and will be using a green laser to conduct a sky tour as well. The general public is welcome to bring their own telescopes, but due to the nature of the event they should be prepared to let other visitors use them. All activities are weather permitting and may change without notice.

Admission and parking are free. Donations are welcome to support future programming at the site. Parking will be located next to the site office. Visitors should expect to walk distances in the dark. Flashlights are welcome, but their use should be limited in the stargazing area.

The circa 1770 Alston house will also be open for tours. This event offers a rare chance to see the home dimly lit by candlelight, as it may have been during the American Revolution.

Located at 288 Alston House Rd., Sanford, House in the Horseshoe is located16 miles west of Sanford off NC 42 and 10 miles north of Carthage on the Carbonton-Carthage Road. The house was built in 1772 by Philp Alston. During the American Revolution Alston proved a fiery leader for the Whig cause.

In 1781 the Alston house was the site of militia skirmish between the owner, Whig Col. Philip Alston, and Loyalist Col. David Fanning. The house still bears some the scars from this engagement. From 1798 to 1814 the House in the Horseshoe, under the name Retreat, was home to another Patriot leader and four-time North Carolina governor, Benjamin Williams.

House in the Horseshoe is part of the Division of State Historic Sites within the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

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