Located in Vale, NC just south of Hickory, sits the nation's largest collection of historic log structures. The village was started by Dr. Robert W. Hart III. Dr. Hart and his wife, Becky, were married in 1961 after his service to our country as a Second Lieutenant Marine fighter pilot.
Shortly after his graduation, the Lord led them to move from Ridge Spring, SC to Hickory, NC, where Dr. Bob started as a primary care physician at Frye and Catawba hospitals and later began Hart Family and Hart Industrial Practices. In August of 1967, Dr. Bob purchased the 200-acre property (that is now Hart Square) as a nature preserve. For several years, the land remained only a woodland reserve to deer, geese, and a few wood ducks.
In 1973, a patient told Bob about an old cabin on his property that needed saving. He suggested it would really look nice on his upper pond. Bob, who was never quick to turn down an adventure, chose to move the cabin, log by log, to that pond where it still stands today.
As you may have guessed, that is just the beginning of the story. Bob had a knack for taking things from good to great, and a cabin is good, but a cabin with a barn is even better. Time marched on, and so did Bob. He marched his way to 103 19th century log structures one by one with the help of several volunteers.
Among these 103 testaments of American history stand thirty homes, two churches, and several trade shops. Each cabin has been furnished by Becky Hart with artifacts from the 1800s that she and Bob collected over the past 60 years at flea markets and estate sales all over the Eastern United States.
Each cabin appears as if a pioneer just got up and walked out moments prior. All of the cabins were rescued from the Piedmont and Western regions of North Carolina.
In 2005 the Hart Square Foundation was founded to create an endowment to preserve Hart Square Village. In 2017, Dr. Bob and Becky Hart officially donated the village, collection, and property to Hart Square Foundation for the intended purpose of its historic preservation.
In 2017, the Hart Square Foundation and the Sigmon family of Newton, NC, alongside Dr. Hart, broke ground for the Sigmon Family Education Center. This building is now complete. It provides the modern infrastructure needed to share the village with you and your family on a more regular basis.
Dr. Bob passed away peacefully in a cabin by the lake on March 15, 2020. But his vision to share pioneer history with the next generation did not fade with him. At Hart Square Foundation, we continue to work every day to share the village and his memory. The village is shared through annual events, membership, craft classes, and field trip programming. We hope you visit Hart Square Village soon.