Merit Badge in Restoration? Eagle Scout saves historic 1860 building in Asheboro NC

A 17-year-old junior at Asheboro High School, Spencer Patton, has restored the 1860s-era Marmaduke Swaim Robins Law Office in Asheboro, North Carolina.

Not only did his work earn him his Eagle Scout badge, but he won the Robert McGlohon Award for the Most Outstanding Scout in the Uwharrie District, which covers Boy Scout troops in several counties.

The Marmaduke Swaim Robins Law Office, a two-room wooden building built around 1860, is the last surviving building on the nineteenth century courthouse square.

Marmaduke Swaim Robins purchased the office lot on August 21, 1874. Mr. Robins was quite active during the Civil War years, as private secretary to Gov. Vance, as treasurer of the State Literary Fund (comparable to Commissioner of Education), as a captain in the Home Guard and as Editor of a newspaper, The Raleigh Conservative. Mr. Robins founded and edited the Randolph Regulator newspaper in Asheboro in 1876. The newspaper’s name later changed to the Courier and is still published today as the Courier Tribune.

Mr. Robins died in 1905 and his son Henry Moring Robins used the law office as his office to practice law. Mr. Henry Robins served as Mayor of Asheboro from 1907 to 1909 and the law office building was used for town meetings. The building was extensively altered and gutted around 1910.

The Randolph County Bar Association began an effort to preserve and restore the law office building around 1990. At some point in the law office buildings history it was moved 40 feet from its original location on Main Street. The building was moved back to its original site and painted and restored. It sits on the property owned by the City of Asheboro.

Working with the help and approval of the City of Asheboro and the Randolph County Historical Society, Spencer replaced the windows of the law office, many of which had been broken out. He also supervised the new paint job.

Jimmy Cagle (with the city) and I replaced 72 panes,” Spencer said. “We spent about four hours painting with several scouts of Troop 572.

Spencer also raised nearly $1,000 for the project, much of it coming from local lawyers and businesses, spending some $750 for lead abatement and plexiglas over the existing windows. What was left over was donated to the city.

Note: in historic painting, law office is on left.

See full article by Larry Penkava in the Courier-Tribune.

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