|Arrowhead Monument in Old Fort, NC|
Further east along Interstate 40 we came to the town of Valdese, NC. This is a beautifully developed and maintained small town. The
|Downtown mural depicting Waldensian origins|
The Waldensians trace their beginnings as a religious group to the 1170's in Lyon, France. There Peter Waldo, a wealthy merchant, began to practice the radical teachings of Jesus. He sold his
|Left side depicts the Italian Alps; the right side: Burke Co.|
The Waldensian insistence on the above result in them being perceived as a threat to the Roman Catholic Church. As a result they suffered persecution, often resulting in the loss of property and martyrdom at the hands of the church. Periods of peace alternated with periods of persecution. When the reformation began in the 1500's the Waldensians joined the movement, eventually becoming an Italian branch of the
|sumajhuarmi makes the find: Peter Waldo's Legacy|
By the time these Waldensians left the Cottian region of the Italian Alps to settle in rural Burke County they had lived in peace and virtually religious freedom for some time. Nonetheless, their move to a rural section of Burke County brought many things to the county. In addition to many French names, these French speaking Italian Waldensians brought their agrarian customs and traditions. Most Wadensians became participants in the Presbyterian Church. Today the town of Valdese, NC is a testament to their resolve.
We recently stopped into the town of Valdese to see the Waldensian Heritage Museum. I highly recommend it. For only $2 per person you can tour a nice exhibit of Waldensian artifacts and history. You can visit the Trail of Faith -- a section of land where Waldensian buildings have been moved for preservation or where replicas have been assembled. If you come during the summer months you might want to see the outdoor drama, From This Day Forward, depicting the heritage of the North Carolina Waldensian community.
While in the town we made sure to find several geocaches. While most caches were not of a Waldensian theme, one was. In fact, it was my favorite. We stopped at a small urban park which included a small garden with fountain, monuments and a giant wall mural depicting the Waldensian Italian Alps homeland on the left side and the Waldensian Burke County, NC foothill landscape on the right. Each part of the replica depicted key buildings and communities from Waldensian history. We stopped to get photos and then tracked to the GZ. After a few moments we had the cache in hand, signed the log and replaced the cache as we had found it. Peter Waldo's Legacy (GC15H72) and the opportunity to see the mural is worth the time.