Archive for November, 2011

Greensboro’s Troy-Bumpas Inn Decorated for the Holidays

November 30th, 2011 by Judy Horn

The Troy-Bumpas Inn is decorated for the holidays! Here are a few shots, but we invite you to visit and see for yourself. We welcome holiday travelers, whether you’re seeking a get-a-way from the holiday hustle and bustle, a home base for exploring all that Greensboro has to offer for the holidays, or visiting family or college students living nearby.

Greensboro Museum Tells How Sit-Ins Were Catalyst for Civil Rights Movement

November 27th, 2011 by Judy Horn

If you ever doubted that a small group of people can spark significant and meaningful change in the world, be sure to visit the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, NC. The museum, located at 134 S. Elm St. in the historic 1929 F.W. Woolworth building in downtown Greensboro, tells the story of how four college students at NC State A&T began the nonviolent protests of the 1960 Greensboro sit-ins. Their actions served as a catalyst in the U.S. civil rights movement.

Museum docents lead visitors through the chronologically arranged exhibits, explaining the conditions under which blacks lived in this country from its founding to the 1960s. The exhibits help build an understanding of the Injustices experienced by African Americans in times when segregation and “Jim Crow” laws permeated society. Through a variety of videos, interactive exhibits, and displays of artifacts, visitors are transported back to a dorm room at the nearby NC State A&T campus so see what went through the minds of four black college students — Ezell Blair, Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil and David Richmond – as they planned to sit at the “whites only” lunch counter of their local Woolworths. They intended to ask to be served food seated at the counter rather than having to pick it up as carryout at the end of the counter. This original lunch counter and stools where the four students began their protest on Feb. 1, 1960, are preserved at the museum. In the six months following the initial Greensboro sit-in, the non-violent sit-in movement expanded to other college campuses elsewhere in North Carolina and in Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, Maryland, Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, GeWoolworth Building (1929), 132 South Elm Street (corner of Elm Street & February One Place), Greensboro, North Carolinaorgia and Mississippi. As a result of the movement, Woolworth stores as well as others took down their “whites only” signs and and permitted all customers to eat at the counter.

At our recent visit to the museum, docent Anita Johnson did a fantastic job of leading our group through the exhibits. Her compassion for teaching about civil rights was evident, and she truly brought history to life.

Greensboro is filled with history from the Revolutionary War to modern times. I highly recommend a visit to the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. (It’s less than a mile from the Troy-Bumpas Inn.) The high-tech displays are especially well done and the docents are enthralling. I found the hour-long visit very moving, educational and extremely worthwhile. The museum is appropriate for all ages although more sensitive visitors should be aware that there are a few graphic images that help tell the story of some of the violence inflicted upon African Americans. For hours and admission fees, visit  


If you’ve already been to the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, share with me your thoughts about the museum! This museum is just one reason why Life in Greensboro is good!

Greensboro’s Troy-Bumpas Inn Opens its (New and Improved) Door

November 14th, 2011 by Judy Horn

Keeping a B&B in ship shape means there’s always maintenance work. I had recently just begun to repair and paint the interior side of the Troy-Bumpas Inn’s front door, when news came over NPR that Andy Rooney, of CBS’ 60 Minutes fame, had died. Highlights of his obituary included Rooney describing how he had convinced folks at 60 Minutes to allow him to write and read an essay each week. “What would you write about?” he was asked. Looking around the room, he said something like, “Well, anything. I could write about doors.” And indeed doors were the subject of his first essay.

Rooney probably started that essay with, “Did you ever notice that doors…” I thought about that as I studied the door I was sanding. I noticed that it was put together with wooden pegs, making it very likely the original door to the house. If so, the door is now 164 years old. The Rev. Sidney M. Bumpass, who had the house built, must have proudly walked through this door back in 1847.

I thought about all the other people who must have passed through this door in the ensuing years. The Rev. Bumpass only lived in the house a few years before typhoid killed him. His young wife Frances must have rushed out that door to be at her dying husband’s bedside. After his death, Frances Bumpass taught elementary school at the house to make ends meet. Countless children must have come and gone to school through this portal. The house also served as the Western Greensboro Union Headquarters at the end of the Civil War. Did General Jacob D. Cox come and go through this door as he commanded Union forces that occupied post-Civil War Greensboro? Ah, such scope for the imagination!

Would any of the past residents have resented the fact that I was refinishing this original door? I hoped not, but I had little alternative.  Flaking paint (as you can see in the photo) had come to the attention of the health inspector who said we had to fix it. I thought of all those Antiques Road Show episodes where they tell you you’ve cut the value of an antique in half by refinishing it, even if the old item looks worn and weathered. But when the health inspector tells you to do something to your facility, you do it.

Front door in need of repair
The door prior to repairs

As I sanded away the old finish, I realized the door had at one time been a tan color and originally was green. At least I wasn’t the first to repaint the door. I realized the original green echoed the tones in the tiles around the fireplace and decided it would be a perfect color to bring back to the door. Before I could apply the paint, I used wood putty fill in dozens of tiny holes that appeared to be from thumb tacks. Did Frances post notes to the students on the door?  It’s probably more likely those holes dated back to the 1980s when the house was divided into student apartments. Maybe the front door doubled as a bulletin board with “rent due” notices.

Yes. There’s a lot you can notice about a door. We invite you to visit the Troy-Bumpas Inn and see for yourself how nice the front door now looks. (To be honest, my photos don’t do it justice!) And the front door is only the beginning. We’re pretty proud of the whole inn and love sharing it and our historic city with others.

Interior front door, now repainted

A fresh coat of paint on the door