The Sandhills Women’s Exchange (SWE) will proudly be celebrating its 95th year of operation when it re-opens its doors on September 6th. Starting as a way for local women to exchange home-made goods, it now serves as a platform for local artisans and crafters who sell a variety of needle works, pottery, jewelry, and even amazing long-leaf pine needle baskets.
The Exchange has occupied the cabin since 1923 in Pinehurst. What makes this cabin special is that it was built in 1810 and moved to its current location by the founder of Pinehurst.
“When you walk through the front door, you are in the original 1810 cabin that has been relocated to the site by the founder of Pinehurst, James W. Tufts,” said Kathleen Causey.
The cabin consists of three main parts: the museum, the exchange, and the restaurant. The museum allows guests a chance to envision life more than 200 years ago. The exchange is set up for the hand-made items for purchase, and the restaurant serves lunch. Other than the Manager and Cook, the restaurant is completely run by volunteers.
The cabin is protected by the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina. Today, the SWE organization uses its funding to update and repair the cabin to keep our history alive.
“[It’s to] remember what life was like 200 years ago…,” Causey said. “Who built this country and how they had to be brave enough to get in a wagon. [They had to] try to set up a home and survive in a hostel and unknown environment before plumbing [and] electricity.”
Causey’s own grandmother used to make quilts and rag rugs and exchange them for necessities for her family.
Kathleen Causey joined the Sandhills Women’s Exchange after reading several articles about the cabin and the possibility of closing its doors.
“It almost closed two years ago. The women were tired of always having to raise funds [for it],” she said.
After getting involved, she was invited to be Vice President of the Board of the SWE. She hoped to use her experience as a housing manager to write grants for the cabin.
Her plan is to hire an architectural engineer to determine what exactly needs to be done to keep the cabin in use.
“How am I going to get that building to last another 200 years?… I need an expert to tell me and have it done right,” Causey said.
The SWE has sent a letter to Barnwood Builders from HGTV in hopes of receiving their expert knowledge with the cabin’s unique architecture.
Once upgrades are made and proper funding is found for this historical site, the cabin’s funds can be used to give back to the community – such as in the form of scholarships, or supporting the homeless.
The SWE plans on hosting Trunk Parties to bring their merchandise to customer’s homes.
“We don’t have to sell just in our building,” Causey said. We’d love to be included in your afternoon ‘Wine & Cheese’ or Baby Shower parties.
Causey’s main goal is to ensure that the cabin remains funded through grants and locals for years to come.
“It’s important for future generations to know… this is part of our history…,” she said. “The cabin is a memory for so many people… We want to make it a memory for a long, long time… When you walk into the cabin, there’s just something about it. You want to help it.”
One of the major financial support of the cabin comes from being a member. The $25 membership fee goes a long way to pay for our electricity and other operating expenses. When you make a purchase from the Exchange, you are not only supporting our cabin, but the fact that the artisans and crafters are mainly right here in Moore County.
Both men and women are welcome to join and become a volunteer! The SWE provides an environment of “no pressure” volunteering, and we have ‘substitutes’ if you can’t make your shift. The cabin is closed during the summer and most winter months, giving moms and grandmas the perfect opportunity to join while still providing time with their children during summer and winter breaks. Restaurant volunteers only work from 11:00AM – 2:00PM, and there are two shifts for the sales desk 10-12:30; 12:30 – 3:00.
“It’s the most stressless volunteer work you can do…,” Causey said. “[Moms/Grandmas can] get out of the house [and] get back in time for the school bus.”
The SWE will be hosting a fundraiser for the cabin on Thursday, September 21st at 10:30AM. This event included lunch and a lecture by Linda Guerra who “designs and teaches the fine art of basket weaving using pine needles!” Tickets cost $25 each. Be sure to look for their monthly fundraiser advertised locally.
The SWE cabin is located at 15 Azalea Road in Pinehurst. The cabin will be open from September 6th – December 20th and from February 2nd – May 26, 2018. Hours are from 10:00AM – 3:00PM. Be sure to visit their website at SandhillsWE.org.
If you would like to be a consigner, volunteer, or join the SWE, contact Manager Karen Lehto at (910) 295-4677.
“We are there for each other to build each other up,” Causey said. “You meet people from everywhere. It’s just a great way to get involved in the community.”