The Archie K. Davis Award, named for the late banker, businessman and scholar, is awarded by the Wachovia Historical Society to honor an individual who has made significant contributions to regional and cultural history.
The first Davis Award was presented to Mrs. Louise Kapp. Other past recipients have included the late Chester S. Davis, the late James A. Gray, and the late Frank Horton. The fifth Davis Award was presented last fall to Dr. C. Daniel Crews, archivist of the Moravian Church, Southern Province.
Tonight we are privileged to present the sixth Archie K. Davis award.
A little more than 50 years ago, when the idea of preserving the Moravian town of Salem first took hold and sprang full blown into the creation of Old Salem, Inc., the initial thrust was on preserving and restoring the sturdy Germanic buildings central to the town’s existence.
But within 20 years, it became clear that restoring and interpreting the landscape was just as critical.
Anyone fortunate enough to visit or live in Salem today can attest to the delight of walking the tree-lined streets and wandering by or through the carefully laid-out and well-tended gardens.
What is not so obvious is the research and planning that went into the historically accurate restoration of these gardens, soon to be enhanced by the addition of the original gardens behind the Single Brothers’ House.
Much of the effort to restore Salem’s natural environment has been led by the person to whom we will present the Davis Award tonight.
When the first efforts were begun by Old Salem in the 1970s to restore the landscape of Salem, Flora Ann Bynum chaired the landscape restoration committee. She set up an office in her own home, and as a volunteer, began the research that led her to become a recognized authority on Moravian horticulture and an expert on historical plants and gardens.
She wrote the first garden guide for Old Salem and has authored numerous articles for publication since then.
But her impact has been felt regionally as well as in Salem. In 1979 she helped organize the first conference on restoring southern gardens and landscapes.
In 1982 she helped found the Southern Garden History Society and served as its secretary-treasurer for many years.
A long-time resident of Salem, her own garden on South Main Street is a joy to all who pass by.
And I have it on good authority that whenever someone calls the Moravian Archives and asks a question about horticulture, the caller is referred to Flora Ann Bynum, of course.
Among her many activities, Flora Ann served as a director of the Wachovia Historical Society from 1972 to 1987 and was on the board again in the mid-1990s.
Embodying the mission of the Wachovia Historical Society and the criteria for this award, Flora Ann Lee Bynum has indeed aspired successfully to “preserve and disseminate” our history, and we are happy tonight to present to her the sixth Archie K. Davis Award as a token of our esteem and appreciation.