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HPU Family Guide: Architectural Walking Tour Around HP

August 13, 2018

Looking for something fun to do during move-in-weekend that won’t break the bank? We highly recommend exploring the new city you (or your student) will call home. Everyone knows High Point for our furniture scene, but one aspect that is often overlooked is the architectural beauty that our great city has to offer!

Today’s post we are featuring some of the buildings we believe make for an ideal walking tour around High Point to take in some of the architectural attractions.  And for those of you who might say: “When I ask for directions, please don’t use words like East”, at the bottom we have included step by step instructions!

First stop is at the John Coltrane Statue. Located on the corner of South Hamilton Street & Commerce Avenue.  You can park on either street and if you happen to be there on the weekend, you can also park in the City Hall lot, adjacent to the statue.

Many people didn’t know that the legendary jazz musician John Coltrane is from High Point, NC. Unveiled in 2006 in honor of his 80th birthday, this 8-foot tall bronze statue commemorates the incredible and timeless jazz musician. The sculpture was done by Thomas J. Warren, a sculptor from Oregon and was featured on both CNN and Good Morning America!!

Next on our list is the Mendenhall Transportation Terminal, which lies in front of the IHFC building, directly across the street from the John Coltrain statue. The IHFC building is a furniture heaven during HP Market, home to hundreds of trade-only showrooms. The glass transportation station out front has to keep up with the thousands of people at HP Market and therefore, looks more like an airport than a bus center!  Editors Note: while impressive to view – this transportation center is used only during the twice a year High Point Furniture market.  Other times of the year you will find this home to festivals and other community events like High Point Cycling Classic, High Fest and the Carolina Brew Fest.

Located just across the street from everything you have seen so far, is the Christopher Guy showroom. You don’t want to miss out on this exquisite building! This modern and gorgeous piece of architecture was built to celebrate the brand’s tenth anniversary. The building’s cutting-edge design is complete with reflection pools in front and large spans of glass windows.

And just across the street you will see the massive sweeping rooflines of Showplace, home to more trade-only showrooms.

Now it’s time to take a walk.  Head West (we know, we said no directions)  on Commerce Avenue, cross Main Street and stop on the corner of Commerce and Elm – take a look to your right.

The Natuzzi building is a staple of High Point architecture. Located at 130 W Commerce Ave, in High Point, this showroom is designed to look like half of a container ship, how cool is that! The design is complete with porthole, gangway and reflection ponds – adding to the atmosphere and authenticity of this design.  Natuzzi is a perfect example of the creativity that dwells within High Point.

Now turn right onto Elm Street and head up the hill.  As you walk, look left and see the group of historic buildings.  Our friends over at Zoe Bios Creative have their showroom housed in what was once High Point Tile & Marble, a landmark building in High Point and just across the street from the very first Market building (now BoBo Intriguing Objects). On the Zoe Bios building you will see a variety of tiles displayed on the exterior as well as the floor of the building (trust us, it’s worth a peek in the windows).

When you get to High Avenue (just before the bridge over the railroad tracks) turn right again.  Up ahead on your left you will see the historic train depot located at 100 W High Ave. Built in 1907, the train station has been restored and is now home to the High Point Amtrak. Thanks to citizens’ support, the station was restored in the early 2000s to ensure it kept it’s Southern historic charm. This beautiful building is open to the public so step inside and enjoy its beauty. Created in a Richardson Romanesque architectural style it has a rusticated ashlar base and tiled hip roof. To learn more about the station and its history visit here.

Fun fact: High Point gets its name from the train tracks. The intersection of the North Carolina Railroad and Main street is the highest point on the railroad that stretched between Goldsboro and Charlotte, thus inspiring the name of our city!

Upon leaving the train station be sure to take a look at The Pit across the street.  The Pit is High Point’s very own street art gallery (and recently featured in our 10 Most Instagramable Spots in High Point.

Keep heading up High Street, turn right onto Main Street and walk along the right side admiring some of the original buildings to downtown.  Of particular interest is the Radio Building.  The eight-story building has been at the heart of the town’s business activity since 1923. Art Deco appointments will thrill anyone interested in the best of architectural design. Features include a spiral marble staircase and the original vault with its 16-inch thick door weighing 24 tons.

Continuing down Main Street, turn left onto Commerce Avenue at the light.  Walk two blocks to arrive back at the statue of John Coltrain.

Architectural Walking Tour of Downtown High Point

  1. John Coltrain Statue – Corner of South Hamilton and Commerce Avenue
  2. Mendenhall Transportation Terminal – 220 East Commerce Street
  3. Christopher Guy Showroom – 129 South Hamilton Street
  4. Showplace – 211 East Commerce Street
  5. Natuzzi – 130 W Commerce Avenue
  6. Zoe Bios Creative – 110 South Elm Street
  7. High Point Train Station – 100 West High Avenue
  8. The Pit – 125 West High Avenue
  9. The Radio Building – 164 South Main Street

Discovering our High Points,

The HP Discovered Team

Photography by ZoZo Photography

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