© 2019 Because it Looks Kool Photography by Brandon L. Khoury

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Before 1752, when Bishop August Gottlieb Spangenberg of the Moravian Church visited the Blowing Rock, the windy cliffs of the area were home to the Cherokee and the Catawba Native American tribes.

After the mid-18th century, when hardy Scots-Irish pioneers began to settle in the region, the mountain passes from southern Virginia into Kentucky attracted many colonists, farmers, hunters, and trappers who continued south to the mountains of North Carolina. The first family to settle in Blowing Rock were the Greenes, who were established by the mid-19th century on a site that would become the Green Park Hotel property.

 

Other early settlers in Blowing Rock included the Hayes, Coffey, Bolick, Estes and Storie families. During the American Civil War the mountains of North Carolina often witnessed fierce guerrilla warfare between groups of pro-Confederate and pro-Union fighters. To keep their families safe, men leaving for service in the Confederate Army often sent them to Blowing Rock, which became a local refuge from the fighting.

 

After the Civil War many of these veterans would join their families and remain in the Blowing Rock area. At the same time, summer residents began to come up from the nearby city of Lenoir to enjoy the cool fresh air and magnificent mountain views. Seeing the potential of their village to become a haven for well-to-do tourists, the residents of Blowing Rock had their village incorporated into a town on March 11, 1889. The town's first mayor was "Uncle" Joe Clarke, and the town initially had a population of about 300.

 

As word traveled to other parts of the South about the merits of Blowing Rock, more visitors began to arrive, first camping out, and later taking rooms at boarding houses such as the Hayes and Martin houses on Main Street. Eventually there were more visitors than the existing boarding houses could handle, and so many homes were turned into hotels. The first hotel in Blowing Rock was the Watauga Hotel, built in 1884; the hotel added cottages in 1888. The Green Park Hotel opened in 1891, followed eight years later by the Blowing Rock Hotel. Walter Alexander, a prominent local resident, touted the clean air and healthy environment of Blowing Rock; in 1922 he opened his own hotel, called Mayview Manor.

 

As the tourist economy became Blowing Rock's main industry in the late 19th century, the town was forced to adapt to meeting the needs of tourists. The need for cleaner and better streets (most streets then were simply dirt tracks) led to the paving of the town's streets and highways. Another issue involved the need to build fences to keep farm animals from wandering into town and disturbing visitors - at the time most farms in the area were not fenced. In 1896 the town passed an ordinance which required local farmers to fence in their livestock.

 

The introduction of the automobile and improved roads early in the 20th century further eased the journey to Blowing Rock, and visitors began to arrive from as far away as Florida. Today Blowing Rock remains a tourist destination for visitors from all over the United States. Due to the town's well-to-do, out-of-state summertime residents, Blowing Rock has restaurants, hotels, golf courses, and other attractions. A recent priority for Blowing Rock's residents has been to preserve and protect the town's historic structures and maintaining the small-town charm and scenery that has attracted so many people for the last 150 years.

 

(Info Credit: Wikipedia )

 

The Blowing Rock- BLWRK04

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