by Madison V. Fisler
March 11, 2014. Celebrate Blowing Rock’s 125 Birthday with the town on March 11. The Birthday Party will be held at Town Hall beginning at 2:30 p.m.
The celebration will include light refreshments and is free and open to the public and will include the presentation of plaques to historical buildings, “125 Years of History in Seven Minutes” and more until 4 p.m.
“The Historical Society has really taken the lead on this,” said Scott Fogleman, Blowing Rock Town Manager.
The Historical Society will present historical markers to four properties. The residence of Dr. Charlie and Mrs. Harriet Devant, the Ice House, the Church of the Epiphany and the site of the former Sonny’s Grill will be honored at the event.
“The events will be mostly centered in Town Hall, and refreshments will be provided by the Historical Society too.”
The last major birthday party for the town was held in 1989 on the town’s centennial celebration to celebrate 100 years. The massive celebration included a parade down Main Street, unveilings of special art pieces, a pageant by Blowing Rock School, and even then North Carolina Governor Jimmy Holshauser and Congressman James Broyhill turned up to show their support.
And in what could be the most memorable moment at the celebration, a time capsule was buried by members of the American Legion Post which contained items like business cards, pictures, notes and even a copy of Ken Ketchie’s very own newspaper, just when it was first getting started.
The History of the Town of Blowing Rock
In the mid-18th Century, Scottish and Irish settlers began to settle down close to the Blowing Rock area, which has previously been home to the Catawba and Cherokee Native American tribes. Next, many colonists, farmers, hunters, and trappers continued to settle in the area, increasing the population of the settlement. The first family to settle in Blowing Rock was the Greene Family, who established themselves on what would become the Green Park Hotel property.
Other notable early families included the Hayes, Coffey, Bolick, Estes and Storie families. Around this time, summer residents started to make their way up the mountain to escape to the cooler mountain atmosphere in the hottest months of the year.
Eventually, year round residency began to increase rapidly. During the Civil War, families traveled to the refuge of the mountains to escape the wartime hostilities of the foothills and the piedmont regions. After the war, many families elected to stay in the small mountain community permanently.
Finally, on March 11, 1889, Blowing Rock was chartered and incorporated as a town with a population of just over 300 people.
Today as it stands, Blowing Rock is home to approximately 1,500 permanent residents and 8,000 summer residents and offers the small town life, a relaxing cool climate, a plethora of activities and much more.
For the past ten years, a major preservation effort has been in place to protect the proud historic heritage of the village and maintain the community character remains characteristic of this small mountain town.