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Anonymous Donor Offers $300,000 Matching Challenge To Rehabilitate Moses Cone Estate

Front view of the Flat Top Manor on the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park estate.

An anonymous donor is raising the stakes at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park with a matching challenge. Each donation designated for the former estate near Blowing Rock will be matched dollar for dollar if the $300,000 goal is reached. The challenge is a monumental chance to boost funds for the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s multiyear plan to rehabilitate Flat Top Manor and the designed landscape of the 3,500-acre estate located at milepost 294 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

“We are so grateful for this opportunity. It is the perfect time for those who love Moses H. Cone Memorial Park to double their impact and ensure it remains a rich historical and recreational destination for thousands of visitors each year as well as the surrounding community,” said Carolyn Ward, CEO of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation.

The National Park Service strives to care for this site listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but with a limited budget and staffing, the estate is in critical need of repairs and maintenance. The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is committed to raising $3 million over the next three years to rehabilitate the home and landscape and enrich visitors’ experiences.

The rehabilitation work will include:

  • Protecting iconic Flat Top Manor from fire by installing a fire suppression system
  • Preventing continued deterioration at Flat Top Manor by replacing exterior wooden components, including doors and windows, replacing the roof, and ensuring structural integrity
  • Repairing historic stone walls
  • Partially restoring the immediate landscape of the Manor House and constructing new trails and sidewalks
  • Enhancing the interpretation of the Manor House’s immediate landscape and the garden and outdoor recreation areas
  • Recreating the experience of the carriage trails by repairing the surfaces and removing encroaching vegetation to restore planned vistas and adding interpretive signs
  • Rehabilitating the vast landscape and caring for original plantings, including replanting where necessary
  • Constructing new or expanded parking areas

All donations up to $300,000 during the next few months qualify for the match.

Since its inception in 1997, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation has worked with donors to invest more than $1 million in the estate, including constructing restrooms at Bass Lake, successfully nominating the estate for the National Register of Historic Places, and completing a multiyear management plan to guide future investments.

About Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

The park was owned and developed as a gentleman’s country estate by Moses H. Cone, an American captain of industry during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Moses and his brother, Ceasar Cone, brought denim production to the South. Together they built a textile empire that still exists today.

Cone was not only a successful entrepreneur, he was an inquisitive gentleman farmer who experimented with agriculture. Beginning in 1897, he carefully created an impressive country retreat featuring carriage trails, lakes, apple orchards, fields, and forests. His vision was influenced by a great regard for the natural landscape.

Before his untimely death in 1908, he constructed Flat Top Manor as the centerpiece of this idyllic mountain estate. After his passing, his wife, Bertha, operated the estate for nearly 39 years, adhering to his original concept. The 3,500-acre estate became part of the Blue Ridge Parkway in 1949.

About the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation

The Foundation is the primary nonprofit fundraising organization, 501(c)3, of the Blue Ridge Parkway, helping ensure cultural and historical preservation, natural resource protection, educational outreach, and visitor enjoyment now and for future generations. www.brpfoundation.org

Woodwork damage on the Flat Top Manor
View from the Flat Top Manor
Woodwork damage on this pillar.