By Tzar Wilkerson
Virginia “Ginny” Stevens – a woman whose respect for Blowing Rock’s history was so sincere that she spent the last 3 decades of her life ensuring its preservation – will be leaving one more indelible mark on the town’s rich history. At 4 pm this Sunday, June 16th, the Friends of Ginny Stevens will commence the dedication of the street formerly known as Chestnut Street. As of Sunday, it will be known as Ginny Stevens Lane.
Ever since she arrived in town with her husband David in 1985, Ginny Stevens had made her love for the town of Blowing Rock clear. In addition to co-founding the Blowing Rock Historical Society and leading its important work for many years, Ginny Stevens worked at the 1888 Museum (housed in the last remaining cottage of the historic Watauga Hotel), was active in Preservation North Carolina (in which role she helped to preserve many historically relevant buildings in Raleigh), and made herself heard often at Blowing Rock Town Council meetings.
After Stevens’ passing in 2017, the Friends of Ginny Stevens was created in order to memorialize and appreciate her contributions to the town. The Friends of Ginny Stevens petitioned Blowing Rock Town council to give Chestnut Street her name, and in June of 2018 they were ready to dedicate the street. However, in the wake of Hurricane Florence, they were unable to hold the event at that time, and were forced to reschedule the dedication to June 16th 2019. The dedication and reception were organized through the tireless efforts of a committee within the Friends of Ginny Stevens. Their persistence, along with the support of all the members and advocates of the organization, made the dedication possible.
Appropriately, the street in question is adjacent to Edgewood Cottage, the historic home of Elliott Daingerfield. Stevens and the Blowing Rock Historical Society (which she co-founded soon after moving to the town in 1985) were responsible for the Edgewood Cottage’s restoration and reopening, so it’s fitting that the dedication will take place there. Stevens’ husband David, her daughter Leslie, her granddaughter Lydia, in addition to the many friends whose lives were changed by Stevens’ work and relationships in the community, will attend the event. After the dedication, a reception will be held at Rumple Fellowship Hall, across the street from the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum.
The Friends of Ginny Stevens sees the new street name as a sort of reminder for Blowing Rock residents. “She was a tremendous contributor to the community,” said a spokesperson, “she was known by many people, but the individual things that she did were, many times, quietly done. It’s important to see this signage up now and to have it dedicated. If people don’t know who she is, it might make them question ‘Who is this Ginny Stevens?’ So in that way we always will remember her because we can tell others about her.”