By Jesse Wood
On Thursday afternoon, the Blowing Rock Town Council and board members of the Historical Society of Blowing Rock met at the deck of the renovated American Legion Building for a check presentation.
The Historical Society of Blowing Rock gave the town $50,000 to put towards the extensive renovation project that is underway and should conclude in the next few weeks. A grand opening or ribbon celebration for the newly-renovated American Legion Building is planned for June 8.
Following the gazebo dedication ceremony, the Historical Society in Blowing Rock will present a $50,000 check to the Town of Blowing Rock for the extensive renovation project of the American Legion Building.
American Legion Post 256 was established in 1946 with Fred Penley serving as first commander. In 1952, the local legion was granted a 99-year lease on the property and local members constructed the building.
As members grew older and faded away, the Town of Blowing Rock took over the building in 2011 and began discussions on renovations, which included a new roof, handicap entrances, plumbing and HVAC, stone replacement of brick facade, painting, 12-foot deck overlooking Broyhill Lake, new windows and safety improvements on stairway.
While some council and community members didn’t feel like the town should spend the resources or needed another gathering space, then Councilman Tommy Klutz was delighted to see the project progress.
“My father’s best friends of World War II helped build that building along with my father,” Klutz said at a meeting in 2013. “I am glad to see it continue.”
The town received a $142,500 N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund matching grant, but it wasn’t enough to fulfill the monetary needs of the project. So, the Historical Society in Blowing Rock stepped in with a $50,000 donation.
Marsha Quinn, president of the Historical Society, said that this was a wonderful opportunity to preserve the integrity and history of those service men that built the original building with their own hands.
The mission of the Historical Society is to “preserve and protect the historic character of Blowing Rock.”
Once renovations are complete in June, the facility will open to the public for weddings, community events and more.