Blowing Rock Main Street as dirt road

Once upon a time, Blowing Rock’s Main Street was a dirt road.

BLOWING ROCK — On the home page of the Blowing Rock Historical Society website is a photo of two well-dressed gentlemen and a bonnet-capped lady sitting on top of The Blowing Rock. Across the top of the photo is inscribed, “The Blowing Rock is 1.2 billion years old. Our town is not quite that old, but it does have an interesting and colorful history.”

Aerial view of Mayview Manor

Mayview Manor was famous the world over, with many celebrities among the hotel patrons.

Scan through the website or, better yet, attend some club meetings and you learn about that colorful and interesting history through old photographs collected and preserved through the years, as well as hear stories of some of the men and women who made that history.

Learn about:

  • Annie Oakley’s gun club, shooting off the back deck of Mayview Manor and into the gorge;
  • When Main St. was a dirt thoroughfare, with livestock roaming the streets
  • How Blowing Rock became a town, then wasn’t a town, then was a town again;
  • How the road to what some called “Cloudland” was sometimes a challenge in getting here;
  • What downtown Blowing Rock looked like in the early 1900s;
  • How Blowing Rock had a parking problem — in 1887, for Conestoga wagons;
  • The World War II victory parade downtown, in 1945;
  • Where to “fill ‘er up!” at a downtown filling station;
  • When today’s town hall was the site of the fire station and chamber of commerce; and,
  • What famous artist lived in Edgewood Cottage?

And much, much more.

BRHS historical markers

Each year, Blowing Rock Historical Society designates new buildings or historical sites to receive a marker describing its historical significance. There are now more than 40 markers as a result of this initiative by former BRHS president, the late Ginny Stevens.

Did you know?

Watauga Hotel and cottages

Before it burned down in 1926, the Watauga Inn was surrounded by cottages. The only that remains is partially seen in this old photograph’s foreground, and is now the home of BRHS’ 1888 Museum. Several years after the hotel burned down, in 1939, the property was sold to the town of Blowing Rock.

  • Blowing Rock Historical Society donated one-half of the organization’s estimated 2020-21 membership dues to the Rock United Relief Fund in 2020 to support local businesses during the pandemic;
  • For several years, BRHS has donated one-half of net proceeds from the popular Artists in Residence at Edgewood Cottage program to the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation to support restoration projects at Moses Cone Memorial Park;
  • Using the Clio history website, BRHS create a walking tour of the some of the historical marker sites in and around downtown Blowing Rock; and,
  • BRHS is reprinting “A Village Tapestry: The History of Blowing Rock” by Barry Buxton, which has been out of print for quite some time. The Broyhill Foundation funded a substantial part of the cost of reprinting.

To receive more information about joining the Blowing Rock Historical Society, visit

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.