On the south side of Memorial Park, this cottage was built in 1888 to house two hotel rooms for the growing and thriving Watauga Hotel.
Owned by theTown of Blowing Rock and managed by the Blowing Rock Historical Society, today the building serves as a museum that emphasizes Blowing Rock's long history of supporting tourism.
The 1888 Museum was improved and completely re-curated in the summer of 2020. It will soon be open 7 days a week, so please stop by and visit. For a video "Grand Re-opening Tour" of the museum, click below.
1888 Museum Historical Hotel Cottage
The last remaining cottage that was part of the Watauga Hotel, serves as a museum on Main Street today. Located at the south end of the Memorial Park, the little white building holds items that are not original to the building, but from the same period, and from local establishments and residents. Blowing Rock’s first hotel, the Watauga Hotel, was built in 1884 when residents of Lenoir began enjoying their summers in the cool mountain air. As roads were paved and travel became easier, the demand for summer lodging increased. Many homes were turned into boarding houses and new hotels were built. In 1888, the Watauga Hotel added several cottages to the perimeter of the hotel property where single rooms with room and board were rented for fifteen dollars a month. The rooms had no running water and meals were taken at the hotel next door. The barber shop was located across Main Street, under today’s Sunset Tees and Hattery and offered a shower (twenty-five cents) and a shave.
The original cottage was designed with two separate rental units having entrance doors on the side (facing the park) and did not connect to each other. The building has served various purposes since the Watauga Hotel was destroyed by fire and was replaced by the Memorial Park. The rooms now connect to each other with the front entrance where a window once faced Main Street.
Today, the museum holds numerous objects of interest from Blowing Rock’s history. One room is furnished similar to what one would have rented, complete with wash basin and chamber pot. The second room features photos and other items from Blowing Rock’s early hotels including Mayview Manor (1921-1966) and the Farm House Inn (1951-1998).
The museum is open daily.
Admittance is free.