The Blowing Rock Historical Society
Preserving Our Historical Culture and Charm
A Few Blowing Rock Stories
You will find some "snippets" of Blowing Rock's history below. This is an ever growing work-in-progress, so come back often for new, engaging stories about our history.
Let's Start at the Beginning
Everyone knows Blowing Rock is a magnificent place to live and visit, but how did it get that way? To understand Blowing Rock history, you really need to go back 1.2 billion years when sediment was forming gneiss rocks. Over hundreds of millions of years, those rocks became the Blue Ridge Mountains. One rock in particular got pushed around and today it’s known as “The Blowing Rock” from which you can have one of the world’s best views. It also happens to be the namesake of our village, Blowing Rock, North Carolina.
That old rock became part of mountains that once were higher than Mt. Everest, and over the years, natural forces made our mountains smaller, yet one of the most beautiful places on earth. It’s a fabulous setting for both today’s Blowing Rock and for the colorful history that led to today’s village being a great place to live and to visit.
However, before Blocking Rock became the destination it is today, this area was considered a no-man's-land. It was a barrier between two Indian tribes that didn’t like each other very much, the Catawba and the Cherokee Indians. In 1752, the first recorded European decedents to visit this area were a group led by the Moravian Bishop (August Gottlieb Spangenberg) in search of land for a new Moravian community. Along the way, Bishop Spangenberg and his party received some bad directions from a hunter and ended up in our mountains. The Bishop noted in his journal: “Arrived on the top at last, we saw hundreds of mountain peaks all around us, presenting a spectacle like ocean waves in a storm.” He was awed by the beauty that surrounded him, but unfortunately for him and his team it wasn’t summer. His journal goes on to say: “We pitched our tent, but scarcely had we finished when such a fierce wind-storm burst upon us, that we could scarcely protect ourselves against it. I cannot remember that I have ever in winter anywhere encountered so hard or so cold a wind.” Sounds like a fairly typical January day in Blowing Rock, doesn’t it?
Ok, so Blowing Rock wasn’t off to the greatest start. The Moravian bishop worked his way down the mountains to the area today called Winston-Salem and concluded that would be a better place to settle. Finally, in the 1790’s some hardy settlers arrived and made this their home. Their name was Greene, a name that remains prominent in Blowing Rock to this day, with descendants of the Greene family still living in our beautiful community.
How did we transition from one pioneering family to becoming the “Crown of the Blue Ridge”? We will add colorful stories about that journey through our history. Meanwhile, enjoy the historic charm, culture and natural beauty of Blowing Rock.
How Blowing Rock became a town, then wasn't a town, then was a town again. Hint - It had to do with a disagreement about adult beverages.
The tradition of welcoming visitors and "cottagers"
The road to "Cloudland" - It wasn't always easy to get here