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Blowing Rock, North Carolina”

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BLOWING ROCK HISTORICAL SOCIETY


Blowing Rock North Carolina History Green Historic District
Blowing Rock NC Green Park Historic District

Blowing Rock Historic Venues

The Blowing Rock Historical Society operates two Historic Venues that are open to the public, at various times during the year and for special activities and events.

These Historic Venues include the Edgwood Cottage c. 1890 and the 1888 Museum.

Blowing Rock North Carolina History Edgewood Cottage
Blowing Rock NC Edgewood Cottage

Edgewood Cottage

Edgewood Cottage, c. 1890 Historic home and gathering place for artists comes full circle. The first home and studio of artist Elliott Daingerfield (1859-1932), has been revitalized by the Blowing Rock Historical Society to preserve his legacy. Today the home, located on Main Street opposite St. Mary of the Hills Church, offers a brief glimpse of Daingerfield in the home he designed and built.

Born in Harper’s Ferry, VA (as it was known at the time), Elliott Daingerfield was trained as an artist in New York. He studied with George Inness of the Hudson River School movement, and developed his technique of capturing light with his painting. He came to Blowing Rock with his first wife, Roberta and built Edgewood Cottage in 1889-90. His wife died two years later and in his grief, he plunged into his work; giving lectures and studio classes. He taught classes at Philadelphia School of Design and summer classes at his Blowing Rock home from 1895-1915.

In 1895, Daingerfield remarried and in 1900, he completed his second home in Blowing Rock, called Windwood. His third and final home, Westglow, was completed in 1917 and is a testament to his success as a painter. This home is where he lived when he painted Madonna of the Hills and donated it to his church, St. Mary of the Hills. For the rest of his life, he returned to Blowing Rock every summer and claimed to find a spiritual connection to the landscape here. He died in 1932 at the age of 73.

Before restoration of Edgewood Cottage could take place, a study of its condition was made and it was determined that a floor beam would need to be replaced. This meant that the building had to be dismantled and rebuilt. The original building was of boxboard design with a post at each corner. Outer boards were nailed to header and footer boards. Though the old materials were used as much as possible and the same footprint was constructed, the rebuilt structure is classified as a reproduction of a historic house. Wall construction was improved for stability and to accommodate modern improvements such as insulation, plumbing, lighting, heating, and fire protection that help to preserve it while providing a comfortable space for activities and events.

The home’s most interesting architectural feature is the four room fireplace rebuilt from the original bricks. The original sketch by Daingerfield of the floor plan design of the cottage is on display, as well as his paint box and palette, and a number of his paintings. The cottage is furnished with pieces from the period.

The restoration was completed in 2008 and the building is now used for small meetings and events. Since 2010, the Artist in Residence program began, where the house is open to feature various artists and their work. In keeping with the cottage’s early beginnings when Daingerfield offered his expertise to others, local artists exhibit and demonstrate their work for the public for eight weeks each summer. Exhibits change weekly and the cottage is open every day except Wednesdays throughout the event.

Blowing Rock North Carolina History 1888 Museum
Blowing Rock NC 1888 Museum

The 1888 Museum

The last remaining cottage that was part of the Watauga Hotel, serves as a museum on Main Street today. The two room cottage, located next door to the Martin House contains 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 and rented single rooms with room and board being fifteen dollars per 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 one outside entrance where a window once was facing 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, with a rope bed and maple dressing table. Other pieces are from Mayview Manor Hotel, built in 1922 such as dinnerware, printed menus, and room key fobs noting the names Lee Marvin and Raymond Burr. Also on display are items from the Farm House Inn that operated in Blowing Rock from 1951 to 1998.


The museum is open Wednesdays and Saturdays, 1 to 4 PM, Seasonally and Weather Permitting. Admittance is free of charge.
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