Watauga County TDA awards $300,000 grant for Moses H. Cone Memorial Park rehab

Photo by Adam Roades

Flat Top Manor Exterior.JPG

Flat Top Manor at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park A view of the second floor exterior of Flat Top Manor, which required extensive repairs and maintenance
December 1, 2016

We are thrilled to announce that the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority has committed a grant of $300,000 to further our efforts to rehabilitate Moses H. Cone Memorial Park.

“The Watauga County Tourism Development Authority is pleased to be able to invest in the future of one of our area’s iconic attractions,” Executive Director Wright Tilley said. “The Blue Ridge Parkway and Moses Cone Estate are often mentioned by visitors as two significant reasons for visiting our area. The estate offers our visitors a variety of activities and some spectacular scenic views.  We are happy to help improve and preserve this Boone-area landmark for future generations of travelers to enjoy.”

Each year, hundreds of thousands of visitors explore and enjoy Moses H. Cone Memorial Park at milepost 294 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Here they find history and the magnificent landscape of the 3,500-acre estate once owned by textile magnate Moses H. Cone, who brought denim production to the South in the late 19th century.

“We are so grateful for this grant from the Watauga TDA,” said Carolyn Ward, CEO of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. “This funding will go a long way toward ensuring that Flat Top Manor and the surrounding grounds continue to draw visitors and impart a fascinating aspect of the region’s history.”

Earlier this year, the Foundation set out to raise $3 million to address the park’s extensive rehabilitation and maintenance needs, including a fire suppression system and structural repairs at Flat Top Manor, the clearing of carriage trails, and addition of interpretive signs and materials. To date, the nonprofit has secured $1.4 million dollars in gifts and pledges on the way to its goal. Funding has been provided by individual donors, proceeds from the first annual Denim Ball fundraising event, and grants from the Anonymous Trust, Cannon Foundation, Covington Foundation, Kennedy Family Foundation, Watauga County Tourism Development Authority, and Wilson Family Foundation.

The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation will continue its work to raise the remaining $1.6 million through support by individuals, community groups, and businesses. It will also host the second annual Denim Ball, a night of dinner, dancing, and auctions, on August 4, 2017, in Blowing Rock. 

Since its inception in 1997, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation has worked with donors to invest more than $1 million in the estate, including constructing restrooms at Bass Lake, successfully nominating the estate for the National Register of Historic Places, and completing a multiyear management plan to guide future investments.