After 14 months of exterior renovations, Flat Top Manor, the centerpiece of Moses H. Cone Memorial Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway, once again gleams from its perch overlooking Bass Lake, thanks to you. Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation donors and the National Park Service funded the $2.4 million rehabilitation on the circa-1901 Colonial Revival style home completed this fall.
“Flat Top Manor is grand again thanks to the outpouring of community support for its rehabilitation,” said Carolyn Ward, CEO of the Foundation. “The home is an iconic feature of North Carolina’s High Country and the Parkway, and we are delighted visitors today and for years to come will now see its true beauty.”
For years, peeling paint, crumbling woodwork, decaying columns, and even a boarded-up window at Flat Top Manor signaled that the former country home of Moses and Bertha Cone required repairs. In 2016, the Foundation began fundraising efforts for the exterior renovations and additional projects on the 3,500-acre estate. To complete the transformation, crews removed columns, balusters, and windows, repairing as many elements as possible and recreating those that could not be saved. Each piece of compromised clapboard siding was removed before the entire exterior was repainted. Sustainable composite roof shingles from Enviroshake replaced the weather-worn cedar shingles. Even the beadboard ceiling of the spacious porch was refreshed.
“Not in its 120-year history has the exterior of Flat Top Manor undergone such an extensive restoration,” said Kevin Brandt, Project Manager for the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. “With proper annual maintenance this work should last a generation or longer.” Architects from the Denver Service Center, the National Park Service’s planning, design, and construction management office led the restoration work. The center tackles the park system’s largest projects including preservation of Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty, and the Wright Brothers Memorial. The NPS hired Ritz Construction, Inc., to lead the onsite effort to complete the restoration. Double Hung, LLC, was responsible for the process of delicately removing and evaluating all the windows, columns, and railings. At the company’s workshop in Greensboro, N.C., the team meticulously repaired and repainted the features before returning them to their original locations on the building.
“Flat Top Manor was among the most technically challenging projects we’ve undertaken in our 24 years. It was such an honor to be involved with the restoration and preservation of such an important piece of North Carolina’s history,” said David Hoggard with Double Hung, LLC.
The project is one of many that Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation donors and volunteers have made possible at the estate, including the construction of restrooms at Bass Lake, clearing of vegetation on carriage trails, care of the hydrangea garden, and the installation of a fire suppression system in the manor. Thank you to all the donors who contributed to this amazing transformation and the overall care of Cone Memorial Park!