Anyone who strolls the loop around Bass Lake, rides horseback or hikes the carriage paths, or explores Flat Top Manor makes a connection with this 3,500-acre estate created by denim magnate Moses H. Cone in late 1800s. We are undertaking a multiyear initiative to raise $3 million to address crucial repairs and maintenance as well as trail work and landscape restoration for this treasure listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
For the first phase, the Foundation has committed to raise funds to update the fire suppression system at Flat Top Manor at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, milepost 294, near Blowing Rock, N.C. The funds will be supplemented with a Centennial Challenge award from Congress to address this pressing need.
The long-range work will be guided by the Developed Area Management Plan, recently completed by the Parkway, and a steering committee of local volunteers.
Your gift to Moses H. Cone Memorial Park will help:
- Protect iconic Flat Top Manor from fire by installing a fire suppression system (work slated for 2018)
- Replace flat roof (work complete!)
- Protect Flat Top Manor from continuing deterioration by replacing exterior wooden components, including some doors and windows, and ensure structural integrity
- Repair historic stone walls (Awarded a 2017 Centennial Challenge Grant. Donations for this project will be doubled by funds allocated by Congress.)
- Partially restore the immediate landscape of the manor house and constructing new trails/sidewalks
- Enhance interpretation of the Manor House's immediate landscape, outdoor recreation areas, and farm and garden landscapes
- Recreate the experience of the carriage trails by repairing the surface and removing encroaching vegetation to restore vistas
- Add interpretive signage of the mountain views
- Rehabilitate the vast landscape and care for original plantings
- Construct new parking areas
Since its inception in 1997, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation has worked with donors to invest in the preservation of Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, including successfully nominating the estate for the National Register of Historic Places and the construction of restrooms at Bass Lake.
Thanks to the sponsors and attendees at the second annual Denim Ball held in August. The event raised more than $120,000 for the estate. Click here for more information and a gallery of photos from the event.
About Moses H. Cone Memorial Park
The park was owned and developed as a gentleman’s country estate by Moses H. Cone, an American captain of industry of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, who with his brother, Ceasar Cone, brought denim production to the South with several mills based in Greensboro, N.C. Together they built a textile empire that still exists today.
Cone was not only a successful entrepreneur, he was an inquisitive gentleman farmer who experimented with agriculture and designed and built one of America’s most beautiful country estates. Beginning in 1897, he carefully created an impressive retreat featuring carriage trails, lakes, orchards, fields, and forests. His vision was influenced by a great regard for the natural landscape.
Before his untimely death in 1908, he constructed Flat Top Manor as the centerpiece of this idyllic mountain retreat. After his passing, his wife, Bertha, operated the estate for 40 years, adhering to his original concept. The 3,500-acre estate became part of the Blue Ridge Parkway in 1950. The Cone family’s generosity and influence is still evident in Greensboro, home to Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital, and the mountains today.
If you have questions or would like to get involved, please contact Willa Mays.
Learn more in Phil Noblitt's book, Mansion in the Mountains, a history of Moses and Bertha Cone and Flat Top Manor.
Read about Appalachian State University's public project to chronicle life at the Cone Estate.
Download a map of the carriage trails.
Hear a brief history of the estate by the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area.
Help protect the history and recreational opportunities at this historical stop in the North Carolina High Country.