Historical Society spearheads fundraising for Legion Hall renovations
By Jeff Eason
Just about every organization in Blowing Rock has utilized the American Legion Hall at one time or another. The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce uses it as its headquarters for Art in the Park events, Boy Scout Troop 101 meets there, Ensemble Stage has held rehearsals in the building, and the Rotary Club of Blowing Rock hosts charity auctions in the space.
The Blowing Rock Historical Society has used the American Legion Hall for years for meetings, potluck dinners and presentations. Now the society is spearheading a fundraising effort to help the town with its renovation project for the hall.
“The Town of Blowing Rock has asked for the Historical Society’s assistance with this project, as they are fully aware that it fits perfectly with our mission of ‘preserving and protecting our historic resources,’” said a BRHS spokesperson.
“The town received a grant of $142,000 from the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, which they are prepared to match within the $367,010 set aside for this project. After paying for the design phase, the town now has some $331,583, and some redesign has been made to lower the final costs, which are projected to require an additional funding of $221,822.
“Thus far, with a gift of $25,000 from the Historical Society, we agreed to ask our membership for donations to fill the remaining gap.”
The historical society views the American Legion Hall as not only a place to meet and discuss local history, but as an integral part of that history, as well.
“In talking with Shirley Snyder, we have learned much about the expectations of community to use this building as a structure honoring our veterans of three wars,” the spokesperson said. “The Legion Hall was built between 1952 and 1959 with both funding and labor of Blowing Rock’s veterans, on land donated to the town for that purpose.
“Bob Snyder and the men who worked those seven years certainly felt this was a memorial structure and happily applied their building skills, sought donated materials, such as the roofing, and were excited and invigorated by their contributions.
“After the construction was completed, they held weekly square dances, with local bands and musicians including Doc Watson, to help pay off the building debts.
“These veterans truly believed that ‘their’ building would forever be a memorial honoring all of the town’s men in service, and we are eager to keep that promise and continue to respect their original wishes.”
The Historical Society hopes to raise an additional $200,000 for renovations to the American Legion Hall. Those renovations will include new roofing, new heating and cooling system, new windows, handicapped exits, updated bathrooms and kitchen renovations, and the creation of a large outdoor deck overlooking Broyhill Lake.
Renovations are due to begin this fall, when use of the building slows at the end of the summer season.
The renovations will make the building a more attractive venue for reunions, wedding receptions and other events.
The Historical Society has established a number of naming opportunities for donors who contribute toward the renovation project.All gifts to the American Legion are tax deductible and may be sent to: Town of Blowing Rock, P.O. Box 47, Blowing Rock, NC 28605, or to the Historical Society at: BRHS, P.O. Box 804, Blowing Rock, NC 28605. Please write “American Legion Hall Fund” in the check’s notation space.