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July 24, 2014

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Blowing Rock Mayor J.B. Lawrence blows out the candles on the cake marking the town’s 125th birthday at town hall on Tuesday. Photo by Jeff Eason

Originally published: 2014-03-12 11:48:16
Last modified: 2014-03-12 11:52:17

Town turns 125

More than 100 people showed up at Blowing Rock Town Hall on Tuesday to celebrate the town’s 125th birthday.

The event was celebrated with punch, birthday cake and the handing out of four new historical markers.

Blowing Rock’s Historical Marker Program is operated and funded by the Blowing Rock Historical Society and the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum.

“Joseph B. Clarke was the first mayor of Blowing Rock,” said Ginny Stevens of the historical society.

“So, we’ve gone from one J.B. to another J.B.,” she said, with a nod to current Mayor J.B. Lawrence.
“Joe Clarke was great for Blowing Rock,” Stevens said. “He always dressed in a black frock. One day, he led a herd of cattle down Main Street. He was fined a dollar for the stunt and admitted that he had too much to drink that day.”

Historical society members Kent Graham, Ray Pickett, Lowell Thomas, Cindy Kebelbeck, Becky Smith, Marcia Quinn and Janice Burns gave a brief synopsis of the history of Blowing Rock, from the time the first European settlers arrived until the present.

It was noted that it was in the late 1800s that the village became popular as a summer destination for people wishing to escape the heat of places such as Charlotte and Atlanta. In those days, locals referred to summer residents as “cottagers,” the members shared.

Historic markers were handed out for the former site of Sonny’s Grill, the stone building on Maple Street known as the “Ice House,” the residence of Harriatt Davant and the Church of the Epiphany Catholic Church.

Kelly Crump, owner of Six Pence Pub, a restaurant that has a deck located on the former site of Sonny’s Grill, accept the Sonny’s historical marker.
Harriett Davant’s granddaughters, Alyse Armfield Proctor and Ashley Armfield Winkelmann, along with great-grandchildren Jack and Browning Proctor, accepted the historical marker on behalf of their grandmother, who was out of town.

Father Dave Brzoska of St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Boone, accepted the historical marker on behalf of the Church of the Epiphany Catholic Church, which is a seasonal church in Blowing Rock and operates from May to November.

Lawrence accepted the historical marker for the Ice House, which is owned by the town and is currently being used by the Blowing Rock Historical Society. In the past, it served as an ice house to store ice pulled from Chetola Lake, then called Silver Lake; a TV repair shop; the office of The Blowing Rocket; and the box office of the Blowing Rock Stage Company.

During the birthday celebration, everyone present received a copy of the picture book “Post Cards of Historic Blowing Rock, Volume II” as a birthday gift.

For more information and stories, see The Blowing Rocket.

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