Watauga County

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Cities/Towns: Beech Mountain - Boone* - Blowing Rock - Deep Gap - Monville - Seven Devils - Sherwood Sugar Grove - Valle Crucis - Vilas - Zionville

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Climb aboard our famous train pulled by an authentic coal-fired steam locomotive and take a trip back to the Old West. It’s usually a peaceful ride to Fort Boone, but be prepared for the action to heat up! Pesky outlaws may be looking for the gold shipment and you never know what kind of trouble the Indians are up to along the ride. It’s real Wild West fun!
Compliments Tweetsie Railroad
Tweetsie Railroad Attraction
When Blanford B. Dougherty and his brother Dauphin D. Dougherty founded Watauga Academy in 1899 with just 53 students enrolled in three grades, they were motivated by a driving desire to educate teachers for the mountains of Northwest North Carolina. Spring, summer, and fall annually bring some 20 million visitors to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the section of the world-famous Appalachian Trail that runs through the western part of North Carolina and Virginia. It is just minutes from campus. If you stand in the right place, you can see the entire campus, nestled against some of the oldest land masses in the continental United States—a chain of peaks with such off-the-top-of-the-head names as Howard’s Knob, Whitetop, Elk Knob, Attic Window, Grandfather Mountain, Jane Bald, and Hump.
Compliments Appalachian State University - Boone Campus Compliments Appalachian State University - Blue Ridge Parkway
Appalachian State University Take A Virtual Tour of Boone Area



A Brief History of the Formation of Watauga County


For several thousand years, the Watauga County area was occupied by prehistoric hunting and gathering Indians. Of the later Indian tribes, who were farmers as well as hunters, the most recent were the Cherokee who left the region shortly before the immigration of white settlers. The county was named Watauga after an Indian word meaning "Whispering Waters."

The earliest known visit to the area by a white man was by Bishop August Gottlieb Spangenberg who came in 1752 in search of land for Moravian colonists. Although the bishop was greatly impressed by the natural wonders of the region, for fear of Indian attack, Bthe Moravians chose to settle farther east in piedmont North Carolina. Daniel Boone hunted here in the 1760's, spending time in a cabin located on what is now the campus of Appalachian State University. Settlers led by James Robertson followed the Wilderness Road through this area to Tennessee, as Boone had done before them.

There was occasional settlement of the region prior to the Revolutionary War, but there are only sparse records of white occupation until 1778. Most of the early settlers were of English and Scotch-Irish ancestry. They were followed by Germans, Dutch, Swedes, and a fBew French Huguenots.

In 1800 Jordan Councill established Councill Store beneath Howard's Knob in what is now the Town of Boone. Watauga County was created in 1849 with Boone selected as the county seat. Boone was incorporated in 1872.

Although travel in these rugged mountains was difficult and hazardous, the area became a haven from the heat and illness thought to be caused by the unfavorable climate of the lowlands, and many people buBilt summer homes in what is now Blowing Rock as early as the 1850's. Improvement of the roads began in the 1920's and has continued with increasingly heavy traffic creating demands for new and improved roads.

Although Watauga County has been responding to modern influences, much of the past remains. Traditional songs and ballads from the British Isles are still sung by natives of the county, and tales and legends, weather lore, and superstitions survive in the traditions of the people.


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