Watauga County, North Carolina was formed the year before 1850 and lands from Ashe, Caldwell, Wilkes, and Yancey County were taken to create the new municipality. Named for the Watauga River, which flows through several areas of the county, Watauga County was a place where the Cherokee Indians roamed and hunted high in the mountains. “Watauga” is believed to be a Native American word which means “beautiful waters” and the waters that flow along the Watauga certainly are spectacular. Early settlers came to the region in search of a place that they could call their own and worship as they would like. Many of the earliest settlers to the county came from regions up north in Pennsylvania and sought to establish churches in the area. Several early Episcopal churches that still remain standing and open to the public in Valle Crucis that were established during this time period.
As the county grew, business and commerce did as well and in the late 1800s the area was flourishing. The Mast General Store operated in Valle Crucis and several successful businesses, like Boone Drug, and a few farms operated in the town of Boone. Blowing Rock, another area in Watauga County, also was experiencing its heyday as a resort area for the wealthy. All of this combined helped to bring about the start of the educational institution that would shape and influence the town, Appalachian State University. The university was established in 1899 as a state teachers’ school and brought many outsiders to the small mountain town.
Early 20th Century
In the early part of the 20th century, Watauga County enjoyed a mostly rural existence. There were many farms in the county and cabbage was the cash crop. Many farmers in the area grew cabbage, which was then canned and sold via the Boone Creek sauerkraut plant, which shipped products all over the country. Later, after the cabbage industry died and the plant closed, Christmas trees became the top crop. Today, there are numerous Christmas tree farms all around the county. Some are wholesale farms and others are choose n cut farms to which visitors flock around Christmas time in order to find their perfect trees.
In 1968, Appalachian Ski Mountain, the first ski resort to open in the region, opened in Blowing Rock. This led to an influx of winter visitors to the mountains, which had been a usual lull period as vacationers from Florida and the hotter parts of the country tended to leave the county during the cold, snowy winter months. Boone quickly became one of the top vacation destinations in the Southeast with its four-season vacation period. Today, the town is one of the top places to live and own Mountain Property in North Carolina and it still remains a great place to visit for a weekend trip or extended seasonal vacation. Located right by the Blue Ridge Parkway and ancient rivers such as The Watauga, The Toe, and The New River, Boone is a mountain paradise where many desire to own real estate.
Find out more about Watauga County and read all about the areas within the county. I have included tons of helpful information on the communities throughout, the schools, the hospitals and the overall lifestyle that you can enjoy when you own a home in Watauga. If you are looking for the very best Appalachian Real Estate, check my listings for available homes in Boone.