Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

Historic Splendor At Its Finest

Most visitors know Moses Cone as the name of the beautiful Memorial Park beside the Blue Ridge Parkway. Of the man who is the park’s namesake, most passers-by know very little.

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Moses H. Cone was a man who made his immense fortune in the textile industry in the late 1800s. The company he created with his brother, Ceasar Cone, was called the Cone Export and Commission Company, established in 1891.

Whereas today many large businesses use outsourcing to defray production costs, the focus at the turn of the century was on consolidating the assembly line. The Cone brothers moved their headquarters in 1894 from New York to Greensboro, North Carolina, where cotton fields, warehouses, and trains were all close at hand.

But the increasing pace of commerce in Greensboro conflicted with the peaceful and natural existence Moses and his wife, Bertha, wished to forge. Handing the presidency of Cone Export to his brother, the couple purchased 3,500 acres of land north of Blowing Rock and settled there.

The estate included Flat Top Mountain and Rich Mountain.

Blowing Rock was at that time already becoming a chic resort town, which Cone sought to promote and develop through his own private contributions. Cone and his wife had no children, and philanthropic work kept them busy and content.

Cone donated generously to the public schools in Blowing Rock, quadrupling any monetary donations that the schools received. His contributions to the state teacher’s college, which would later become Appalachian State University, were instrumental in promoting higher education in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

Cone was also concerned about being a good steward of his estate. For every tree that was cut down, Cone planted another. He also planted extensive pine forests and hemlock hedges, and nurtured a passion for orchid cultivation.

In 1908, Moses Cone died at the age of 51. His wife lived on the estate for another 39 years. Both are buried on a hill across the street from the manor, and their imposing tombstones can be viewed by visitors.

The Moses Cone Memorial Park, which Bertha at the time of her death donated to the Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, was donated to the U.S. Government in 1950, and has since been meticulously maintained.

The estate is open to the public for walking, hiking, mountain biking. There are stables on the property, along with 27 miles of carriage trails. Craftsman’s Trail is a 20-mile loop around the estate, which the Cones are said to have walked together every morning.

The estate encompasses vast fields and forests for wandering, as well as a bass and a trout lake both built by Moses, where you might spend a more leisurely afternoon.

Flat Top Manor is the large, white house where the Cones lived. It is beautiful and well preserved. The building has been converted into a gift shop with many beautiful treasures from local artists.

Parkway Craft Center

Just outside Blowing Rock, on the Blue Ridge Parkway, is the majestic Cone Manor. This beautiful mansion houses the Parkway Craft Center, one of five shops of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild. The center has been open to visitors for 55 years. All of the crafts in the mansion are designed with care by artists of the Southern Appalachians.

The crafts are handmade by over 300 regional artists who have achieved success in their craft and are members of the prestigious guild.

A wide variety of handmade objects are on display and for sale including jewelry, pottery, glass figurines, framed and unframed artwork, hand-woven bags and even kitchen utensils. The gifts in the center are affordable, unique and beautiful.Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

Local artists spend time during the summer season on the front porch educating and entertaining guests about their unique craftsmanship. Visitors can learn how the artists perfected their skills and can even try their own hands at the craft.

The center is just a small part of the magnificent Moses Cone Park. Within the park there are 25 miles worth of trails that allow both hikers and horses. Along the trails, visitors catch beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and can take a pit stop at the craft center along the way.

Not only does the mansion house the craft center, but also allows people to relax on the porch and take in the beautiful surroundings. Wooden rocking chairs on the front porch provide a perfect place for visitors to put their feet up. Whether it is time for a break along the trail, or from viewing the center, visitors can relax in the rocking chairs and take in the beauty around them.

The mansion, built in 1901 as the summer home for Bertha and Moses Cone, is 13,000 square feet of beautiful Colonial Revival construction.The Cone family used to spend lazy Sunday afternoons taking carriage rides along the trails, now the trails are maintained by the National Park Service.

With the Timber Lodge and other small lodging centers just off the Parkway on US Hwy 321-S, planning a relaxing trip to the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway is just a phone call away.

A weekend trip to the High Country is the perfect place to take a break from the routine of life and rest under the serene surroundings. While you are here, stop by the craft center to take in the rich history of the Appalachians and shop for unique, beautifully handcrafted gifts.

The craft center is open to visitors March through November from 9-5 daily. For more information, please call (828) 295-7938 or email park...@skybest.com.

The Southern Highland Craft Guild is authorized to provide services on the Blue Ridge Parkway under the authority of a contract with the National Park Service.

Moses H. Cone Memorial Park - Autumn

Of all the historic attractions in the High Country, the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park remains perhaps the most prevalent. Even as a child, Moses H. Cone impressed those around him with his strong sense of responsibility and work ethic. Born in Jonesboro, Tennessee in 1857, he was the son of a German businessman, and was introduced to the textile industry at an early age as a result of his father's grocery firm. Together with his brother, Ceasar, he established the Cone Export and Commission Company in New York in 1891, and quickly relocated the headquarters to Greensboro, NC, where many of their textile products were manufactured.

Now known as "The Denim King" because of the "heavy duty, deeptone blue denim" his factories produced, Cone, age 40, and his wife Bertha moved to View from the porch the Blue Ridge and began to buy land, eventually acquiring more than 3,500 acres just north of Blowing Rock. A nature-lover and early environmentalist, Cone built three lakes, stocking them with native trout and bass, nurtured a one-of-a-kind, 10,000-tree apple orchard, and began construction on his long-desired estate, replacing any tree that was cut in the process.

Cone's magnificent home, named Flat Top Manor in honor of nearby Flat Top Mountain, is worth the trip alone. This gleaming, white 20-room mountain estate was erected near the turn of the century. Obtaining construction materials at that time was no small task: Lumber and furnishings were hauled uphill from the railroad in Lenoir, located over 20 miles from the Cone property.

Cone Manor offers much more than just spectacular views. Inside the grand home itself is a fantastic craft shop operated by the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild. Only the finest in hand-crafted goods are offered here, and all are crafted with care by one of the many talented artisans of the Southern Appalachians.

The park also offers miles of carriage trails which Cone originally built to access his many orchards, pastures, barns and other out-buildings. Most trails permit horseback riding, and all provide the perfect setting for those who love to hike.

Julian Price Memorial Park, located adjacent to Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, offers top-notch camping and picnicking facilities. Fishing is permitted in many nearby lakes, including most of those located within Cone Memorial Park. A state fishing license is required, and all state laws and regulations apply.

Moses Cone died in 1908 at the age of 51. Bertha outlived her husband by 39 years, leaving the entire estate to Greensboro's Cone Memorial Hospital when she died. The hospital then donated the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park to the U.S. Government in 1950, and it remains a unit of the National Park System today.

Moses H. Cone Memorial Park is located near milepost 294 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. For further information, stop by the Visitors Center located at Flat Top Manor.

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