The Town of Boone, in cooperation with the State of North Carolina’s Historical Marker program, designated its first marker (documenting Boone’s statewide significance in the ginseng trade) in November 2015.
In 2017, the Town of Boone applied for a state marker covering the tragic 1940 Flood, which devastated Boone and Watauga County and killed at least 16 local residents. Ultimately, the state’s marker committee determined that the 1940 Flood “was a subject of local significance” and not worthy of statewide commemoration through the state’s historical marker program.
Shortly thereafter, the Boone Town Council authorized the creation of a Boone Historical Marker program, with the 1940 Flood as the first topic of the new initiative. Ever since, the Boone Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) has reviewed and evaluated proposals for the town’s historical marker program, authoring the marker designation report or working with applicants to co-author reports that provide sufficient historical documentation to justify local marker designation. The HPC is continuously at work on new local historical marker proposals and currently maintains a list of topics for new markers as funds permit.
To propose a topic for a historical marker, please use the submission box at the bottom of this page.
Councill's Store (In Progress 2022)
The town now known as Boone earned its first post office stop in 1823, when the small village was designated as Councill’s Store, in honor of the small store run by Jordan Councill, Jr. The original store was located on the north side of West King Street, opposite the current site of Boone Town Hall.
The Junaluska community is one of the oldest, intact communities of color in western North Carolina. Beginning with free and enslaved individuals who settled the hillside prior to the Civil War, the community began to coalesce by 1898, when residents built the Boone Methodist Chapel. By 1918, Junaluska featured a Black primary school, numerous residences, and the Boone Mennonite Brethren Church. Despite the injustices of segregation and racial inequality, Junaluska remains a vital part of Boone’s history.
Detail crop from a 1954 image by Palmer Blair, courtesy of Sarah Lynn Spencer and the Digital Watauga Project.
To view the Junaluska Historic Marker Ceremony Program, watch the video linked here.
In mid-August 1940, a hurricane stalled over western North Carolina. More than 13 inches of rain fell in the span of three days. Ensuing floods caused more than 2,000 landslides and killed 16 people. Boone was cut off from the outside world for days.
One casualty of the flood was the tracks of the Linville River Railway. The flood permanently ended train service to the railway’s eastern terminus at Boone.
Image from the Paul and Ruby Weston Collection, Digital Watauga Project.
Ginseng, a native root, has been prized worldwide for its medicinal uses and harvested by Watauga County locals since the 1800s. Traders like Besty Calloway and Bacchus Smith were particularly renowned for their harvests during the 19th century. In the 20th century, Wilcox Drug Company of Boone, located at that time on Howard Street, rose to national prominence as the world’s largest exporter of botanicals, including local ginseng.