Remembering Boone by Eric W. Plagg
Named for the frontiersman Daniel Boone, the town of Boone was first laid out in 1850 and officially incorporated in 1872. Nestled in an Appalachian stream valley, the town of Boone was initially little more than a sleepy, ramshackle county seat, prompting one 1888 visitor to describe it as a God-forsaken place. In 1899, the founding of the Watauga Academy (today's Appalachian State University) began a long history of synergy and occasional friction between town and gown. The 1918 arrival of the Linville River Railway launched the Watch Boone Grow campaign, turning Boone into a thriving commercial center. After World War II, improved roadways, cheap automobiles, and the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway made Boone a mountain tourism hub. The confluence of these forces--higher education, mountain tourism, and a commercial economy--has sometimes threatened Boone's identity, but Boone's reputation as an idyllic escape nevertheless endures.