Updated: April 2019
Very Popular for Many Good Reasons
Beautifully situated on the Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 294 near Blowing Rock NC, the Moses H Cone Memorial Park is the former country estate of textile magnate Moses Herman Cone (1857-1908).
It is a scenic and popular destination for hiking, horseback riding and in the winter months cross-country skiing.
Between March and November, you can join one of the guided house tours.
The Manor House, called the Flat Top Manor, is also home to a bookstore and the Parkway Craft Center offering an assortment of contemporary and traditional crafts from regional artists. During the summer months, visitors can also join one of the craft demonstrations.
After assembling a 3,516-acre property between 1892 and 1899, Moses and his wife Bertha built an impressive manor house on the estate, which was completed in 1901. It was called Flat Top Manor, named after the nearby Flat Top Mountain.
The 22-room Colonial Revival mansion, designed by architect Orlo Epps, offered 13,000 square feet (1,200 m²) of living space with expansive views of the mountains.
Moses Cone himself designed more than 25 miles (40 km) of drives to enjoy the scenic rolling and mountainous terrain from his horse-drawn carriage. During their tenure on the estate, the Cones transformed a landscape of exhausted farmlands into a countryside retreat, “where visitors were introduced to the wonder and beauty of nature through the winding journey of Cone’s carriage drives, carefully considered plantings, overlooks and stonework features, an observation tower, and constructed water features.” They reclaimed and enhanced the soil, and planted native species to reforest eroded fields.
After Bertha’s death in 1947, the estate was later handed over to the National Park Service with the understanding to make it available to the public as a park. Despite several changes to the property in the 1950s and 1960s, “the structure, patterns of spatial organization, the system of carriage drives, ponds, key views and vistas, and many of the stone features designed by the Cones survive today or have been restored by the National Park Service.”
About Moses Herman Cone (1857-1908)
Moses Herman Cone and his brother Ceasar were the sons of a German immigrant from Bavaria, who came to America in 1895 and worked as a door-to-door salesman. Upon his arrival in the U.S., he changed his name from Hermann Kahn to Herman Cone.
At a time, when textiles were sold as unfinished cloth, Moses and Ceasar saw more value in offering finished clothing. However, it was only in 1895, when Moses and Ceasar purchased a defunct steel mill in Greensboro NC and developed it into a large cotton mill, the Proximity Cotton Mills, which produced blue and brown denim.
Just two years earlier in 1893, he had reorganized the C. E. Graham Manufacturing in Asheville, whose president he was. The reorganized Asheville Cotton Mills was located in today’s River Arts District.
He built further mills throughout the Greensboro area, and the South and soon became one of the biggest producers of the denim fabric in the world, supplying denim to Levi Strauss and Company, a relationship that the Greensboro firm retains to this day. Moses Cone died at age 51 in 1908.
Flat Top Manor and the Parkway Craft Center are open seasonally:
March 15 - November 30:
Mon. to Sun.: 9am to 5pm.
The park is open all year.
Flat Top Manor and the Parkway Craft Center are open seasonally from March 15 to November 30.
Free parking in the park.
The grounds are spectacular and the views breathtaking. Children can also enjoy craft demonstrations during the summer months.
25 miles of hiking trails lead visitors through forests and to various lakes on the vast property.
Flat Top Manor is home to a bookstore and to the Parkway Craft Center, which offers an assortment of contemporary and traditional crafts handmade by regional artists. During the summer months visitor can also join one of the frequently offered craft demonstrations.
Special strollers with large wheels may be able to access the trails.
The main grounds are accessible by wheelchair.
Restrooms are located in the Carriage House, a short walk from Flat Top Manor. Restrooms are also located at the parking lot of Bass Lake.