Celebrate local history and the anniversary of the Linville River Railway with the Town of Boone on Friday, May 3, during the First Friday Art Crawl in downtown Boone.
2019 marks the 100th anniversary of regular passenger and freight service to Boone on the Linville River Railway. The train service to Boone ended after the devastating 1940 Flood, but Boone would not be what it is today without the Linville River Railway. The railway, which first rolled into Boone in 1919, served the community for 20 years. The Linville River Railway, more commonly known as Tweetsie by locals, provided reliable access to Watauga County and Boone. Before the railway, roads in the northwestern corner of North Carolina were infamous for their rough and unreliable conditions, and many local roads mainly served exclusively as wagon trails. The Linville River Railway provided Boone and Watauga County with the first reliable transportation method for moving freight in and out of the region, which proved to be influential in changing the landscape of the town.
Join the Town of Boone in commemorating the Linville River Railway with a series of free events for the entire family to learn about the train's importance to Boone. The event kicks off at the Watauga County Public Library with train-themed crafts for kids at 4:00 PM on Friday, May 3. Following the arts and crafts program, the Watauga County Public Library will host a presentation with Eric Plaag called “When the Linville River Railway Came to Town.” There will also be a screening of the film “Take a Ride Inside the Linville River Railway.” The film will show footage of the train’s route between Boone and Shull’s Mills in the 1930s. Light refreshments will be provided.
Following the presentation and video, take a free walking tour through downtown Boone at 6:30 PM. The tour will focus on “Watch Boone Grow,” a construction campaign of the early 1920s. In addition, the walking tour will also feature key buildings in downtown Boone, which were erected between 1920 and 1940 as a direct result of the Linville River Railway. The walking tour will depart from the Watauga County Public Library and is weather permitting.
The celebration of the Linville River Railway 100th anniversary is hosted by the Town of Boone’s Historic Preservation Commission and Cultural Resources Department, the Downtown Boone Development Association, and the Watauga County Public Library.