‘Summertime in Blowing Rock’

By Jeff Eason (eason@mountaintimes.com)

Article Published: May. 14 | Modified: May. 14
‘Summertime in Blowing Rock’

A Blowing Rock All Stars baseball uniform from half a century ago is part of the new exhibit at Blowing Rock Town Hall, featuring the theme, ‘Summertime in Blowing Rock.’

Photo by Jeff Eason

A lot can change in 50 years. Except in baseball.

One of the reasons a lot of people gravitate toward baseball as a sport is that it has stayed relatively unchanged since its inception. A strike is still a strike, a home run is still a home run. The distance from the pitcher’s mound to home plate is 60 feet and six inches, the same as it has been since 1893.

No, changes in baseball are usually made at a glacial pace. A slight exception to that rule is in the style of uniforms worn by the players. While the Yankees and Cardinals are still wearing the same style of uniforms they’ve worn for decades, other teams, such as the Diamondbacks and Rays, like to switch things around with a more modern twist.

The Blowing Rock Historical Society recently received a gift of a complete Blowing Rock All Stars baseball team uniform from the 1960s. It is now on display at Blowing Rock Town Hall, along with other items in an exhibit, titled “Summertime in Blowing Rock.”

“The uniform with full equipment from the 1960s is given by Perry Coffey to the Historical Society in memory of Hoyle Coffey and others who played on this team,” said Ginny Stevens of the Historical Society.

“Hoyle and Perry were twins, and their team was sponsored by their father, owner of Justin Perry’s Grocery Story, which was located where South Main Street meets Highway 321, where the Broyhill Furniture Showroom was located until recently.”

According to Stevens, the Blowing Rock All Stars were part of an adult league made up teams from Blowing Rock, Boone, Triplett and other towns and communities in the High Country. The teams were supported by local businesses and played each other on Saturdays and Sundays during the summer months.

Perry and Hoyle played on the Blowing Rock team off and on for a decade, as did Roscoe Pitts.
“Receiving this wonderfully intact uniform was the impetus for starting this exhibit of things that make summer a special time for so many residents,” Stevens said.

“Baseball, both soft and hard ball, was a summer treat for the players and the spectators. We thank Perry for sharing this memory-making outfit to celebrate summer in our village.”

The exhibit also includes a photograph of a truck sitting in front of Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church. A note on the back of the photo indicates that the men are John Greene, A. Butler Craig, Lloyd Robbins and John Clure. The men appear to be scraping Main Street. The photo is a gift from Betty Pitts and was in Hayden Pitts’ collection.

Another item in the exhibit is a painting of Blowing Rock’s historic Ice House created by artist Covington Cole Alexander of Charlotte. The building, believed to have been built in the late 1920s, is owned by the town and currently being used by the Historical Society.

“(We’re trying) to find the best use for this little structure with an exterior façade of Grandfather Mountain rock, which was used to store ice from Chetola Lake for the community,” Stevens said. “Ice was priced at 10 cents for 100 pounds. When we compare the ease with which we can get ice for a cool summer drink, it’s hard to believe that so much energy went into harvesting and storing the ice needed for the community.”

Over the years, the Ice House has been used as a radio and television repair shop, the ticket office of the Blowing Rock Stage Company and as the newspaper office for The Blowing Rocket.

The exhibit, “Summertime in Blowing Rock,” is on display at Town Hall, which is located at 1036 Main St. in downtown Blowing Rock. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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