Blue Ridge Country May/June 2021 - 25

FACING PAGE: The weathered exterior of the mansion at
the Moses Cone Memorial Park undergoes restoration and
transformation. Completion is expected by the end of 2021.
LEFT: Workers at a preservation workshop in Greensboro,
North Carolina restore windows and other exterior elements.
BELOW: Ritz Construction, Inc. holds the project contract
and is working in collaboration with the NPS Denver Service
Center, which has preserved Mt. Rushmore, among others.

the windows, porch columns and the railing and balusters of the
widow's walk. A preservation workshop in Greensboro, North
Carolina is working to repair and restore these items to their
original condition.
Other renovations, continuing through the summer of 2021,
include replacing deteriorating wood siding, shingles, doors, the
porch ceiling, gutters and additional features.
The Moses Cone Memorial Park is easily accessible off the Blue

way through her property.
She wrote President Franklin D. Roosevelt about her concerns and she invited
dignitaries, including Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, to her home for dinner parties. This way they could see the
beauty of her estate for themselves. She
told them it would be a crime to route
the parkway through her land. Ickes reportedly assured her that no road would
be built there in her lifetime.
Part of her objection to the road was
that Bertha Cone did not want the public
to have access to her home. According to
Noblitt, " Bertha directed in her will that
the manor house be closed never to be
opened again for any purpose. That was
her private domain... Flat Top Manor
had been hers, and she wanted to keep
it that way. As time would tell, this wish

Ridge Parkway at Milepost 294. Guests are welcome to hike the
trails and explore the grounds, just as Moses and Bertha allowed
from the early days of the estate when they permitted public
horseback riding and other recreational activities.
Today's visitors can also soak in the myriad of crafts available
for sale on the main floor of the Flat Top Manor in a shop maintained by the Southern Highland Craft Guild. Open seasonally
mid-April to October. -MHM

would not be honored. "
After Bertha's death, money from the
estate paid for the creation of the Moses
H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro. It took four years to complete the
project, beginning in 1949 and reaching
its opening date in 1953.
Bertha also willed her estate to the hospital with her express wishes that it never
be sold to the National Park Service. Ownership of the property proved to be a costly burden to maintain. Hospital officials
took the will to the State Supreme Court
in 1950 and won the right to donate the
estate to the National Park Service to become part of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The expansive orchards that the
Cones planted are diminished today.
Likewise, many of the farm's buildings
and tenant housing disappeared as they

were sold, dismantled, and then repurposed elsewhere.
But Flat Top Manor remains as a stunning landmark at the Moses Cone Memorial Park, along with a carriage barn,
apple barn, the 25-mile system of multipurpose carriage trails that Cone designed, and the spirits of Moses and Bertha. A family cemetery is located on the
property. A popular 5.6-mile roundtrip
hike takes visitors from Flat Top Manor
to the Cone Cemetery and on to the Flat
Top Observation Tower, which offers incredible mountain views.
The Craftsman's Trail provides an option for a shorter stroll. It takes about 20
minutes to follow this path around the
Manor. Moses and Bertha were known
to walk together on this trail every
morning.

MAY/JUNE 2021

25



Blue Ridge Country May/June 2021

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