History of the Building
In the fall of 1907, the Reverend William Rutherford Savage, the local Episcopal priest, opened the Randall Memorial Workshop in Blowing Rock. Unknown local builders constructed the original building; featuring three rooms on the main floor and two rooms on the second floor, reached by an outside stairway. It was named for William George Randall (1860-1905), whose estate may have provided funds for construction. Randall, one of North Carolina’s most noted artists, was born in Burke County and obtained a degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He spent his summers in Blowing Rock and later moved there at the turn of the century.
The building provided facilities for spinning, weaving, basketry, and woodwork. Savage’s work in Blowing Rock is best remembered for the establishment of this workshop, its garden, and an exchange for the use of mountain people; where they were able to market their handicrafts, selling to tourists as well as markets out of the region.
Savage also organized a Men’s Social Club. The local men would enjoy, “a couple hours of companionship before the biggest open fireplace in Blowing Rock [in the Randall Memorial Building], eating apples, swapping yarns, and guessing riddles.”
In 1920, a two-story addition was added to the east end of the building, providing a kitchen on the first floor and a bath on the second. Around this time, windows were also added to the second floor rooms. Having survived a terrible fire in 1923, in 1936 the building was sold to the Blowing Rock Community Club, the original sponsor of the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show. The Club then began a small lending library within the building.
Around 1938, a resident of the second floor apartment in the Randall Building had a one-room cottage constructed on the property for use by the local Council of Girl Scouts. This building was later used by the Blowing Rocket to house interns and is now fondly referred to as, “The Nook.”
The building changed hands a couple more times before finally landing in the care of Annie and Andy Whatley, the present owners. Mrs. Whatley was responsible for bringing this unique building to the attention of the local Historical Societies and in March of 1991, it became officially recognized as a Historical Building on the National Register of Historic Places.