Junaluska Neighborhood Park

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A photograph of the American Legion Junaluska Park Sign at Junaluska Park, in the Junaluska community in Boone, North Carolina.

The Junaluska Neighborhood Park, also known as the Junaluska City Park, is an eight-acre section of land important to the Junaluska community. In the book, Junaluska: Oral Histories of a Black Appalachian Community, community members share fond memories of time spent in the park throughout their childhood, and note events held in the park that were important to the community.

Junaluska Neighborhood Park resides on land that the American Legion has owned since August 1923. The deed for the land includes racial restrictions which note that the land can never be conveyed to a person of African descent. This racially restrictive covenant contrasts and could obscure the usage of the land by the Junaluska community.

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A photograph of a tree fort in the trails surrounding Junaluska Park, showing the continued use of imaginative play in the park.

In Junaluska: Oral Histories, community members like James McQueen Sr. share memories of times like Independence Day, where the Watauga American Legion would host events for watching firework displays. McQueen also recalls that, prior to World War II, the land was undeveloped and covered in numerous white pines and chestnut trees. Other community members, like Joseph Henry Grimes and Lynn Jackson Patterson, echo these fond memories of the park by sharing stories of playing in the woods and piles of sawdust where the Junaluska Neighborhood Park is now. 

Junaluska Park was not only important to the younger generations in Junaluska, but to the whole community as a gathering place. Since the Black Pentecostal, or Holiness, church did not have a permanent building in Junaluska, they used Junaluska Park to host tent revivals. These revivals were led by Junaluska community members Allen and Rossalee Hagler until the 1950s, when the two brothers moved away to Washington D.C. and Jonesville, North Carolina. Many community members, like Roberta Jackson, note the importance of religion to Junaluska and how many of her memories growing up involved attending religious events.  

The Junaluska Heritage Foundation was formed in 2002 and raised funds to aid community members, before eventually being superseded by the current Junaluska Heritage Association, which was formed in 2011. While the Foundation only lasted for a few years, the Junaluska Heritage Foundation hosted events like the Thrill on the Hill Blues Festival to assist in fundraising for the community.

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A photograph of the Junaluska Neighborhood Park Rules.

Currently, Junaluska Neighborhood Park is still owned by the Watauga American Legion and is maintained by the Town of Boone. The park features a children's play area, a large basketball court, a covered pavilion, and a series of trails through the surrounding woods. Junaluska Park continues to be a place for both the Junaluska community and the surrounding communities to gather.

Junaluska Neighborhood Park