The Doc Watson Statue
in Downtown Boone
DEDICATED IN 2011
Address: West King Street, Boone, NC
A Bronze Statue Of Doc Sitting On A Bench Playing His Gallagher Guitar
Even though Doc passed away a few years ago, the High Country will always be Doc Watson country. Throughout all the years and all of the accolades, Doc always lived just down the road in Deep Gap, which is a few miles from Boone.
His performing career began on the sidewalks of downtown Boone in the ‘40s. Being blind, he didn’t have many job opportunities, so Doc, who passed away at the age of 89, would walk the miles to downtown by himself with a travel cane. Upon arriving on the strip, he would strap a tin can to his guitar and play for tips.
In the summer of 2011, his career came “full circle” – as one of his picking buddies said – when John Cooper and the Downtown Boone Development Association dedicated a bronze statue of Doc sitting on a bench playing his Gallagher guitar, otherwise known as “Ol Hoss.”
The statue, located at the corner of King and Depot streets, has become a tourist attraction. Two years later, families still crowd around the statue and pose with the legend. Sitting next to Doc, musicians will pick a tune with their banjo or guitar, while kids have fun adorning Doc with a hat or sunglasses. On certain anniversaries, the bronze Doc is covered to its neck with colorful bouquets.
When the statue was unveiled, nearly 1,000 people attended the Doc Watson Statue Celebration concert at the Jones House in downtown Boone. Along with the icon, Clint Howard, Wayne Henderson, David Holt, Charles Welch, Herb Key and Creekside Grass played music to an enthusiastic crowd that eventually chanted “Encore! Encore! Encore!”
Doc was truly a legend, a gentlemen and a man of faith. At a press conference in 2011, Doc was asked, “What are you looking forward to most about playing [MusicFest ‘n Sugar Grove]?” Doc replied, “I am looking forward to entertaining some people and helping them enjoy themselves … To me entertainment is a pleasure, but my main motive is – and it’s going to get a little deep right here – when I started out in the folk revival, my main motive was to earn a living for a sweet little woman and two children.”