Mast General Store, Now in Its Second Century

The original Mast General Store. Image from the Mast General Store.

On April 3, 1973, the Mast General Store was added to the National Register of Historic Places.  After a century as a landmark in the mountain community of Valle Crucis, today it is an iconic symbol of the heyday of country stores and their role in life of rural communities.

Henry Taylor, originally a clock salesman from Davidson County, began the store as the Taylor mercantile business in the mid-1800s.  By the early 1880s he operated two general stores opposite each other on North Carolina Highway 194, then known as the Caldwell Watauga Turnpike. In 1898, he partnered with W. W. Mast, and the store’s name changed to Taylor and Mast.

Mast took sole ownership of the business in 1913, and changing its name to the Mast Store. Like Taylor before him, Mast grew the business along with the community, serving residents’ need for goods and a community center. The store sold local items traded by residents, including wild ginseng which reportedly made its way to markets in China.

The Mast family owned the store until the 1970s.  Then struggling to stay afloat, it closed in 1977.  In 1980, the business reopened under new ownership in the original Taylor and Mast Store building in Watauga County.

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