Although Watauga County, like the rest of Southern Appalachia, has been historically stereotyped as heteronormative and homophobic, LGBTQ+ individuals exist here. They have made their own spaces and communities. As Kathryn Staley wrote in her seminal master's thesis, "Gay Liberation Comes to Appalachian State University (1969-1979)," students and faculty at Appalachian State University contributed to a broader culture of acceptance. LGBTQ+ history, however, is not strictly limited to the University, but rather encompasses Watauga County as a whole. This project highlights important places to local LGBTQ+ history and those who bettered their communities by educating, supporting, and being themselves.

This is a living site. We will continue to contribute to this mapping project and we invite anyone with information to assist us in better understanding our local LGBTQ+ history and culture.

How to Navigate this Site

We combine mapping, archival material, and historical research to illuminate the history and culture of Watauga county's LGBTQ+ communities. You may browse ephemera, photographs, letters, newspaper articles, and other documents on the "Interactive Map'' page, and browse history by location by selecting a particular site or structure's page. You can access these pages by either scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking “next,” or by clicking the ‘hamburger’ menu in the top right corner and selecting a specific page. 


This site was created by the following graduate students in Dr. Kristen Deathridge's Spring 2022 Digital History Class: Josie Brown, Collin Jewell, Tyler Lowe, and Whitney Sprinkle. Collin Jewell and Thomas McLamb conducted research and development for this project. We'd like to thank the Special Collections and Digital Collections (particularly Digital Scholarship & Initiatives) teams at Appalachian State University for providing us with the necessary resources required to complete this project. We’d also like to thank those who have improved this site through their review and feedback. 


If you have questions, comments, or concerns about the site's content, please contact Dr. Kristen Deathridge at baldwindeathridgekd@appstate.edu.

If you are experiencing  difficulty viewing the site, please contact Dea Rice at ricedm@appstate.edu

Trans Day of Remembrance Poster, 2014

Image of Richard Chase's Overhouse, 1961

MCC Flyer, 1993

MASC World AIDS Day Brochure, 1996

8th Annual Queer Film Festival Poster, 2007

Article from The Appalachian, 1979