Celebrating Durward Julian: County renames road to honor Roan Mountain man
Published 8:52 am Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Over the 100 years of his life, Roan Mountain citizen Durward Julian has served, through many different means, the communities of Carter County and Roan Mountain.
And on Sunday, many friends, family, county officials and member of Julian’s community met at the intersection of what was formerly known as the Old Highway 143 and Highway 143 to celebrate Roan Mountain’s newest centenarian.
The festivities culminated in the unveiling of a road sign that bears the name of Julian. The unveiling comes after a resolution that was passed on April 18 by the Carter County Commission to rename a portion of the Old Highway 143 to “Durward Julian Drive” in commemoration of Julian’s many contributions to the community.
“It is just a testament to this man and his commitment to this community,” said Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey, who started the celebration by reading aloud the resolution to rename the road. “He has touched so many lives in the hundred years in both his family, the church, and the community.”
“I have heard nothing but great comments today,” he continued. “It is just a blessing for me to have the opportunity to have part in something like this.”
Julian’s daughter, Vista Clark, who worked along with family and community members to get the road renamed after her father, was moved by the number of individuals who showed up for the ceremony and the support from the community that her father has served over the last 100 years.
“It is a day that we are very appreciative of and thankful that God let him live to see a hundred years,” Clark said. “The community support has just been marvelous. Family came from all across the United States too.”
Also on hand Sunday was county commissioner Danny Ward, who was a sponsor of the resolution.
“We are honoring Mr. Julian, because of a hundred years of dedicating his life to his community and everything he has done for Carter County, especially Roan Mountain, because Roan Mountain is his home,” Ward said. “We really appreciate his service.”
Members of the Cloudland High School drumline, played a few pieces of music during the celebration. As a former chairman on the Carter County School Board, Julian supported the start of the band program at Cloudland High.
The list of things Julian has done for Roan Mountain is a long one. A lifelong citizen of Roan Mountain, Julian fought for improvements to many areas of Roan Mountain. He helped secure funding and support for the Roan Mountain State Park, the Carter County Work Camp, and obtaining a paved road to the top of Roan Mountain.
As a charter member of the Roan Mountain Citizens Club, Julian has helped organize and host the annual Rhododendron Festival. Julian is also a charter member of the Roan Mountain Fire Volunteer Department, which he has supported throughout his life.
Julian is the only living charter member of the old Magill Memorial Presbyterian Church, where he served in many different roles.
Clark, while working to get a portion of Old Highway 143 named after her father, circulated petitions throughout Roan Mountain to gather support for the resolution. After much work, Clark was happy to see her dream become a reality Sunday.
“This is just something that I wanted to see happen,” she said. “He never wanted recognition for things he did, and I tried to think of something we could do for him that he would enjoy and the community could remember him by when he is gone.”