On Friday (May 17,2013) community members, officials with NCDOT, and descendants of the Yates family gathered to officially dedicate a section of highway 194 to the late Ed Yates.
Yates was involved in the building of many area roads including: 321 from Blowing Rock to John's River in Lenoir, highway 88 from Warrensville (in Ashe County) to the Tennessee state line and 194 from Valle Crucis to Elk Park (in Avery County).
Yates also played a key role in the efforts to bring electricity to some rural sections of Watauga County, along with being an integral part of what is now known as the last two room school house in the county. He is also credited with working with the Federal Housing Administration to make programs available to finance military housing and homes for returning veterans and their families after World War II and the Korean Conflict. Ed Yates passed away in 1959.
In his keynote remarks Division 11 NCDOT Board of Transportation member Jim Palermo told the packed Matney Community Center that the highway designation was requested by the Watauga County Commissioners and adopted by North Carolina Board of Transportation in January 2012. Palermo added that naming a road or bridge in memory of an individual is the highest honor that the NCDOT can bestow upon its citizens.
In remarks by Ralph Yates, a son of Ed Yates, he acknowledged the help and support of current and past Watauga County Commissioners including Nathan Miller, David Blust and Jim Deal in making the naming of the road possible. Yates also mentioned the efforts of former Senator Steve Goss in getting the recently completed highway 194 improvement project pushed through Raleigh.
The recent highway 194 improvement project was completed in October 2012. For past information about the project see this link – http://wataugaroads.com/cat/current-road-projects/194-current-road-projects/
The Ed Yates Highway is a four mile section of 194 from Valle Crucis to Hade Smith Road in the Matney community.
Audio from the dedication ceremony
Photos: Kenneth Reece
Perry Yates, Watauga County Commissioner, delivers opening remarks. Division 11 NCDOT Board of Transportation member Jim Palermo gives the keynote remarks.
Ralph Yates, son of Ed Yates, speaks to the crowd. The Honorable Phil Ginn – Senior Resident Superior Court Judge – gives closing remarks and prayer.
From left to right: Mike Pettyjohn – NCDOT Division 11 Engineer, Sam Halsey – Former Division 11 NCDOT Board of Transportation member, Jim Palermo – Division 11 NCDOT Board of Transportation member, Nathan Miller – Chairman Watauga County Board Of Commissioners
Ralph Yates shows the replica of the Ed Yates Highway sign