It was the Old Buffalo Trail that led both Native Americans and Daniel Boone to the site of present-day Boone, North Carolina, at an elevation of 3,333 feet. Located among the scenic and cool mountains of the High Country, Boone was for a long time a seasonal hunting spot with only a few settled families. After the Civil War the community's population began growing, and in 1899, the tiny town of Boone included 150 residents. In the 1880s, the treacherous and steep Boone and Blowing Rock Turnpike began to bring commerce and visitors to the mountains. Although this remote town was an unlikely location for a school, Watauga Academy was established in 1899, and it would later become Appalachian State University, one of the top-ranked Southern public colleges.