The Biltmore is the biggest (no surprise there). The Smith-McDowell House, built in 1845, is the oldest. But those are only Asheville’s superlative mansions.
If we’re talking the whole scope of important edifices in Western North Carolina, the lesser-known Allison-Deaver House near Brevard takes top honors. Built in 1815, it is the region’s longest-surviving frame house.
As such, it claims a complicated history. Busy citizen Benjamin Allison, the father of 11 children, constructed his home in the vertically oriented style of northern row houses. When he sold the towering structure in 1830, the new owner, William Deaver, doubled the house’s size and added a competing Southern touch: double verandas.
Relatively rare in our part of the state, Deaver was a rich planter who owned slaves. Within its unique architecture, the house shelters the world-changing history of the 19th century, and stands as a living portrait of the conflicting mountain loyalties during the War Between the States. Today, the property is part of the North Carolina Civil War Trails Program.
In more recent history, 1987, a handful of years after a major chunk of downtown Asheville was nearly razed to make way for a shopping mall, the Allison-Deaver House was also slated for demolition. Luckily, both parcels survived. And this Saturday, July 25, the Transylvania County site will host a big, old-fashioned party.
In honor of the house’s 200th birthday, the event (held 10am-4pm) will include food, tours, kids’ events, crafts, and live music by the award-winning, appropriately named band Carolina Blue. It’s history, and it’s still happening.
Free. 2753 Asheville Hwy., Pisgah Forest. 828-884-5137. www.tchistoricalsociety.com. On Facebook: Allison-Deaver House Bicentennial Country Fair.