The Ultimate Guide To Asheville and the Western North Carolina Mountains
The Ultimate Guide to Asheville & the Western North Carolina Mountains

The Online Version of the Best-selling Regional Guidebook

Susanna Pantas, Artist

Chestnut Hill
Historic District

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Chestnut Hill Historic District
   The Chestnut Hill Historic District is centered around Chestnut Hill, the apex of a knoll running west from Patton Mountain just 500 yards north of the center of Asheville. The neighborhood surrounding the hill was once an extension of the nineteenth-century residential streets that began a block off the city’s Public Square. This district is a relatively compact late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century residential neighborhood whose architectural styles and landscaping form a well-defined place. Tree-lined streets, brick-paved sidewalks and granite curbing are all unique features.

Practically all of the more than 200 buildings in the district were originally dwellings. Architecturally they range from the local in-town vernacular of the period to sophisticated versions of the nationally popular Queen Anne, Colonial Revival and Shingle styles.

The district dates from Asheville’s post-railroad (post-1880) boom period and its finer homes reflect the relative sophistication of the city’s more substantial citizens of that time. Besides a continuous growth in permanent residents, Asheville experienced an annual influx of thousands of summer and winter tourists and a number of Chestnut Hill “cottages” were built as high quality rental properties.

In this section, some of the more important houses will be presented as a self-guided driving tour. This is a very convenient way to see the Chestnut Hill district. Allow about an hour for the tour, and slightly more if you wish to park occasionally to get out and examine some of the buildings closer. As a note, Chestnut Hill District and the following two districts, Albermarle Park and Grove Park are very close together. It is possible to see all three of these important neighborhoods in a few hours.

Directions & Self-Guided Tour

Directions: Begin your tour by taking Merrimon Avenue north to Hillside Street. Turn right onto Hillside and go to second right North Liberty Street. Turn right onto North Liberty. A short distance on the left you’ll see a classic Victorian House

North Liberty Victorian House 76 North Liberty St.
A wonderful example of Victorian architecture, the elegant house is intricate in its detail and styling. It is a multi-gabled structure with flaring eaves and standing-seam tin roof, and has a square tower with a mansard-like shingled cap dominating the house adjacent to two projecting bays. The house’s elaborate porch features turned posts, a scroll-bracketed cornice above a ladder frieze and a Chinese-Chippendale-like balustrade. Currently the building is undergoing restoration. Continuing on North Liberty you will come upon the historic Beaufort House Bed & Breakfast on your left.

Beaufort House 61 North Liberty St.
This Victorian bed & breakfast is a grand 2˝-story pink Queen Anne style house built in 1895 by former State Attorney general and prominent Asheville resident Theodore Davidson. This elegant building features a roof line that sweeps down upon an ample veranda accented at its southern end by a fanciful pergola. Elaborate interior woodwork includes paneled wainscoting and a closed-stringer stairway with intricately carved newel post and balusters. The building has been wonderfully restored as Beaufort House Bed & Breakfast and is furnished with antiques and period furniture.

From this unique house continue down North Liberty and turn left on East Chestnut Street. Located just one block down are two wonderfully restored bed & breakfasts. Chestnut Street is noted for its many fine examples of Colonial Revival, Queen Anne-influenced and bracketed Victorian homes.

White Gate Inn & Cottage 173 East Chestnut St.
Known officially as the Kent House, it was built circa 1889 and is a tall 2˝-story Shingle style house. The building features tall exterior chimneys centered on minor gables. Mr. Kent who owned the house reportedly ran the Asheville Ice Company. Today it houses the White Gate Inn that is beautifully furnished with period antiques, fine furniture and collectibles. Directly across the street is the Chestnut Street Inn.

Chestnut Street Inn, Asheville NC, by Lee James PantasChestnut Street Inn 176 East Chestnut St.
Officially known as the William R. Whitson house, this Grand Colonial Revival House was built circa 1905. The house is constructed out of pressed brick and is two and a half stories with hip-on-hip roof with central Palladian dormer. The house, constructed for Whitson by J. M. Westall, has some of the finest woodwork in Asheville, including a graceful closed stringer stairway, beautiful arts & crafts wainscoting, and elaborate mirrored mantles. Today, Chestnut Street Inn welcomes visitors to its gracious and exquisite interior impeccably furnished with antiques and period decorations.Just down the street on the right is the Annie West House.

Annie West House 189 East Chestnut St.
Built around 1900, this picturesque half-timbered cottage was designed by Richard Sharp Smith. Standing 1˝ stories, it features a “veranda” across facade beneath a large central gable and smaller flanking dormers. This detail links it stylistically to early Biltmore Village architecture. Continue down East Chestnut to the Jeter Pritchard House.

Jeter Pritchard House 223 East Chestnut St.
This imposing two-story frame house was built by architect and builder James A. Tennent, who sold it to Sena-tor Jeter Conly Pritchard in 1904. Construction dates back to around 1895. The building is a boxy weatherboard form under a multi-gabled roof. The interior of the house features exceptional woodworking. Continue down East Chestnut to Charlotte Street and turn left. Take a right onto Baird Street and take your second left onto Albemarle Place to find The Carl Von Ruck House on your left.

Carl Von Ruck House (NRHP, LHL) 52 Albemarle Pl.
This rambling three-story house was built in three distinct stages by Dr. Carl Von Ruck, famed tuberculosis specialist who founded the Winyah Sanitorium on Sunset Mountain. In 1904 he bought twenty acres, including two houses that were on the property. One of the houses is incorporated into the north end of the present structure. In 1912 he built a separate house for his resident MDs just to the south and in 1915 he built between these two buildings, connecting them with a grand two-story music room with twin elliptic conservatories to either side. The music room features Viennese-crafted mahogany woodwork and houses Dr. Ruck’s sixty-seven rank Aeolian Organ, with 4800 handmade wooden pipes rising two stories behind a curved mahogany screen.

At this point, turn around and return down Albemarle Place to Baird Street. At Baird turn left and look on the left for the Edward I. Holmes House.

Edward I. Holmes House 60 Baird St.
Built around 1883, this wonderfully restored house is an elaborated frame two-story double-pile plan design. There is a hip roof with internal brick chimneys and gabled projecting bays on each elevation. Other unique features are chamfered posts on opaque shoulder brackets and an elaborate scrollwork balustrade. No other 20th-century building in Asheville, especially of the finer structures, is as little altered as this house.

Turn right onto Furman Avenue across from the Holmes House and continue down to East Chestnut Street. Turn right onto East Chestnut and just before you reach Charlotte Street you will see the white Thomas Patton House on your left. The main entrance is off Charlotte Street but virtually impossible to see from that direction because of the trees and landscaping.

Thomas Patton House 95 Charlotte St.
Built in 1869, the Thomas Patton House is a two-story frame house formally organized around central and traverse hallways. It has very interesting external features in chevron-latticed bargeboards. Tradition maintains that the house was built by black carpenters working from the plans of Thomas Patton. Patton was the grandson of James Patton, mayor of Asheville and active public servant.


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