Smith-McDowell House and Museum

This historical home was built in the 1840’s as a summer home for a local Asheville hotel owner. Besides owning the hotel he also owned a toll bridge which was the only town access. This savvy businessman owned 100 slaves who worked in his residence and hotel. In 1850, 13% of the Asheville population were slaves, and the area was a prime tourism site. It was a gateway to the West and visitors felt the climate cured tuberculosis.

The owner could watch from the balcony of his home bridge tolls being paid.

The home transitioned through several owners in its lifetime with the Western North Carolina Historical Association eventually purchasing the property. There are few original pieces however this period home is appropriate to time and era. Here are some of the rooms:

The Dining Room
The Kitchen in the home’s cellar
An upstairs bedroom
Another Parlor View
Bedroom and nursery

For Black History Month there was an exhibit on area black citizens at the home. As individuals left slavery they began businesses and grew their entrepreneurial talents. Varied paths were chosen. Many developed businesses in laundry, sewing, hair dressing and boot legging. Others continued to work the land, and later some began businesses in auto repair. A fascinating exhibit.

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