The Allison-Deaver House typically opens in mid-May, but this year’s opening may be delayed because of a number of interior and exterior repairs begun in the spring. Its trails and gardens, however, remain open to the public at any time.
In 1815, when most mountain dwellings were log cabins, Benjamin Allison of Maryland built a two-story six-room frame house based on the design of row houses in England and East Coast America. Allison, who had 11 children and perhaps needed more space for his family, sold the little house to William and Mary Patton Deaver in 1830. By 1840, the house had more than doubled in size and by 1860 the Charleston-inspired double porches had been added. The Deaver home included seven slaves and 5,117 acres in scattered locations. In 1987, the by-then derelict house was scheduled for demolition in favor of being used for a shopping center.
Alarmed that this local historic touchstone would be lost, the Transylvania County Historical Society was quickly formed to raise the funds to purchase, stabilize and restore it. Today, the Allison-Deaver House, located at 2753 Asheville Highway in Pisgah Forest, is the oldest standing frame house in western North Carolina. It is designated a Local Landmark and is also on the National Register of Historic Places and the North Carolina Civil War Trail. Many of the original architectural features are intact and the furnishings, many from the Deaver family, reflect the different eras of ownership.
The following events are scheduled:
•House tours: Guided tours are offered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, except when there is a festival in downtown Brevard, or by special appointment for schools and organizations. Admission is by voluntary donation.
•Sunday History Talks at 2 p.m. at the Allison-Deaver House Barn are free. Bring a chair. June 11, The 18th Century Surgeon; July 9, Beekeeping Demonstration; Aug. 13, TBA; Sept. 10, History of McGaha Chapel. •June 4: Old Time Singing at 2 p.m. at McGaha Chapel.
•Oct. 21: Storytelling at the Barn. House closes for season. The Transylvania County Historical Society is a private, nonprofit organization with 501(c)3 tax status and is not a part of any government agency. For more information, call (828) 884-5137 or go to www.tchistoricalsociety.com
The McGaha Chapel
The Transylvania County Historical Society also oversees the McGaha Chapel in Cedar Mountain. It is the county’s oldest surviving church building. Completed in 1872 during the Reconstruction period following the Civil War. It was built by a group of rural neighbors who sought to help bring together and heal the tensions of divided loyalties surrounding the war that had torn apart families and friends. Sitting on a knoll just off Halley Cove Road, the chapel served the community for more than 50 years. Now carefully preserved, it is used for weddings, community sings, special tours and occasional worship services. To see the chapel, travel seven miles from Brevard along U.S. 276 South to Halley Cove Road in Cedar Mountain.