The Transylvania Heritage Museum, located at 189 W. Main St. in Brevard, is fittingly located in a house that has been a part of the county’s history for more than 100 years.
The home was built in the 1890s by Thomas England, a nephew of Alexander England, one of the three men who donated land to build the town of Brevard in 1861. England owned a dry goods business housed in the current site of O.P. Taylor’s toy store in downtown. He raised three daughters — Edith, Ethel and Bertha — in the house and later built two other houses beside this one, and gave each daughter a home to live in.
The house that became the museum belonged to Edith and her husband, Harry Patton, who served as the Brevard town manager in the 1930s and was instrumental in bringing Harry Straus and the former Ecusta plant to the county. The house remained in the family until the 1980s and was then moved back from the street when the property was developed.
Today, locals and visitors can find a wealth of information about the county’s heritage, including a variety of exhibits, photographs and collections that will interest old and young, seasoned or aspiring historians. The museum is actively involved in educational programming for schools, civic groups, community centers and educators who are interested in learning more about Transylvania County.
The museum’s Teaching Trunk Program, funded in part by a grant from the Transylvania Endowment of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina and the Pisgah Forest Rotary Club, is used in Transylvania County Schools as a resource that makes history come alive for students.
Guided walking tours, which explore different areas of Brevard, are scheduled for the second Saturday of each month. Off-schedule tours can be arranged for groups of six or more.
Check www.brevardwalkingtours.com for tour details, dates, and times. The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.transylvaniaheritage.org or call (828) 884-2347.