Smith-McDowell House Museum, Asheville

Categories: History Museums, Museums
Inspirock Rating:
4/5 based on 40+ reviews on the web
The Smith-McDowell House is located in Asheville, North Carolina. It is the city's first mansion and oldest surviving house, and the oldest brick structure in Buncombe County.The house was constructed in the 1840s for James McConnell Smith. His daughter Sarah Smith-McDowell and her husband, William Wallace McDowell bought the house after her parents died. It is a blend of architectural styles dating from its original 1840 construction and additions completed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The floor plan is typical of Adam style, better known as Federal style in America.It is a double-pile plan, Flemish bond, five-bay mansion that features a double-tier porch semi-engaged beneath an extension of its gable roof. Each three-bay end wall has a pair of interior chimneys. The brick walls are 12 to 20 inches thick. The original Federal character that dominated the house's exterior remains in the large fanlights above the front doors and in the delicacy of the front porch that is supported by twelve slender fluted columns (six on each level). The house has corbelled cornices that feature dentils. The exterior of the building at one time displayed penciling, and remnants remain in several spots. Although much of the dwelling's original Greek Revival interior woodwork was replaced during a Neoclassical style remodeling in 1913, the second floor's mantels, window frames, and door frames are original, dating from the 1840s. A one-story semicircular sunroom was added to the southern end wall in the late 1880s.
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  • Excellent docent..a walk through North Carolina history...the rooms are furnished to reflect the period of time and the use of the room..I asked so many questions and received insightful information a...  read more »
  • The first brick house built in Asheville/Buncombe County, so it is also the oldest house. We were immediately engaged by the knowledgeable docents and fascinated by the breadth of the history in this ...  read more »
  • We watched a short video then were able to explore the house. The guides were always nearby to answer questions. This tour would also be nice for elementary aged children as you can actually touch and...  read more »
  • Staff was knowledgeable, but not a lot to see. Still a nice historical stop.
  • A beautifully restored 1840's house showing how the super rich lived during the last half of the 1800's. Beautiful antique furniture, china, and other house furnishings, Great historical descriptions of life prior, during, and after the civil war in a part of the south which did not actually have any battles. No demonstrators, or even the facility to have them, at this time.
  • My husband wanted to tour the house on his birthday and after entering we watched a quick video. Then Sharon took us on a facinating tour. She is so very knowledgeable and passionate about the house it was contagious!!!
  • One of the most beautiful, charming and interesting houses I have ever seen. A wonderful place to take the family. They have a blacksmith to show you how they made things back in the day, people sitting out on the front porch spinning yarn and making brooms from hay, by hand of course. And sometimes they have people dressed really fancy like they use to, just strutting around the house. I love it. I plan on volunteering there soon so I can walk about the house like I really did live in that time (and hopefully using that hoop skirt I bought that my mom said I'd never wear).
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