Valley Rewind: Black Mountain Inn

Courtesy of Swannanoa Valley Museum
Special to Black Mountain News
The Black Mountain Inn was originally built as a stagecoach stop circa 1830.

This photograph shows the Black Mountain Inn in Black Mountain. The inn was originally built as a stagecoach stop circa 1830. At the turn of the 20th century, the inn operated as the Franklin Humanitarian Home, a tuberculosis sanatorium, for several years. Then, in 1940, the property was purchased by Mary Aleshire and Daisey Erb. Aleshire was an art gallery manager in Palm Springs, Florida, and took it upon herself to restore and update the historic property. This was during the height of Black Mountain College's fame, so there was an emphasis put on the arts around the Swannanoa Valley. In 1942, the house was opened as the Oak Knoll Art Studio, which served primarily as a summer artist's retreat for Aleshire and her many famous guests such as Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Norman Rockwell, Helen Keller, Anne Sullivan, Joan Sutherland and many others. In 1965, in order to stop commercial development of the property, the Aleshire's sold the house to their caretaker, Jim Reid. The house was purchased again in 1989 and restored by its current owners, who transformed it into the Black Mountain Inn.