North Carolina Historic Sites
Allison-Deaver Historic House In The Blue Ridge Mountains
What if there was a special place where time stood still, but all around it life went on as usual? Here among the many treasures safeguarded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, Transylvania County offers just such a remarkable site – the Allison-Deaver House. Revived as a house-restoration museum, history envelopes you upon crossing the threshold of this pioneer mountain home. The oldest known standing frame house in Western North Carolina, it was never altered with modern conveniences like electric wiring, indoor plumbing, heating and insulation; not even closets were added.
Take the time to seek out this unique historic experience and you will be treated to working fireplaces and original paneling, as well as surviving early paint finishes, hardware and intact original molding and trim. The neighboring barn even holds a collection of early farm tools.
This property has defied the odds, as time seems to have stood still here. But it wasn’t by accident that we experience the Allison-Deaver house today as it was then. Conscious efforts have been made to preserve the original historic feel of this home for future generations.
The original construction of the house is credited to Benjamin Allison, who moved his family from the Old Fort area. A symbol of the prosperity achievable in the mountain economy, the style and size of the house was unique to the mountains of Western North Carolina in the 1800s. It was eventually sold in 1830 to William Deaver, a land speculator, merchant and farmer. Benjamin Allison’s house was enlarged as Deaver raised a family and eventually acquired over 1,000 cultivated acres at different locations.
The age of the house has been fairly well documented. Along with an early deed dating the sale of the house and land, wood studies have determined that the timbers were cut sometime around 1815, using southern yellow pine and oak. The barn lumber is dated circa 1827.
As with all old homes, legends live in the history of this one as well. One such story tells us that Davy Crockett visited the house, and since both he and William Deaver married Patton women, there may well be some truth to this speculation. Further proof of their acquaintance with one another lies in a document found in 1995 where Col. D. Crockett and William Deaver signed a notarized debt together in 1833.
Another tale found its way into Transylvania County lore. William Deaver’s son James, a Captain in the Confederate army, was home on leave when his father was shot and killed in his own home. It seems James was responsible for rounding up deserters during the war, and it was a band of such deserters bent on revenge that shot William, mistaking him for his Confederate Captain son.
Preserving this home for the future began in the fall of 1987 when the Transylvania County Historical Society saved the property from becoming a shopping center. This rescue effort was made possible by an anonymous gift toward the purchase of the house and its 3.7 acres of premium land. Restoration to date includes stabilizing nearly every part of the very old and much neglected home, as well as rehabilitation of the siding, roof, porch, windows and chimney.
A new weathervane sits atop the 1890 barn, hand-crafted and aged by a local Transylvania County resident. This addition not only revives the aged look of the barn, but it serves as another reminder of a simpler time in American history.
The Allison-Deaver House is on the National Register of Historic Places and holds its place among the architectural treasures of North Carolina. So, as you travel NC 280 through Transylvania County, be sure to stop in for a tour. Enjoy the beauty of the surrounding outdoors, lunch at the picnic tables provided, or take a relaxing stroll on the Marge Flesne Nature Walk, planted by the Transylvania Garden Club.
added: December 18, 2008
updated: December 22, 2008