|The Rosman home of Joseph and Elizabeth Silversteen was a gathering
place for the community at Christmas in the early 1900s.
In the early 1900s Mr. and Mrs. Silversteen opened their Rosman
home each year for all to see the tree and share the spirit of the Christmas season. Unlike today, many families did not have a
Christmas tree in their home but rather enjoyed community festivities like this
one offered by the Silversteens. Trees
and decorations were only displayed for a few days so the celebration was held
on or near Christmas Day.
A 1908 description of the Silversteen event states, the tree was
beautifully trimmed and surrounded by miniature toy animals. A little green and red picket fence completed
the scene. Entertained was provided in
the form of a phonograph player. The
Silversteens shared gifts of oranges and candy for their guests.
|Silvermont’s front doors decked out for the season in 1941.|
After moving to Brevard, Mr. Silversteen continued the
tradition of distributing Christmas treats to the children of Rosman from his Gloucester Lumber office. He held a similar annual
event for the children of employees of his Transylvania Tanning operation in
In a 1931 appreciation of Mr. Silversteen, Rev. Ernest
Norwood wrote, “He gave hundreds of dollars away every Christmas to the poor
and needy, and helped every worthy cause throughout the year as it came along.”
The Transylvania Heritage Museum and Friends of Silvermont
have revived the Silversteen spirit of sharing with an Open House at Silvermont
following Brevard’s Christmas parade on Saturday, December 7. The Second Floor House Museum showcasing the
Silversteen family will be open from 4:30-7:00.
A Christmas tree, music and treats are part of the free festivities.
and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina
Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the NC Room during regular library
hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see additional
photographs. For more information, comments, or suggestions contact Marcy at