Picturing the past: The Red House of West Probart Street
By Marcy Thompson
In honor of Preservation Month this May, we will run a series of reprinted articles about historic inns and hotels of Transylvania County written by local historian Marcy Thompson.
In the early 1900s West Probart Street was one of the most desirable streets to live on in Brevard. The residential area stretches for a little over half a mile beginning at Caldwell Street. It is convenient to downtown and was near the railroad depot in the days when many people arrived by train. The street is lined with large homes, most of which were built in the first quarter of the 20th century.
Located about a quarter of a mile from Caldwell at the intersection of West Probart Street and Depot Street is the Red House Inn. Originally constructed around 1851 as a general store, the Act Supplemental to the Laying Off and Establishing the County of Transylvania states that the county seat “shall be called Brevard, and shall be located within five miles of W.P. Poor’s store.” The store was owned by Leander S. Gash, with W. Probart Poor as the storekeeper. An 1868 map of Brevard identifies the street as Poor Street. The name was changed to Probart to portray a more affluent neighborhood.
Through the years the Red House has served as a family home, a boarding house, and for a short time as the Brevard Institute School. According to Martha Gash Boswell, “In 1912 the house was completely rebuilt and the (Gash) family returned to occupy one of its duplex apartments. Of the old home nothing except the setting was now recognizable.” Since the mid-1980s the Red House has operated as a Bed & Breakfast.
Today the tree-lined street remains a popular family neighborhood. It has one of the largest groups of architecturally and historically significant homes in Brevard. Several of the large and stylish houses were constructed by R. P. Kilpatrick, a prolific local builder, and at least two were designed by prominent Asheville architect Richard Sharp Smith. Most have been well maintained and preserved through the years. The homes on the north side of the street for the first three blocks have expansive views to the north from their back yards.
Photographs and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. This article is a reprint of a March 21, 2016 article written by local historian Marcy Thompson. For more information, comments, or suggestions, contact NC Room staff at [email protected] or 828-884-1820.