|This photograph was likely taken in the mid-1890s.
Alexander England (right) died on March 6, 1896.
The early photograph of Main Street in Brevard looking
west toward Bracken Mountain shows wooden storefronts along a wide dirt
street. The three men in the photograph
are identified as Jim Paxton, Wait Gash, and Alex England.
England, L.S. Gash (father of Wait Gash), and B.C.
Lankford sold 50 acres to Transylvania County for $1.00 to establish the county
seat of Brevard on June 8, 1861. Because
of the Civil War and its aftermath the town was not incorporated until July
1868. Over the next 20-30 years it grew
slowly with the stores and businesses being built near the new brick court
house and westward along Main Street.
The large house on the north side of the street, located
where the Proper Pot is today, was originally the home of Nathan and Lizzie
McMinn. It also served as one of the
early boarding houses in Brevard. After
Nathan McMinn’s death in 1902 his son, Nat owned the property but leased it to
various proprietors. A 1904 notification
for a new manager described the house as having 11 bedrooms, bathrooms on both
floors, a parlor, an office, and two large sample rooms. A sample room was a place for traveling salesmen
to display their merchandise for local storeowners who may be interested in
selling it in their stores.
In 1907 Nat McMinn sold the house to his brother, John
who also owned the Aethelwold Hotel just down the street. Advertisements for the McMinn House and
announcements of guest staying there are plentiful through 1910. In early December 1910 several different
groups held oyster or chicken suppers at the McMinn House.
However, a November 10, 1910 announcement in the Sylvan
Valley News stated that J.M. Kilpatrick would soon tear down the old McMinn
House. By late December all that
remained was the lumber which the Shipman, McMinn, Weilt Company used to
build three cottages. The group built a
new three-story brick building on the site of the former McMinn House.
|Don Voltz’s photograph shows West Main Street with its
early 20th century brick buildings as it looks today.
Downtown Brevard was booming and large brick structures
were replacing the smaller wooden storefronts and old homes along Main Street.
Photographs 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 [email protected]