The Transylvania Times -

Silvermont's Centennial - Brevard, NC


May 18, 2017

Most Southern towns have a few old two-story mansions with wraparound porches and gardens left, reminders of a time long passed when a wealthy scion served as patriarch for the entire community. But many such mansions have fallen into disrepair and some have been demolished to make room for more modern structures. The latter was once a fate that Silvermont faced.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s there were serious discussions about having Silvermont, the home of quintessential businessman Joseph Silversteen, demolished and converted into modern living quarters. In 1981, however, the county commissioners had the foresight to preserve the property and approved the creation of a volunteer group to supervise repairs and prepare a plan for multiple uses of Silvermont. Thus, The Friends of Silvermont were formed.

There was a tremendous amount of work to be done. The second floor was extensively renovated to preserve not only the structure itself, but many of the artifacts it housed. The second floor now serves as a museum. Other projects, such as replacing the windows and repairing the benches, were completed.

Behind the home, a large herb garden was constructed. A walking trail around the perimeter of the property was restored and a new playground geared more toward younger children was built. These are just a few of the many projects that have been done over the past four decades to refurbish and enhance all aspects of Silvermont.

Though The Friends of Silvermont took the lead role, there have been dozens of other groups, such as the Transylvania County Historial Society and the French Broad Gardeners Club, that contributed many hours of labor in supporting and improving Silvermont. Many individuals also chipped in with either monetary donations or their own time. Due to the efforts of hundreds of volunteers, Silvermont offers many things to many residents.

It has served as the site of several Easter egg hunts and wedding receptions. It has been home to a Thursday evening music jam and more recently the Opportunity Center for senior citizens, as well as a place where the latter can partake of meals. Local organizations have used the downstairs for many special events, including a place where schoolchildren used to meet Santa Claus among decorated Christmas trees as part of a benefit for the local Children’s Center. More recently it has been home to some spectacular Halloween decorations.

When school is out and the weather is warm, the playground, and basketball and tennis courts are often in use. Those who prefer a more leisurely pace can take the walking trails, learn about gardening or just sit and relax on benches throughout the property.

Regrettably, the weather did not cooperate last Saturday when Silvermont’s Centennial celebration was held and the turnout, as would be expected, was rather small.

But one day does not make a year. Since 2017 is Silvermont’s centennial, there is no better time to take advantage of all that Silvermont offers. And it’s a proper time to thank all of those who have worked so hard to preserve Silvermont and make it a functioning, historical place.


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