Picturing The Past How Many Stories Can One Picture Tell?
Last updated 9/15/2021 at 1:49pm
One of the greatest parts about looking into history is seeing old photographs and discovering the stories behind these images of the past. Within each picture, there are numerous pieces of history that one could discover, using these clues to embark on a journey of discovery. The image included in this week's Picturing the Past led to three distinct stories of Transylvania history.
The first story is of the Hume Hotel, also known by the names Rock Hotel, Dunn's Rock Hotel, Stone Hotel and Connestee Hotel. It was built on the land of Robert W. Hume, just off the Greenville Highway near where Mud Dabbers Pottery is currently located. It is said that it was burned by bushwhackers during the Civil War, and the stone remains were a backdrop for the picture seen here.
The second story is of the Royal and Louise Morrow House. After the Hume Hotel sat in ruins for decades, Royal Morrow procured stones from the site to utilize in the construction of his home on East Main Street in 1915. The Hume Hotel was the earliest known stone building in Transylvania County, and it is interesting to note that the Morrow House is now the oldest surviving stone house in the county. The Wright brothers, the stonemasons who constructed many notable stone structures in the county such as the St. Philip's Episcopal Church and the stone gates at Brevard College, are said to have also constructed the Morrow House, though some debate that fact. The house itself is notable in that it was built, according to a design created by world-renowned Crafts-man-style architect Gustav Stickley, which was published in The Craftsman magazine of June 1909. The Morrow House is one of the most prominent in the historic East Main Street district.
The third story is of the Cantrell family. Seated before the ruins of the Hume Hotel is a family tableau featuring Perry Cantrell with wife, Hettie Raxter Cantrell, and sonm Walter Cantrell. Based on the fact that Walter is an infant in this picture, it was likely taken in 1912 or 1913, just a couple of years before the ruins were dismantled to be used in the Morrow House construction. Young Walter grew to have his own notoriety in the county as a woodworker. He learned woodworking through an apprenticeship in Tryon from the age of 15, in a style of learning that was common in Europe. He created Canter Woodworks in 1947, which was located on Highway 276 for many years and appeared in numerous newspaper and magazine articles during his career.
Each story leads to another and another, the details becoming mysteries in themselves. The layers of meaning that each archival item contains are immea-surable. What other stories are hidden in the archives, awaiting discovery?
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. This article was written by Laura Gardner. For more information, comments, or suggestions contact Laura at [email protected] sylvaniacounty.org or call (828) 884-1820.