Today was the day we installed the Christmas lights on our bed and breakfast Inn. (8,600+ lights when finished) We have a couple of trees to finish decorating over the next couple of days but the 1899 Wright Inn will be ready to welcome guests with all of the holiday spirit.
1899 Wright Inn Asheville photo
We are the 5th couple to have had the honor of caring for this beautiful piece of history.
Each of the preceding innkeepers brought their own style and personality to the property. As stated in previous “Blogs” The Wright Inn and Carriage House is celebrating it’s 25 Anniversary as being a bed and breakfast. One little known fact is that it served as a home for many people prior to it’s latest life as a bed and Breakfast inn by housing borders for at least 50 of it’s previous years. We have had numerous folks stay with us that lived here in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Sharing their memories and hearing the stories they relay to us is very interesting.
Come stay with us and experience the feel and ambiance of a more gentle period in time.
In late November, The 1899 Wright Inn and Carriage House was selected by the Asheville Citizen Times Newspaper as their Home of the Week. Inspired by this article, we received a phone call from Jan and Mitch Mitchell of Asheville.
Seems they had a beautiful silver coffee and tea service that no one in the family wanted to inherit. When they saw photos of the Inn in the newspaper, they thought this would be perfect surroundings for their family’s treasure!!! Would we take it? Jan and Mitch came to the Inn with this beautiful gift which now sits in the formal parlor, looking perfectly at home.
Over the years we have received a few gifts that guests wanted us to have to add to the homes décor but nothing quite as fantastic as this gift. The Mitchell’s were very gracious and spent about a half hour touring the house and talking about how that silver service ended up here.
We enjoyed meeting them and thank them kindly for this beautiful gift. We told them that any time they or their daughters wished to visit the silver it was an open adoption and they were welcome to come by.
The silver has found a home and the Mitchell’s are very happy about it and so are we!!!
Our Holiday Biltmore Estate Package includes 2 daytime tickets (good for 2 consecutive days) to The Biltmore Estate including the Gardens, Antler Hill Village and Winery.
For guests staying at our bed and breakfast inn for three+ (3) consecutive weekday evenings (Mon-Thursday), we will provide 2 FREE Upgrades to The Biltmore Candlelight Extravaganza! Experience this beautiful home lit only by candlelight and firelight.
These passes MUST BE scheduled in advance due to being Date/Time specific, so please call (828) 251-0789 to reserve your tickets and request an entry time.
Tickets are reduced to $50.00 (per Ticket+tax). Candlelight Upgrades are NO CHARGE for our three night guests.
Offered November 30, 2014 through January 3, 2015.
For folks who have read the history of the inn on our website or some of our blogs, you are already aware that the O. B. Wright House (currently known as The 1899 Wright Inn and Carriage House) was designed by architect George F. Barber. He was an Illinois architect who sold his designs through mail order catalogs which pre-dated the Sears and Roebuck catalog homes idea.
During a very busy October, we were honored to have as our guests, Charley Hutchinson (grandson) and David Hutchinson (great-grandson) of George F. Barber. George was already dead by the time Charley was born, so he has no personal recollection of his grandfather nor any personal mementos; but they were thrilled to be staying in a home designed by their ancestor. We were happy to have these two delightful gentlemen staying with us.
-George F. Barber –
Builder of the
One of the many interesting facts about The 1899 Wright Inn is that it was designed by architect George Franklin Barber (1854-1915.) Barber is known for his residential designs which he marketed through a series of mail-order catalogs; sort of the front runner to the Sears and Roebuck Craftsman style houses.
He was born in DeKalb, Illinois and began his designing career there. He learned architecture through mail-order books. In the mid 1880s he produced his first architectural designs while working at his brother’s construction firm.
Around 1888, came The Cottage Souvenir, containing fourteen house plans on punched card stock and tied together with a piece of yarn.
Due to his declining health he moved to the mountains of Knoxville, Tennessee, about this same time. He became a business partner in the Edgewood Land Improvement Company, which was developing a suburb east of Knoxville known as Park City, and now known as Parkridge. He designed over a dozen houses for this suburb which included his own home that still stands at 1635 Washington Avenue.
Business really began to take flight when The Cottage Souvenir No. 2 that contained fifty-nine house plans along with plans for barns, a chapel, a church, several pavilions and storefronts. I can imagine Osella and Leva sitting down and going through an early catalog and choosing the plan that would become their home and eventually 1899 The Wright Inn and Carriage House.
Around 1895 Barber formed a new firm with Thomas Klutz and began publishing a magazine called American Homes that beside the usual house plans, offered tips on interior design and landscaping.
By the early 1900s, Barber had designed the home of C.L. Post, R.J. Reynolds, and one of his grandest designs, the $40,000 home for tycoon Walter G. Newman in Barboursville, VA.
At this time, he began to phase out his mail order business to focus on building projects. In 1902, American Homes moved to New York, but Barber stayed a regular contributor for several years. The catalog business was suspended in 1908 after selling upwards of 20,000 plans.
Most of Barber’s business was catalog architecture; but his great innovation was his willingness to personalize his designs of which the Wright Inn shows changes from his original plans.
Barber’s philosophy was that no place should adhere more closely to principles of nature than one owns house. He considered proportion the most important element and described ornamentation as the expression. To him, harmony of form also being important was the relationship of curved and straight lines to one another.
Early designs were modified versions of Queen Anne style which he liked to enrich with Romanesque elements. His creations featured imposing turrets, projecting windows, verandas flanked by circular pavilions. His later designs offered more plans in the Colonial Revival style that offered projecting porticos, supported by large columns, symmetrical facades and flat decks. He also offered bungalow and Craftsman style houses but few were built.
Some people think of Barber as the first to sell prefabricated houses in crates. But it seems he did not do any manufacturing. Occasionally he supplied builders with staircases, doors and windows and many millwork companies advertised in his magazine. It is not clear whether entire houses were sold as kits by anyone prior to 1900.
George Franklin Barber died in 1915. Since he learned architecture from books and sold his plans through catalogs, I can’t help but think he could really have used Amazon a lot during his lifetime.
He most likely never saw most of the houses that were created from his plans, but had he seen this grand house I feel he would be proud.