The 1899 Wright Inn Asheville Bed and Breakfast

Asheville Bed and Breakfast

Asheville B&B Fall Greeting

The Builder of the 1899 Wright Inn Bed and Breakfast

-George F. Barber –

Builder of the  

1899 Wright Inn and Carriage House

George F. Barber

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. 

Mountain Fall Colors

2014 Fall Color Prediction

 Visitors already want to know the predictions for leaf season this year…………

Chimney Rock Park

To prepare to answer this question, I went through the Asheville Citizen Times archives dating from 2000-13.  I wanted to get a general feel for how the color change was predicted to be on a yearly basis.

Here are some quotes on what previous articles said about how the color would appear in a given year:  “rains might put a damper on best colors, good but spotty color this year, leaf color below average, trees are stressed by drought-the outlook is not promising, good but spotty color on the horizon, expect a good fall leaf season, too much rain-poor color.”  There is a great quote from John Boyle, one of my favorite columnists.  “…if we get hurricane remnants or just some windy days when the leaves are turning, that could leave us with thousands of tourists staring at a bunch of mortified, nekked hardwoods…..”

Generally speaking, most of the gurus of ecology and biology, give us a poor performance prediction.

Having lived my whole previous life time in Michigan and enjoyed great seasons of color there, I will make my color prediction for the mountains based on the experience of nine previous seasons here, with our eleventh year coming up…….Nature will put on a terrific show as she always does.  I’ve never heard a guest say “Boy, this is lousy color this year.”  We have never been disappointed by the spectacular show around us.

Despite all the gloomy forecasts, during droughts, rains and winds, I have never seen a season in these mountains that was not stunning.

Falls at Chimney Rock ParkPeople always call and say, “when is the best time to be there?”  My answer is usually, anytime from late September until often times the first part of November.  There’s always good leaf color somewhere.  If we are not in full color in Asheville, a short ride up in the mountains to a higher elevation will provide all the color you could ever imagine.

So pick your time, it does not have to be the second weekend in October which some folks think is peak.  Book early so you’re not disappointed and you can get that room with a fire place. October is usually our busiest month.  So call us or book on line so you do not miss out on enjoying one of the best shows nature has to offer.

Update 2014:  The first color report of the season is in and true to form, the “experts” are saying that Western North Carolina likely is headed toward a less than spectacular fall leaf season unless weather conditions become considerably drier, that consistent rain which is good for the over-all health of trees is bad for leaf color.  Well, the last week and a half has been dry with temps in the upper 80′s which is unusual for this time of year, but should be good for the color!!!!

Carriage House is Family Friendly

A Family Vacation Hideaway

The Wright Inn’s “Carriage House” is a perfect choice for family vacations and reunions. It is designed to accommodate children of all ages!

The recently remodeled interior has a cottage feel and features three bedrooms and two full baths. A full continental breakfast is provided in the Carriage House dining room and galley kitchen. You’ll have everything you need to be fueled and ready for your Asheville getaway!

Check out our specials and packages to make your stay even more memorable. When you’re ready to plan your vacation at our Asheville Bed and Breakfast Inn, give us a call at 828-251-0789!