Home | Whats New | Site Index | Search

Dougherty Heights Historic District

Black Mountain Town, Buncombe County, NC

The Dougherty Heights Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [‡]


The Dougherty Heights Historic District in the mountain town of Black Mountain, North Carolina encompasses a residential neighborhood that developed immediately north and northwest of downtown Black Mountain in the early twentieth century. The Dougherty Heights Historic District is a compact district with a mix of early twentieth century architectural styles, large boarding houses, well-detailed Craftsman Bungalows, and mid-century infill. The neighborhood was largely built on land once belonging to Silas Dougherty, the Kerlee family, and J.W. McKoy and has been home to many prominent families deeply involved in the town's civic and social affairs. The earliest houses in the Dougherty Heights Historic District belonged to Silas Dougherty and his descendants, but development began in earnest around 1913 when the Dougherty, Kerlee, and McKoy property was platted.[1] Commercial development on State Street (US Route 70) to the south and Montreat Road (NC 9) to the east roughly defines the extent of the district as it borders Black Mountain's downtown area. To the north and west, the Dougherty Heights Historic District adjoins later residential development. The Dougherty Heights Historic District retains a density of development that is consistent with other historic residential areas in town.

The Dougherty Heights Historic District is characterized by a mix of primarily one- and two-story frame houses on small, less than one-half acre lots with mature trees, although a number of houses are situated on lots of an acre or more. Lots located around the perimeter of the district slope away to the north, east, and west. The Dougherty Heights Historic District also includes a two-story four-unit apartment building. Several brick dwellings appear within the district, and river rock is frequently used for foundations, porch piers, porch steps, and retaining walls. The residential district stands in contrast to the adjacent commercial development located on State Street and Montreat Road.

The area contains portions of three early-twentieth century plats of property belonging to the heirs of S.F. Dougherty, the Kerlee family, and J.W. McKoy. Properties on the west side of Church Street, north of its intersection with Connally Street, were platted as part of Lakewood Park in 1926, despite being oriented toward Church Street.[2] The gridiron street pattern in Dougherty Heights follows a northwest-southeast orientation for the north-south streets and a northeast-southwest orientation for the east-west streets.

The Dougherty Heights Historic District consists of eighty-five total resources, including fifty-four contributing buildings. Of the thirty-one non-contributing resources in the district, ten are structures such as carports and swimming pools. The eight non-contributing primary resources are all properties more than fifty years old that have been significantly altered; the remaining non-contributing resources are associated outbuildings.

A contributing building, site, or structure adds to the historic associations, architectural qualities, or archaeological values for which the district is significant. Contributing resources add to the Dougherty Heights Historic District's significance because they were present during the period of significance, relate to its documented historical significance, and possess historic integrity. A noncontributing building, site, or structure does not add to the historic associations, architectural significance, or archaeological values of the district. Noncontributing resources do not add to the district's significance because they were not present during the period of significance, do not relate to the documented historical significance, or no longer possess historic integrity due to alterations, disturbances, or other changes.


The Dougherty Heights Historic District in Black Mountain, North Carolina encompasses the residential neighborhood that developed on Dougherty, Kerlee, and McKoy family property to the northwest of the downtown through the early and mid-twentieth century. Silas F. Dougherty, one of Black Mountain's earliest businessmen, built a capacious frame house for his family in 1897 on a large tract of land on the north side of State Street. The house operated as a boarding house and tourist home through the first half of the twentieth century, run by Dougherty's daughter Sadie and her husband, Alfred Tyson Sr., under the name "Dougherty Heights." The Dougherty Heights neighborhood began to develop in earnest in the 1910s and attracted many of Black Mountain's prominent families, including business owners, doctors, dentists, educators, and lawyers. The Dougherty Heights Historic District's historic resources reflect the town's prosperity and periods of growth in the twentieth century largely associated with tourism in Black Mountain. Following the connection of the railroad Black Mountain served as the gateway for visitors to Mt. Mitchell, as well as religious retreats and summer camps that were founded nearby. The majority of resources in the Dougherty Heights Historic District date from between 1910 and 1930, mirroring the rapid growth experienced elsewhere in Asheville and Buncombe County, and a second period following the economic Depression of the 1930s that demonstrates the ongoing development and popularity of the community. The Dougherty Heights Historic District meets National Register criterion for architecture. The locally-significant district contains houses designed in a mix of nationally popular architectural styles — Craftsman, Colonial Revival, Minimal Traditional, and Ranch — common to early and mid-twentieth-century residential neighborhoods in North Carolina. The period of significance for the Dougherty Heights Historic District begins in 1897 with the construction of the Silas Dougherty House (136 N. Dougherty Street) and ends in 1960, with the continued growth and development of Black Mountain, although the area was largely built out by that time. Houses continued to be built after 1960, however, they are not of exceptional significance.

Historical Background

The town of Black Mountain began around 1880 with the completion of the Western North Carolina Railroad (WNCRR) over Swannanoa Gap and into Asheville, the county seat of Buncombe County eighteen miles to the west. Known as Grey Eagle since the time of its earliest settlers, the town began developing in the 1880s around the depot, which the WNCRR named "Black Mountain Station." (The town's name was officially changed to Black Mountain when it incorporated in 1893.) With the establishment of regular rail service, Black Mountain grew primarily as a tourist destination. The lavish Mount Mitchell Hotel, erected in 1882 and destroyed by fire around 1905, stood just west of the depot and was operated by Mont Stepp and his wife.[3] Mount Mitchell Hotel presaged the importance of the town as a gateway for Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, and the Black Mountain range, which attracted a variety of naturalists, scientists, and excursionists to explore the region. The Black Mountains had gained notoriety in the 1830s and 1850s through the explorations of Elisha Mitchell and Thomas Clingman, who sought to establish the elevation of the highest peak in the eastern United States. Mitchell died tragically in 1857 while exploring the high peaks of the Black Mountain Range. Excursions to Mitchell's grave and the summit of Mt. Mitchell attracted the first hearty travelers to the area in the late nineteenth century.[4]

Following incorporation in 1893, the town aldermen ordered a survey of Black Mountain's existing streets as a small commercial district was beginning to take shape around the depot. One of the town's earliest businessmen, Silas F. Dougherty, operated a general store and post office from his home, located along present-day State Street, where the mail was received by stagecoach. After the railroad assumed the task of distributing mail, Dougherty moved his store to Sutton Avenue (former Depot Street) nearer to the depot. James McKoy operated a general store with boarding on the second story on the south side of the railroad tracks opposite the depot and, in 1890, replaced his original frame building with a two-story brick structure, one of the earliest remaining buildings in town. E.W. Queene and the Savage brothers also established themselves as merchants near the Black Mountain depot, and a drug store and hardware store were added to the growing commercial district. Although the new businesses contributed greatly to the settlement of the town, it was the popularity of Black Mountain as a destination for travelers in the region that drove the development of the town.[5]

The railroad connection helped to open the North Fork Valley, located to the northwest of town, to the timber industry and established Black Mountain as the point of shipment for a significant amount of lumber. The railroad enabled a sawmill to operate in North Fork, with weekly mail delivery from Black Mountain. By 1883, three lumber dealers — Burnett and Company, Dougherty and Walker, and J.M. Stepp and Company — had offices in town. The timber industry continued to expand through the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries with as much as 100,000 board-feet of lumber delivered daily by rail to Black Mountain from the surrounding areas. In 1903, the city of Asheville purchased the upper North Fork valley for its watershed, re-routing traffic that had traditionally passed through the valley more directly into Black Mountain.[6]

Visitors arriving in Black Mountain by train in the 1880s could find accommodations at the imposing Mount Mitchell Hotel to the west of the depot or one of several other boarding establishments, including rooms with S.F. Dougherty, Mrs. L.J. Kerlee, and James McKoy. In the following decade and through the turn of the twentieth century, however, a number of new hotels, inns, and boarding houses were built or opened to serve the ever increasing number of tourists and visitors. Washington House opened in 1894 to the west of Mount Mitchell Hotel and was sold ten years later to Mr. and Mrs. P.A. Cauble, who changed its name to Cauble House. A.E. Stevens converted T.K. Brown's former residence into a hotel called Black Mountain Inn in 1898. After fire destroyed Mount Mitchell Hotel in 1905, partners Manley and Bell of Mt. Olive, North Carolina erected a new hotel on the same site called Gladstone. Mrs. Z.V. Crawford operated Crawford Hall, which was built as an eleven-room annex to the Crawford residence, as a year-round boarding house from 1908 to 1927. A four-room addition was constructed later. By the 1920s, the Mount Mitchell Inn and Sunnyside Inn were located on the west side of Montreat Road just north of downtown. The Lee-Less and Seldom inns operated from houses on Church Street. The Monte Vista Hotel (NR, 2008) opened its doors to guests in 1919.[7]

Silas and Martha Dougherty built a grand two-and-a-half story dwelling in 1897 on property north State Street. As the Doughertys' two older sons moved out, the couple and their daughter Sadie began to take in guests. Dougherty called the house "Mountain View." In the first decade of the twentieth century Sadie Dougherty and her husband, Alfred Tyson Sr., took over operating the property as a boarding house, which they renamed "Dougherty Heights Inn." In 1913 the extensive property in Silas Dougherty's estate, valued at more than $13,000, was surveyed and platted by his heirs. The southern portion of the estate formed the core of a residential neighborhood that took its name from the inn.[8]

The turn of the century in Black Mountain saw the establishment of other resorts and attractions to fuel the town's tourist industry. The Mountain Retreat Association, founded in 1897 by an interdenominational group of ministers, purchased 4,500 acres of forest two miles north of Black Mountain for a religious retreat. A road (present-day Montreat Road) was graded to connect Black Mountain with the retreat property. In 1905, the Presbyterian Church acquired the wooded campus, known as Montreat, as a summer retreat and educational center. Two miles east of town, the Southern Baptist Assembly founded Ridgecrest in 1907, a retreat located at Terrell station near the crest of the ridge at Swannanoa Gap. Two miles southwest of town, Blue Ridge Assembly (NR, 1979) was established in 1906 by the YMCA of the South. In the first decades of the twentieth century a Methodist colony was planned northwest of town, which drew a number of families to the area. Alas, the Methodist Episcopal Church conference selected a site in Haywood County and in 1913 the Lake Junaluska Assembly opened as the Methodist retreat center.[9]

Summer camps, including Camp Montreat for Girls, Camp Timberlake, Camp Merri-Mac, and Scy Camp, also drew visitors to the area. E.W. Grove, owner of the renowned Grove Park Inn (NR, 1973) in Asheville, developed Lake Eden in the 1920s as a country club for the residents of Grovemont, a suburban community Grove had planned near Swannanoa. In 1940, the Lake Eden property became the site of Black Mountain College (NR, 1982), an experimental school for Modernist principles in art and education. After the college closed in 1956, the property has been used by Camp Rockmont, a recreational summer camp for boys.[10]

The timber industry, another important component of Black Mountain's economy, also helped to support the tourist industry. The widespread cutting and clearing of virgin forests on the Black and Craggy mountain ranges did not deter visitors from enjoying the scenery, and timbering activity may have, in fact, encouraged visitation by providing open, scenic vistas and long-range views of the mountains, as well as greater access to the upper elevations. In 1911, C.A. Dickey and J.C. Campbell, lumbermen from Virginia, purchased the timber rights to 9,000 acres on the southern and eastern slopes of the Black Mountains. They constructed a logging railroad from the town of Black Mountain through the upper part of the Montreat property to the high-altitude forests of the Black Mountain range. The railroad connected to the Southern Railway line approximately one mile east of town and extended for twenty miles toward the summit of Mount Mitchell. A lumber mill employing a large number of laborers living in and around Black Mountain was erected at the intersection of the two lines. In 1915 Dickey and Campbell's firm was purchased by Fred A. Perley and W.H. Crockett of Pennsylvania, who took over the logging and railroad operations. In addition to transporting cut trees to their lumber plant in town, Perley and Crockett used the logging railroad as an excursion train to carry visitors to Camp Alice, a rustic dining hall and primitive lodging near the summit of Mount Mitchell. Logging operations continued until around 1921, after which time the railroad bed was remade into an automobile road. In 1923, some 13,000 people traveled the route to Camp Alice, which was expanded to include an enlarged dining hall, lodge, and a permanent structure for overnight accommodations.[11]

Concurrent with the increased travel to Mount Mitchell, Black Mountain experienced significant growth and development during the 1910s and 1920s. The small town was already the third largest municipality in the county, behind Asheville and Weaverville. In 1912, the town hosted 600 summer visitors, which was nearly double the year-round population of 311. Most of the one- and two-story brick commercial buildings along Cherry Street, extending north from the depot to State Street, were erected in the 1910s. Black Mountain was the first township in Buncombe County to support macadamized roads, voting for $40,000 in bonds to be used for this work. In 1916, Cherry Street and Sutton Avenue (former Depot Street) were the first roads to be paved, along with Highway No.10 (present day State Street) through Black Mountain. In addition to the improved roads, other amenities were added including water and sewer service, electricity, telephone service, and an ice plant.[12]

Developers also began to plan and encourage future growth by platting residential neighborhoods. Most of the early houses in town were located along the principal transportation corridors, which continued to be the case in the early twentieth century as the first streets to be paved were those that were already well established. The Black Mountain Hotel Company platted several large pieces of land in 1900, including one of the earliest subdivisions on Vance and Blue Ridge avenues east of downtown. C.P. Kerlee, and other members of the Kerlee family, platted various pieces of land around town, including several tracts located near the railroad and Flat Creek, which flows on the eastern and southern edges of town. A 1912 plat delineated a settlement between E.J. Kerlee and J.W. McKoy for parcels located along Montreat Road and Church Street (Plat 154/184). Another developer, Robert Owen (R.O.) Alexander, owned and platted land along Montreat Road between 1908 and 1915, particularly around its intersection with North Fork Road and to the north. The extensive property of Silas Dougherty, valued at more than $11,000 in 1913, was surveyed, platted, and divided among five heirs (Plat 154/106). The Dougherty property contained many residential lots immediately north of downtown along Connally and Dougherty streets, New Bern Avenue, and Montreat Road. The southern portion of the property formed the core of the Dougherty Heights neighborhood, which, perhaps due to its convenient location and its association with Dougherty and Tyson families, attracted many of Black Mountain's leading families. Its residents included successful business owners, civic leaders, doctors, dentists, lawyers, and educators. The neighborhood was also populated by people from eastern and central North Carolina — many drawn to Black Mountain by the religious assemblies.[13]

The effects of the economic depression that gripped the nation in the 1930s wrought considerable turmoil across western North Carolina. Bank failures in Asheville had a ripple effect throughout the county. The Commonwealth Bank, a local bank established in 1907 with J.W. McKoy as president and Conley Dougherty as vice-president, failed in 1931. Local attorney William C. Honeycutt led a group to revive the institution and reorganized it as the Bank of Black Mountain. J.P. Ashley and Robert C. Anderson were members of the board. The Bank of Black Mountain closed in 1943.[14]

As part of President Franklin Roosevelt's economic recovery and relief programs, Black Mountain, like most of the region, benefitted from the nationwide economic development programs that helped put the country back to work. The Works Progress Administration (WPA), one of President Roosevelt's New Deal programs, built Lake Tomahawk — including a recreation center, swimming pool, and golf course — on the proposed site of the Methodist colony. The WPA also initiated constructed of the Blue Ridge Parkway in the 1930s, and the construction of this major scenic road proved to be a tremendous asset for the region. The long-term effects of the Blue Ridge Parkway, however, may have negatively impacted Black Mountain, which no longer served as the primary gateway to Mount Mitchell. On the whole the parkway drew large numbers of tourists and travelers into western North Carolina. In the midst of the Depression, the Monte Vista Hotel expanded, opening a new three-story brick building in the summer of 1937 to great acclaim. The Monte Vista Hotel signaled to continuing importance of tourism to Black Mountain's economy.[15]

In the period following the Depression and the end of World War II, Black Mountain experienced a period of resurgence as new homes were built for returning soldiers and new families and Americans resumed their leisure pursuits. As travel and recreation became increasingly common in the post-war period, visitors to western North Carolina found new and improved roads throughout the region. Highway 70, which passed through the middle of Black Mountain, was extended to the east to connect with Old Fort, located over the mountain in neighboring McDowell County. Broadway Avenue was opened and stretched from the south end of Montreat Road to the railroad tracks near the freight depot. In the second-half of the twentieth century, Broadway Avenue was connected with Lakey Avenue on the south side of the tracks to create a new access point into downtown Black Mountain and a more direct flow of traffic from the new Interstate 40 being constructed south of town onto Montreat Road and into Montreat, incorporated as a town in 1967. The Montreat Conference Center, much like Baptist center at Ridgecrest and the Blue Ridge Assembly, provided a constant flow of visitors to Black Mountain through the second half of the twentieth century.[16]

Architecture Context

The Dougherty Heights Historic District's architectural significance resides in the mix of popular twentieth-century house forms and architectural styles found in Black Mountain. The variety of residential architecture echoes local trends and periods of growth specific to the town, as well as the influence of nationally popular styles introduced by new and seasonal residents to the area. The architectural styles and forms represented in the district were common in Black Mountain from the early twentieth century through the post-World War II period, but the Dougherty Heights Historic District is one of only two areas with a concentration of historic resources that possess integrity for the National Register.[17]

Various factors influenced the architectural development of Black Mountain including the important tourism and timber industries. Given the town's small size and scenic surroundings, the general lack of pretentious high-style houses, prevalent use of natural materials, and common bungalow forms contributes to the overall character of its residential neighborhoods. Despite sharing a prolonged period of prosperity from 1880 to 1930 with neighboring Asheville, which became the regional economic and governmental center, Black Mountain retained its small town charm while serving as an important tourist gateway to Mount Mitchell, Montreat, Ridgecrest, and the surrounding scenic areas.[18]

Montreat, the Presbyterian religious assembly community to the north of town, exerted considerable influence on Black Mountain's architecture. The first attempt to develop the mountain location as an interdenominational retreat occurred in 1897, but the retreat site was later purchased by the Presbyterian Synod of North Carolina in 1905. The Montreat assembly grounds and associated college shared facilities and a surrounding colony of summer homes. The core of the assembly buildings featured local river rock construction, which helped to establish "a community-wide building idiom" that spilled over into Black Mountain but was far less common elsewhere in the county. According to former Montreat president Robert C. Anderson, the readily available rocks were collected from streams on the Montreat property. Charles Godfrey of Black Mountain served as contractor for a number of Montreat's river rock buildings. Similarly the seasonal houses built within Montreat often embodied romantic notions of rustic mountain life through the use of log and stone, exposed structural members, wood shingle siding, deep porches, and other elements from the Craftsman style.[19]

The earliest resource located within the Dougherty Heights Historic District harkens back to the early period of inns and boarding houses. Built in 1897, the Silas Dougherty House at 136 North Dougherty Street was the first residence built in the neighborhood, and Dougherty owned much of the surrounding land. The imposing two-and-a-half story, hip-roof frame dwelling blends Queen Anne and Colonial Revival style elements and is dominated by a broad wraparound porch. The house features German siding, decorative front gable with patterned shingles, one-story polygonal bays, and twin interior brick chimneys. The Doughertys opened their home, called "Mountain View," to guests, and in the early twentieth century their daughter Sadie and her husband, Alfred Tyson Sr., operated it as a boarding house with the name "Dougherty Heights Inn." The Tysons ran the business through the 1950s and substantially enlarged the house around 1940 with a two-and-a-half story wing of additional guest rooms.

In addition to lending their name to the neighborhood, the Dougherty family exerted considerable influence in the character of the neighborhood. Silas and Martha Dougherty's two sons, Conley and Walter, organized the Black Mountain Lumber Company in 1908 and were active in the building and construction trades. Conley Dougherty was one of the best-known builders in town and erected many fine houses. He is likely responsible for the two-story, Queen Anne style Chauncey W. Munger House at 106 Connally Street. Built around 1905, the Munger House features a broad wraparound porch, twin towers with polygonal bays on the front, weatherboard and wood shingle siding, and patterned shingles in the gable ends. The property was purchased soon after the turn of the century by Chauncey W. Munger, a lumberman from New Bern, North Carolina. The large two-story frame house at 132 North Dougherty Street was built around 1900 and features German siding, wraparound porch with Doric columns, rear ell, and a welcoming glazed entry door flanked by sidelights. The north wing of this house was reportedly removed and the material used to build Walter Dougherty's house across the street in the late 1910s. The two-story, Colonial Revival style Walter Dougherty House at 207 North Dougherty Street was covered with brick veneer in the late twentieth century. Conley Dougherty built a house for himself and his family in the early 1910s at 309 North Dougherty Street, opposite his parents' home. The Conley Dougherty House is a two-story, three-bay, side-gable frame house with Craftsman-style elements and a broad wraparound porch. Covered with wood shingles, the house features two interior brick chimneys, shallow projecting bays on the facade, triangular eave brackets in the gable ends, single-leaf entry with sidelights, and a central second-story balcony sheltered by a gable-roof canopy on angled brackets.

The majority of resources in the Dougherty Heights neighborhood date from between 1910 and 1930 and reflect the popular Colonial Revival and Craftsman styles of the time, as well as the influence of Montreat in the use of river rock as a building material. The Colonial Revival style gained widespread acceptance for domestic architecture, beginning around the turn of the twentieth century, in response to the overly decorative and fussy forms of the Queen Anne and late Victorian era. Early examples of the Colonial Revival style, however, rarely offered historically correct copies of colonial precedents. Freely interpreted details and proportions from colonial models were applicable to a wide range of house types and forms, which helped the style become the most popular domestic architectural style of the early twentieth century. Dissemination of published sources in the 1910s and 1920s encouraged more historical accuracy, but the economic depression of the 1930s, among other factors, led to a simplification of the style toward the mid-twentieth century.

The ca. 1915 Williams-Walker House at 109 Church Street displays an eclectic mix of elements including diamond-pane tracery windows, hip-roof dormers, and an engaged two-story Colonial Revival style front portico with slender columns. The house, which has been covered with asbestos shingles, has been used as a boarding house, apartments, and single-family residence; it is currently used as a bed-and-breakfast inn. The ca. 1917 home of Robert L. Woodard at 124 Church Street is a simple two-story, hip-roof form with a one-story side wing and eclectic Classical Revival-style details. The house is topped by ornamental metal roof tiles and entered through a pedimented, projecting brick entrance surround. Other good examples of two-story, three-bay, side-gable, Colonial Revival-style brick residences are the ca. 1920 Dr. Clifford and Grace Porter House at 120 Church Street and the ca. 1940 house at 204 New Bern Avenue. The lots on New Bern Avenue were generally developed a little later than other parts of the neighborhood and the brick dwelling has a basic two-story, three-bay, side-gable form that has been expanded with one-story side wings. Its restrained Colonial Revival style details include an exterior corbelled brick chimney, cornice returns, broken pediment entry surround, octagonal attic vents, and projecting belt courses with cast concrete corner blocks.

The Craftsman style fit well within the environment of Black Mountain, and many of the houses in Dougherty Heights are modest Bungalows and Craftsman-influenced dwellings. In the early twentieth century the Craftsman style grew from the influence of Gustav Stickley's The Craftsman magazine (1901-1916), itself an outgrowth of the Arts and Crafts movement that spread from England to the United States in the late nineteenth century. Through his magazine Stickley became the chief disseminator of Arts and Crafts beliefs in the United States, and his company, Craftsman Workshops, produced furniture that promoted design unity of both house and furnishings. He published house designs — complete working drawings and specifications — in The Craftsman that could be ordered from the company. Craftsman houses, as they came to be known, represented the Arts and Crafts ideals of vernacular revival, honest expression of structure, responsiveness to site, and the use of local materials for comfortable domestic architecture that provided "the proper atmosphere for the pursuit of the simple life." These arguments held particular attraction to families looking for a home in mountain communities across western North Carolina.[20]

A number of houses in Dougherty Heights incorporate many of the elements promoted by Stickley and other proponents of "the Craftsman idea," which asserted that creating a comfortable and secure home environment was the natural antithesis of the commercial and industrial expansion that was perceived by many early twentieth-century reformers to be corrupting the nation and its citizens. Therefore, efforts to simplify the home — a direct response to the Queen Anne and late Victorian styles of the nineteenth century — were concentrated on removing applied ornament from house designs. Stickley and others argued that the beauty inherent in fine craftsmanship and natural materials was sufficient decoration in itself; decoration that emphasized "the fundamental principles of honesty, simplicity and usefulness...." The typical Craftsman elements, which are often melded onto a bungalow form, included a dominant roofline to define the scale of the house, augmented by deep eaves, multiple gables or dormers, eave brackets, exposed rafter tails, porches with bold porch posts, large windows, and convenient open floor plans. The adaptable bungalow similarly featured a broad low-slung roof, informal plans incorporating a porch, geometrized detailing, and natural materials. In residential architecture, the Craftsman style often employed wood or shingle siding (frequently in combination), open eave overhangs with exposed roof rafters, decorative beams or braces in gable ends, and square or tapered porch posts supported by piers extending from above the porch floor to ground level without a break. Doors and windows also typically contained a distinctive glazing pattern with multi-pane areas across the top or multiple lights over a single pane in double hung sash. The most common bungalow form was a one-story, front-facing form with attached or engaged porches. A frequent bungalow variant was one-and-a-half stories with a side-gable roof that engaged a full-width front porch and large front dormers.

Several fully-realized examples of Craftsman Bungalows are found within the Dougherty Heights Historic District. The ca. 1920 E.E. and Myrtle White House at 122 Church Street is an especially good example of the Craftsman ideals. The one-and-a-half story house is dominated by a broken-pitch side-gable roof that engages a full-width front porch and is punctuated by an exterior brick chimney and central front-gable dormer with exposed purlins. The brick veneer house has wood shingles in the gable ends and on the dormer. The porch is supported by wide brick corner posts and tapered posts on brick piers framing the entrance bay. Other elements include projecting gable-roof side bays, exposed purlins in the gable ends, six-over-one windows, and an arched porch opening. The one-story, front-gable Williams House at 136 Church Street, built ca. 1920, is a well detailed example with wood shingle siding, exposed rafter tails, and four-over-one double-hung sash. The engaged full-width porch is supported by paired square posts on shingled piers with a simple wood balustrade. Decorative vertical brackets lend visual character to the front gable end.

Other Bungalows in the Dougherty Heights Historic District present simple, undecorated interpretations of the Craftsman style. Two Bungalows at 132 Church Street and 101 Laurel Circle Drive, both ca. 1920, are simple front-gable forms with attached front-gable porches. The ca. 1927 Grace Blades House at 108 Connally Street is a neat side-gable Bungalow with a wide shed-roof dormer, wraparound porch on Tuscan columns, exterior stone chimney, and six-over-one double-hung sash. Several Bungalows incorporate locally available river rock into their construction to create a regional variation of the style. The Mary Scarborough House at 127 Church Street dates from the around 1920 and introduces a significant amount of river rock detailing on the porch, foundation, and retaining walls. The one-story front-gable Bungalow is weatherboarded with wood shingles in the gable ends, triangular eave brackets, exposed rafter tails, and sixteen-over-one sash. Directly to the north, at 100 Connally Street, stands the ca. 1925 Grunwell House, which utilizes river rock for the porch posts, balustrades, foundation, and interior chimney. The house features wood shingle siding, triangular eave brackets, clipped-gable side bay, and four-over-one sash. The clipped front-gable roof engages a full-width porch with river rock elements that dominates the facade.

Black Mountain, like the rest of Buncombe County, saw construction come to a virtual halt during the Depression. As part of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal program of the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) helped to put the nation's labor force back to work on numerous useful public projects. In Black Mountain the WPA oversaw the construction of Lake Tomahawk and associated recreation facilities, including a swimming pool and golf course, just northwest of town. Lucien and Rosalie Phillips, owners of the Monte Vista Hotel, undertook the construction of a new three-story brick building for the hotel that opened in 1937. Around the same time, the Phillipses built a four-unit apartment building near the hotel. These investments in Black Mountain served an important role in helping to energize the town's economic recovery, and revitalizing residential construction in the early 1940s.

Residential architecture in Black Mountain followed national trends in the 1940s and post-World War II period with an increased demand for housing as veterans returned from service and sought to purchase homes through the GI Bill. In this new era of home-ownership families often found comfort in the traditional domestic imagery of Minimal Traditional and the Colonial Revival style or desired new planning ideas and modern stylistic elements. The Minimal Traditional style evolved in the late 1930s and became very popular in the post-war period. As the name suggests, the style combined established residential forms (frequently derived from Colonial or Tudor Revival models) with a modern preference for only minimal ornamentation. Minimal Traditional style houses are typically one story, side-gabled with an asymmetrical facade, front-facing gable bay, small covered or inset porch, and frequently a large multi-pane window or bay window. Side gable or hip roofs with shallow or no eaves is also a common characteristic. As an eclectic style, a variety of siding materials, simple window patterns, porch posts, and an occasional dentil cornice comprise the limited palate. Earlier examples of the style typically display a higher quality of craftsmanship and detail than ones constructed following World War II.

Several good examples of the style in Dougherty Heights date to the early 1940s and are located on New Bern Avenue. The ca. 1940 Dr. Samuel and Mary Cooley House located at 221 New Bern Avenue is a one-and-a-half story Minimal Traditional style house with brick and wood shingle siding, gabled front dormers, front-gable bay with picture window, exterior stone chimney, and corbelled brick dentil cornice. The ca. 1940 Minimal Traditional style house across the street at 306 New Bern Avenue incorporates several Craftsman details, including German siding, exposed rafter tails, and four-over-one double-hung sash, into its one-and-a-half story, side-gable form. The house displays a prominent front-gable wing with a projecting polygonal bay, attached flat-roof porch, and substantial garage wing attached to the rear. The one-and-a-half story house at 101 Prospect Street built around 1950 features a tall side-gable roof, exterior brick chimney, one-story setback wing, asbestos shingle siding, and an uncovered stoop.

In the 1950s and early 1960s, the simplified forms of the Minimal Traditional style were succeeded by the Ranch house, whose low-pitched roof and open floor plan appealed to a modern lifestyle. The Ranch style house originated in California in the 1930s, but as it was disseminated around the country it was adapted (often as an extension of the Minimal Traditional style) to provide functional one-level living with privacy for all family members at a relatively low cost. The typical Ranch style house is a one-story, hip or gable roof dwelling with a low horizontal orientation, presenting a much larger facade to the street than earlier house types. With minimal applied ornament, Ranch houses derive their visual distinction from asymmetrical facades, attached garages, sliding glass doors, and picture windows.

Several good examples of the Ranch style are found in Dougherty Heights and display the variety of forms and materials available. The Roy and Evelyn Taylor House, built around 1946 at 110 Connally Street, is the earliest Ranch house in the Dougherty Heights Historic District and highlights an unusual use of stone for the exterior walls. The one-story, hip-roof house features deep eaves, multi-light casements and picture windows, setback wing, and wide exterior stone chimney. Several of the windows wrap around the corners of the house. The Brake-McLarty House at 114 Connally Street, built in the late 1950s, is more typical of Ranch houses in Black Mountain, with a brick veneer exterior, interior brick chimney, and side wing containing a garage. The projecting hip-roof wing and recessed entrance porch offer a little more ornamentation than is typical. The Dempsey and Lores Whitaker House at 104 Prospect Street, which was completed in 1960, offers a stylishly modern Ranch-style facade with three full-height plate-glass windows framed by a front-gable roof with deep eaves. Set atop a projecting brick plinth, a brick slab chimney frames an inset porch at the southwest corner of the facade. The body of the house has been covered with vinyl siding.

Black Mountain's post-war growth continued into the 1960s, spurred in part by increased automobile travel across the region and highway construction. Highway 70 (present-day State Street) opened in 1924 and steered traffic directly through Black Mountain's commercial district. Through the mid-twentieth century Highway 70 remained the primary east-west corridor connecting Black Mountain with Asheville and other communities in Buncombe and McDowell counties. The construction of Interstate 40 to the south of downtown Black Mountain in the 1960s and 1970s shifted traffic from downtown and helped to encourage an outward migration of commercial activity and strip shopping centers. The close proximity of Dougherty Heights to downtown Black Mountain has contributed to its continued appeal. A number of families have also remained long-term residents of the neighborhood, helping to sustain its character in the latter part of the twentieth century.

The Dougherty Heights Historic District derives much of its character from the mix of architectural styles and association with the town's prominent business families. Dougherty Heights was one of Black Mountain's early residential neighborhoods and its older houses and mature vegetation demonstrate the stability that comes with its established and continued residential function. It is bordered to the south and east by the commercial development of downtown Black Mountain and to the north and west by later residential neighborhoods of a somewhat different character, scale, and integrity. The southern part of Montreat Road to the northeast maintains a similar architectural character and density to the Dougherty Heights Historic District, with a mix of early and mid-twentieth century houses, inns, apartments, and churches.

During the 2006-2007 Black Mountain survey of historic architectural resources, the South Montreat Road Historic District was also evaluated and considered to be eligible for the National Register. However, despite their similarities and some compatibility, the two areas are only tangentially linked by property lines and cannot be construed as one cohesive district. [See South Montreat Road Historic District.]


  1. Buncombe County Register of Deeds, Asheville, NC. See plat books 12/59, 154/106 and 154/184.
  2. Ibid., plat book 12/29.
  3. The name of the hotel is recorded in published sources as both the Mount Mitchell Hotel and the Black Mountain Hotel. A stereoscope view made by Balduin Von Herff in the early to mid-1880s shows the hotel with the caption, "Mount Mitchell Hotel," superimposed on the frame of the image itself. See Stephen E. Massengill, Western North Carolina: A Visual Journey Through Stereo Views and Photographs (Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 1999), 58. Sources for the name "Black Mountain Hotel" cite images dating to the late 1890s, so the hotel's name may have changed by that time. See Joyce J. Parris, A History of Black Mountain, North Carolina, and Its People (Black Mountain, NC: Black Mountain Centennial Commission, 1992), 122-124; and Swannanoa Valley Museum, Black Mountain and the Swannanoa Valley (Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2004), 38.
  4. The Senior Class of Black Mountain High School, History of Black Mountain, North Carolina (N.p.: 1933), 8-12 (hereinafter cited as History of Black Mountain). For a detailed account of the Mitchell-Clingman explorations and its effect on tourism see S. Kent Schwarzkopf, A History of Mt. Mitchell and the Black Mountains: Exploration, Development, and Preservation (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1985; 2nd printing 1989).
  5. History of Black Mountain, 18-20. Also see "Black Mountain Downtown Historic District" National Register Nomination (2004).
  6. "Black Mountain Downtown Historic District" National Register Nomination, pp. 26-28.
  7. History of Black Mountain, 18-20; Parris, 122-130; and Swannanoa Valley Museum, 38-44.
  8. Parris, 122 and 129-131. Buncombe County Register of Deeds Plat Book 154/106.
  9. The land originally held for the Methodist colony was eventually sold and developed as Lake Tomahawk and the town's recreation center. Robert Campbell Anderson, The Story of Montreat from Its Beginnings, 1897-1947 (Montreat, NC: Rev. Robert Campbell Anderson, 1949), 1-4 and 7-11. Richard D. Starnes, Creating the Land of the Sky: Tourism and Society in Western North Carolina (Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 2005), 92-101.
  10. Catherine W. Bishir, Michael T. Southern, and Jennifer F. Martin, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Western North Carolina (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1999), 304-307.
  11. Schwarzkopf, 82-85 and 93-101. Also see Jeff Lovelace, Mount Mitchell: Its Railroad and Toll Road (Johnson City, TN: Overmountain Press, 1994), 1-5 and 20-25; and Mount Mitchell Motor Road (Souvenir guidebook; N.p., n.d.; copy held at Pack Memorial Library, Asheville, NC).
  12. History of Black Mountain, 12. "Black Mountain Downtown Historic District" National Register Nomination (2004).
  13. Buncombe County Register of Deeds, and Sybil Argintar, "Town of Black Mountain, Buncombe County, North Carolina, Architectural Survey" Report (Survey and Planning Branch, Historic Preservation Section, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, 2007), 5-6 and 11.
  14. Parris, 154-155.
  15. Argintar, 11-12. "Monte Vista Hotel" Nomination (2008).
  16. Argintar, 11-12. Parris, 247-251.
  17. Argintar, 17-19.
  18. Ibid., 5-6, and "Black Mountain Downtown Historic District" National Register Nomination, 26-28.
  19. Parris, 247-248. Doug Swaim, ed., Cabins & Castles: The History and Architecture of Buncombe County, North Carolina (Asheville, NC: Historic Resources Commission of Asheville and Buncombe County, 1981), 96. "Black Mountain Downtown Historic District" Nomination, 28-29. Also see Robert C. Anderson, The Story of Montreat from Its Beginning, 1897-1947
  20. Elizabeth Cumming and Wendy Kaplan, The Arts and Crafts Movement, World of Art Series (New York: Thames and Hudson Inc, 1991), 107, 122-124, 141-142. (Montreat, NC: Rev. Robert Campbell Anderson, 1949).


Anderson, Robert Campbell. The Story of Montreat from Its Beginning, 1897-1947. Montreat, NC: Rev. Robert Campbell Anderson, 1949.

Argintar, Sybil. "Town of Black Mountain, Buncombe County, North Carolina, Architectural Survey." Report. Survey and Planning Branch, Historic Preservation Section, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, 2007.

Bishir, Catherine W., Michael T. Southern and Jennifer F. Martin. A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Western North Carolina. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 1999.

"Black Mountain College Community Bulletin," No. 2 (November 1, 1946). State Library of North Carolina Digital Repository, Raleigh, NC. (digital.ncdcr.gov/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/p249901coll44&CISOPTR=637&REC= 14)

Buncombe County Register of Deeds Office, Buncombe County Courthouse, Asheville, NC.

Cumming, Elizabeth, and Wendy Kaplan. The Arts and Crafts Movement. World of Art Series. New York: Thames and Hudson, Inc., 1991.

Fitzgerald, Jennifer, ed. A Pictorial History of Black Mountain & the Swannanoa Valley. N.p.: Pediment Publishing, 2003.

Griffith, Clay. "Monte Vista Hotel" National Register Nomination, 2008, Survey and Planning Branch, Historic Preservation Section, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Raleigh.

Harris, Mary Emma. The Arts at Black Mountain College. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1987.

Lovelace, Jeff. Mount Mitchell: Its Railroad and Toll Road. Johnson City, TN: Overmountain Press, 1994.

Massengill, Stephen E. Western North Carolina: A Visual Journey Through Stereo Views and Photographs. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 1999.

McAlester, Virginia, and Lee McAlester. A Field Guide to American Houses. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992.

Montreat, In the Land of the Sky. Asheville, NC: Hackney and Moale, n.d. [1904] (Copy at Pack Memorial Library, Asheville, NC).

Mount Mitchell Motor Road. Souvenir guidebook. N.p., n.d. (Copy at Pack Memorial Library, Asheville, NC).

Parris, Joyce Justus. A History of Black Mountain, North Carolina and Its People. Black Mountain, NC: Black Mountain Centennial Commission, 1992.

Robinson, Susan, et al. "Black Mountain Downtown Historic District" National Register, 2004, Survey and Planning Branch, Historic Preservation Section, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Raleigh.

Senior History Class of Black Mountain High School. "History of Black Mountain, North Carolina." Manuscript. 1933.

Starnes, Richard D. Creating the Land of the Sky: Tourism and Society in Western North Carolina. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 2005.

Swaim, Douglas. Cabins & Castles: The History & Architecture of Buncombe County, North Carolina. Asheville, NC: Historic Resources Commission of Asheville and Buncombe County, 1981.

Swannanoa Valley Museum. Black Mountain and the Swannanoa Valley. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2004.

Van Noppen, Ina W. and John J. Western North Carolina Since The Civil War. Boone, NC: Appalachian Consortium Press, 1973.

‡ Clay Griffith, Acme Preservation Services, LLC, Dougherty Heights Historic District, Buncombe County, North Carolina, nomination document, 2010, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Nearby Neighborhoods

Street Names
Church Street • Connally Street • Dougherty Street North • Laurel Circle Drive • New Bern Avenue • Prospect Street