The Rich History of Reynolds Mansion

Published on 8.29.12

Story and Photos by EMILY FOLEY

Nestled in the foothills of Reynolds Mountain, Reynolds Mansion Bed and Breakfast awaits your visit. Many rooms are available for WNC history enthusiasts or merely curious travelers. The home’s story tells of changing times, large families, and growing communities.  

“Luckily, I bought a home with amazing history. I’ve always wanted to be an innkeeper, but that job turned out to take a back seat. Instead of just buying a bed and breakfast, we became caretakers of a historical property,” co-owner of the property Billy Sanders shares. “We have become the voice of Reynolds Mansion. It’s our job to tell their story and that job is more important now than being an innkeeper. My job is being a keeper of the home’s history.”

The building’s construction, which began in pre-Civil War times, was carried out by “Colonel” Daniel Reynolds and fifteen slaves in three and a half years. Daniel was given the 1500 acres from his father-in-law Isreal Baird. Using wagons, the workers extracted clay from Beaver Lake for the bricks.

Completed in 1847, Reynolds Mansion is among seven Pre-Civil War brick houses still standing in Western North Carolina. In Asheville, there are only two: Reynolds Mansion and the Smith-McDowell House.

Daniel Reynolds and his wife, Susan Adelia Baird (later Reynolds) had 10 children, 5 boys and 5 girls. In 1878, one of the sons William Taswell Reynolds inherited the home known as the “Reynolds House” and resided there with his wife Mamie Spears. Mamie bore 4 children including Robert Rice Reynolds, a U.S. Senator in the 1930s.

In 1890, William sold the house and land to his younger brother, Natt Augustus Reynolds. Natt did a scrupulous renovation of the Mansion in the early 20th century, which included the addition of a third story, a kitchen, and verandahs on the second floor.

Senator Robert Rice Reynolds, or “Our Bob,” was a Reynolds House resident for much of the time he was in Asheville serving as U.S. Senator from North Carolina in the 1930s. An interesting fact is that his fifth wife Evelyn Washington McLean was also the owner of the famous Hope Diamond, which is now at the Smithsonian Institution in D.C.

Natt Reynolds died in the 1950s and left “the Hall house,” as it was known at the time, to his daughter Adelene who ran the Hall Coal Yard with her husband and three children. Adelene’s daughters Annie and Margaret inherited the home upon Adelene’s death. Guests have admitted to seeing the famous ghost of Annie Reynolds and enthusiasts travel far to see her for themselves.

In the 1960s, the Reynolds family ownership of the home ended. It changed ownership two times again before Fred and Helen Faber bought it in 1970. The renovated home, a bed and breakfast, took on the name “Old Reynolds Mansion” in 1972 after renovations. Helen Faber ran the home after Fred’s death until 2008.

In October 2009, Billy Sanders and Michael Griffith purchased the building from Helen and after restoration, re-opened it as “The Reynolds Mansion Bed and Breakfast Inn” in April of 2010.

Developers have built Reynolds Mansion homes next to Reynolds Village (a small nearby center with retail stores and apartments). Reynolds Park is 60 acres of hiking, biking and trails. The Village is convenient for residents of the houses and guest staying at the B&B, who can walk around and enjoy the amenities.

“The house allows people to step back in time. It’s an amazing feeling, too. Often, guests will say they feel as though they’ve experienced an intimate insight of the family and mansion’s past. I own the house today, but really the Reynolds Mansion is owned by time,” Sanders said. 

For more information on Reynolds Mansion Bed and Breakfast, visit online at thereynoldsmansion.com or call 888.611.1156.

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