Historic Reynolds Mansion
“My mother used to say that there are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet. She’s now in a maximum security twilight home in Australia.” ~Dame Edna Everage
Fewer than ten brick houses still survive in western North Carolina from before the Civil War and The Reynolds Mansion is one of them.
In October 2019, Paul and Mirlin Manshon became the owners and stewards of this amazing and much storied home. And so, a new chapter in its history begins.
Where the original 1500 acres were all woods, farmland and apple orchards, Reynolds Mountain development and Reynolds Village have taken their place. The grand old house still sits in the center of its small island of existing 4 acres inviting a new generation to step back into time and enjoy the experience and hospitality of a bygone era.
Reynolds Village sits on the very land that once was a part of Reynolds Mansion. The village brings the excitement of having restaurants, shopping, and living space for new residents to the area. Guests of The Reynolds Mansion have the luxury of walking to eating establishments, the Asheville Y and unique boutique shops.
Breaking Ground – The Reynolds Family
“Colonel” Daniel Reynolds built his imposing “double pile” brick home on a knoll of Reynolds Mountain in 1847. A conservative but substantial house plan built only by the most prosperous of western North Carolina’s citizens before the Civil War. He and his wife, Susan Adelia Baird had 10 children. They lived on 1500 acres in Asheville given to them by Susan’s father, Israel Baird.
When Daniel Reynolds passed away in 1878 his son, William Taswell Reynolds, inherited the historic Asheville home known then as the Reynolds House and the 140 acres remaining of the estate. William Taswell married Mamie Spears in 1880 and they had 4 children including Robert Rice Reynolds, who was to become a U.S. Senator representing North Carolina in the 1930’s.
In 1890 William Taswell Reynolds sold the house and land to his younger brother, Natt Augustus Reynolds. William passed away in 1892 at the age of 42. Ten years later his wife Mamie Spears Reynolds married his brother, Natt.
Natt ordered a renovation of the historic Mansion in the early 1900’s. He added a full third story, a kitchen addition and two story verandahs giving the house a Colonial Revival style. In 1920’s the mansion was rented to an Elizabeth Smith who ran the house as an Osteopathic Sanitarium for about 5 years.
In the early 1930’s Natt, “Gus” and Mamie moved back to the historic Asheville house and helped raise 2 of Senator Robert Reynolds’ children by his first wife, Frances, who had died of Typhoid Fever when the children, Frances and Robert Rice Reynolds II were less than 3 years old.
Senator Robert Rice Reynolds ” Our Bob ” was in residence here much of the time he was in Asheville while serving as U.S. Senator from North Carolina. His 5th wife was Evelyn Washington McLean who was the owner of the famous Hope Diamond. Today the diamond is displayed for all to enjoy at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.
Mamie Spears Reynolds died in the 1940’s and Natt’s daughter, Adelene Reynolds Hall came to live in the Mansion with her father. She was married to Lawrence Hall and they had 3 children, Natt, Margaret & Annie. They ran the Hall Coal Yard and the house was referred to as the Hall house at that time. Following Natt’s death, the house was left to Adelene who in turn left it to her daughters, Annie and Margaret. Some time thereafter Natt’s mother, Susan Adelia Reynolds and his sister, Annie Lee Reynolds ran the house as a rooming house for a few years.
Renovation and Renewal
Ownership of the house left the Reynolds family in the early 1960’s and 2 other owners held title before Fred & Helen Faber bought it in 1970. The passage of time and exposure to weather had taken its toll on the Mansion and it had suffered serious deterioration of its porches, extensive rainwater damage, and general neglect.
Doing all the work themselves, Fred & Helen, rebuilt, restored and recaptured the essence of the home, updating the kitchen but trying not to change any more than was necessary. They opened it as a Bed & Breakfast in 1972, calling it the “Old Reynolds Mansion.”
Over the years as time and demands changed, more bathrooms were added, but essentially the basic structure of the house remains pretty much like it was when Daniel built it in 1847.
On September 13,1984 The Reynolds Mansion was listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and placed in a protected status.
Fred Faber passed away on June 24,2003 after dedicating 30 years to bringing a bit of history back to life. Helen, with the help of her family, ran the Bed & Breakfast until 2008.
Into the 21st Century
On October 29, 2009, Michael Griffith and Billy Sanders purchased the Reynolds Mansion from Helen Faber and began restoration on the Mansion, clearing the overgrown grounds, and returning the driveway onto the estate to its original location at the front of the property.
The Reynolds Mansion was opened as a bed and breakfast inn in April of 2010. Over the next 10 years, Billy and Michael developed a superb hospitality experience grounded in the splendor, beauty and history of the Reynolds Mansion and enjoyed by a loyal and grateful clientele.