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WNCHA Hikes With a Historian: Guastavino Estate Ruins and Cemetery Tour

September 28 @ 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Join the Western North Carolina Historical Association (WNCHA) Wednesday, September 28 from 11AM – 12:30PM as we conclude our special Hikes With a Historian: Cemeteries tours at the Christmount Christian Assembly in Black Mountain.

Renowned architect and builder, Rafael Guastavino and his wife, Francesca, retired to Black Mountain after he completed working on the Biltmore House in Asheville at the end of the 19th century. The couple built their own rambling estate on the grounds of what is now Christmount Christian Assembly. On this tour, WNCHA Executive Director Anne Chesky Smith will guide participants on an approximately 1.5 mile walk through ruins of the Guastavinos’ estate, including the foundations of the house, wine cellar, brick kiln, and small graveyard. The first mile of the walk is on relatively open, even ground; the last half mile is an optional moderate hike on a trail through woods to a small graveyard. Chesky Smith will share stories of the Guastavinos’ life in Black Mountain; of Rafael Guastavino’s career – including his work on Asheville’s St. Lawrence Basilica, Boston’s Public Library, and the numerous other locations across the nation and the world where his tile vaulting work can be found; and of the people laid to rest on the Guastavino property.


When: Wednesday, September 28

Time: 11AM – 12:30PM

Meet: 10:45AM at Christmount – 222 Fern Way, Black Mountain – park at first building on the left

Hike Length: approximately 1.5 miles (easy to moderate difficulty)

What to Bring: Water (1+ liter), snacks, comfortable and sturdy shoes, weather appropriate clothing, any needed medications.

Rain Date: In the event of inclement weather, participants will be notified in advance, no later than 8PM the evening prior if the event is to be rescheduled. The alternate rain date will be rescheduled promptly.


Tickets: $10 for WNCHA members/$20 non-members. We also have a few no-cost, community-funded tickets available. We want our events to be accessible to as many people as possible. If you are able please consider making a donation along with your ticket purchase. These donations are placed in our Community Fund, which allows us to offer tickets at no cost to those who would not be able to attend otherwise.

Register Here


Emergency Contact Form: Registrants must fill out the emergency contact form in advance: https://forms.gle/qHftZJdcMrC38JvM6

Hike Leader: Anne Chesky Smith holds MA degrees in Appalachian studies and cultural anthropology. She serves as the executive director of the Western North Carolina Historical Association and lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her family.

Covid Precautions:

  • Please do not attend if you feel unwell or have been exposed to someone with Covid
  • Social distancing is recommended when hiking and when the group is stopped

For questions, please contact Trevor Freeman at [email protected]

(Image: Burial marker at Christmount)


Western North Carolina Historical Association (WNCHA)


Christmount Conference Center
222 Fern Way
Black Mountain, NC 28711 United States
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