Just a few miles from George Vanderbilt’s grand Biltmore Estate is Buck House, a different kind of mansion – one that was nearly 50 years old when Vanderbilt began construction. Saddled on a ridge between two hills just south of Asheville, ringed by picturesque mountains and overlooking the confluence of two great rivers, Buck House was constructed around 1840, over twenty years before the Civil War, most likely using enslaved laborers. During a time when most people lived in wood frame houses, the imposing structure was composed of brick, a rarity in early 19th century Asheville. Today it is known as the Smith-McDowell House, the oldest surviving house in Asheville and the oldest brick structure in Buncombe County, North Carolina.

The residents of the Smith-McDowell House were woven in to the fabric of Asheville. This driving tour begins at the Smith-McDowell House Museum and continues through historic sites related to early occupants of the house.

Newton Academy Cemetery
South Asheville Cemetery
Riverside Cemetery