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Thomas Wolfe Memorial of Downtown Asheville, NC

The Thomas Wolfe Memorial, often called the Old Kentucky Home, was the childhood home of one of the giants of the 20th Century Literature, Thomas Wolfe immortalized by his 1929 novel Look Homeward, Angel. Originally operated as a boarding house, run by Wolfe's mother, Julia Elizabeth Westall, it was not until after the death of Wolfe's mother in the late 1940s that the historic boarding house became the Thomas Wolfe Memorial. While the Old Kentucky Home faced extensive damage following a fire in 1998, intensive restoration to both the historic home and surviving artifact collection meant the Thomas Wolfe Memorial could open its doors to visitors once again and did so in 2004.

 

 

 

Thomas Wolfe Memorial in Asheville, NC

Thomas Wolfe Memorial in Asheville, NC

Kitchen, Thomas Wolfe Memorial

Kitchen, Thomas Wolfe Memorial

Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site

Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site

Inside the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Site

Antique Furniture Can Be Found Inside

Thomas Wolfe Memorial, Parlor

Thomas Wolfe Memorial, Parlor

Bedroom, Thomas Wolfe Memorial

Bedroom, Thomas Wolfe Memorial

Thomas Wolfe Memorial in Asheville, NC Thomas Wolfe Memorial in Asheville, NC
Kitchen, Thomas Wolfe Memorial Kitchen, Thomas Wolfe Memorial
Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site
Inside the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Site Antique Furniture Can Be Found Inside
Thomas Wolfe Memorial, Parlor Thomas Wolfe Memorial, Parlor

Visiting Downtown Asheville’s Thomas Wolfe Memorial

A historic house and museum, today Asheville’s Thomas Wolfe Memorial remains one of American literature’s most famous landmarks. Explore the visitor center and museum adjacent to the home that highlights Wolfe’s life and major literary accomplishments and tour the boarding house Thomas Wolfe once called his home.

Visitor Center

Start your time at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial in the Visitor Center. Here you can watch an audio-visual presentation called The Life and Writings of Thomas Wolfe and explore exhibits on Wolfe and his family including a display of art inspired by the writings of Wolfe.

Guided Tour of the Wolfe Memorial Historic Site

Wolfe himself foresaw the future of his mother’s boarding house when he wrote in his second novel Of Time and the River that the “old dilapidated house had now become a fit museum.” Take a guided tour of the Thomas Wolfe Memorial with a knowledgeable tour guide. The history and development of Asheville during the late 19th and early 20th century will unfold before your eyes.

The Old Kentucky Home over the Years

While the sprawling frame of the Queen Ann-influenced boarding house originally had six to seven rooms with a front and rear porch when constructed in 1883, additions more than doubled the size of the original structure by 1889. Wolfe described the house he moved into in 1906 as a “big cheaply constructed frame house of eighteen or twenty drafty, high-ceilinged rooms.” Just ten years later, Wolfe’s mother enlarged the house yet again and modernized it, adding electricity, additional indoor plumbing and 11 additional rooms.

Inside the Wolfe Memorial Historic Site

Today the boarding house where Thomas Wolfe spent his childhood and adolescence is well preserved and almost intact with original furnishings arranged by family members very much the way it appeared when Wolfe lived there. Step into the past and delight in the furnishings and other artifacts that evoke the daily routine of life both fact and fiction. Memories are kept alive through Wolfe’s writings, found in each room of the home.

Gift Shop

Don’t forget to stop by the Gift Shop located in the Visitor Center with books and souvenir items related to Thomas Wolfe.