HeardTell: The North Carolina Room, Pack Memorial Library

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The Friends of the North Carolina Room Social at the Rankin House Inn

A Social for the Friends of the North Carolina Room was held Wednesday, June 24th, 2015 at the Rankin House Inn. The oldest frame house in Asheville, it was built in 1848 by William Dinwiddle (1804-1879) and Elizabeth Lightfoot Roadman (1804-1908) Rankin. It was the perfect place for a gathering of people who love local history.

The traditional front-porch-photo was taken.

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Friends of the North Carolina Room Social at the Rankin House Inn, June 24th, 2015.

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The Rankin House Inn was also the perfect setting since the North Carolina Room recently received a donation of the Rankin-Bearden Collection, donated by Walter Diehl and his mother Lynne Diehl.

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Lynne Diehl

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Walter Diehl

Friends enjoying the food and drink, the porches and patios, the beautiful old rooms . . . and conversation.

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The North Carolina Room staff provided displays highlighting some of the Rankin and Bearden family members and other materials in the collection, such as Civil War letters written by W.D. and Elizabeth Rankin’s son David Rankin and their daughter Amelia’s husband, M.J. Bearden.  Our post last week previewed some of these letters. Click here to view the last week’s post on the Civil War Letters. All of the Civil War letters and their transcriptions can be viewed by going to our website at http://history.abls.lib.nc.us and entering MS250.001* in the search box. [The asterisk will bring up all of the records in that folder.]

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NC Friends Joe and Wanda Newman played a few songs fitting to the time period of the house: Keep on the Sunny Side of Life (Carter Family, 1938), Hard Times Come Again No More (Stephen Foster, 1855), and Wayfaring Stranger (traditional British melody with words written in the U.S., early 1800s).

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The house, known in the preservation world as the Rankin-Bearden house, 32 Elizabeth Place, fell into neglect and bad repair and was actually condemned by the city in the early 1990s. Fred Eggerton, contractor extraordinaire, fell in love and bought the house in 1993. He then spent the next 20 years renovating it. The city of Asheville placed the house on the local landmark list in 2006 and the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County gave it a 2007 Griffin Award for Residential Renovation. Fred opened the house as an Inn in 2014, but died unexpectedly, December 14, 2014.

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“Mountain Express,” October 9-16, 1996.

Mayor Esther Manheimer made an official proclamation proclaiming June 24, 2015 as the Rankin House Inn Day. The Mayor was called to Raleigh at the last minute and could not attend, so Asheville City Councilwoman Gwen Wisler read the proclamation in her stead.

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L to R: Gwen Wisler, Walter Diehl, Susan Eggerton (Rankin House Inn owner), and Lynne Poirier Wilson (President of the Friends of the North Carolina Room board.)

“Now, therefore, I, Esther Manheimer, Mayor of the City of Asheville, do hereby proclaim the city’s appreciation for the North Carolina Room, the Rankin and Bearden family’s lives, work and contributions to the city, Walter Diehl’s donation of family materials, and Fred Eggerton’s work to save the Rankin House Inn, I do hereby proclaim Wednesday, June 24, 2015 as the Rankin House Inn Day.”

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What a nice touch it was, having our very own proclamation. Thank you Friends of the North Carolina Room, Rankin and Bearden family members, Mayor Esther Manheimer and Councilwoman Gwen Wisler, and many thanks to Susan Eggerton for hosting this social.

Rankin House Inn Website

Photographs taken by Kathryn Temple, Lyme Kedic and Brenda Murphree

Post by Zoe Rhine, Librarian

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