Thomas Wolfe House

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Thomas Wolfe House
Thomas Wolfe's Home.jpg
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Location52 North Market Street,
Asheville, North Carolina
Coordinates 35°35′51″N82°33′03″W / 35.59750°N 82.55083°W / 35.59750; -82.55083
Architectural style Queen Anne
Part of Downtown Asheville Historic District (ID79001676)
NRHP reference No. 71000572
Significant dates
Added to NRHPNovember 11, 1971 [1]
Designated NHLNovember 11, 1971 [2]
Designated CPApril 26, 1979
Front porch of Wolfe's "Old Kentucky Home" Rocking chairs on front porch, Thomas Wolfe House IMG 5173.JPG
Front porch of Wolfe's "Old Kentucky Home"

The Thomas Wolfe House, also known as the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, is a state historic site, historic house and museum located at 52 North Market Street in downtown Asheville, North Carolina. The American author Thomas Wolfe (1900–1938) lived in the home during his boyhood. The house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1971 for its association with Wolfe. [2] [3] It is located in the Downtown Asheville Historic District.



The two-story frame house was built in 1883, influenced by Queen Anne style architecture in the United States. [4] By 1906, when Wolfe's mother, Julia E. (Westall) Wolfe (1860-1945), bought the house, it was a boarding house named "Old Kentucky Home". She soon went to live at her business with Tom, while the other Wolfes remained at their Woodfin Street residence. Wolfe lived at the boarding house until he went to the University of North Carolina in 1916. Julia Wolfe enlarged the house in 1917 by adding five rooms.

Wolfe used the house as the setting for his first novel, Look Homeward, Angel (1929). Changing the name of his mother's boarding house to "Dixieland" in his autobiographical fiction, he incorporated his own experiences among family, friends and boarders into the book.

The house became a memorial to Wolfe after his mother's death (he having died relatively young of tuberculosis). It has been open to visitors since the 1950s, owned by the state of North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources since 1976 and designated as a National Historic Landmark. [5] In 1998, 200 of the house's 800 original artifacts and the house's dining room were destroyed by a fire set by an arsonist during the Bele Chere street festival. The perpetrator remains unknown. [5] After a $2.4 million restoration, the house was re-opened in 2003. [5]

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  1. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. 1 2 "Thomas Wolfe House". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved February 23, 2008.
  3. John D. McDermott (April 15, 1970). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Thomas Wolfe House / The Thomas Wolfe Memorial / "The Old Kentucky Home"" (pdf). National Park Service.{{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help) and Accompanying one photo, exterior, from 1970  (32 KB)
  4. "Thomas Wolfe Memorial: Old Kentucky Home "Dixieland". North Carolina Historic Sites. Retrieved September 22, 2008.
  5. 1 2 3 Blumenthal, Ralph (June 5, 2003). "A House Restored, An Author Revisited; Thomas Wolfe Shrine Returns". The New York Times. Retrieved November 11, 2009.