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Old Sherrill’s Inn
Sherrill’s Inn is a rare surviving example of the saddlebag log house and is important for its history as a waystation for stagecoach travelers on the Hickory Nut Turnpike, which was vital to the development of western North Carolina.
Sherrill’s Inn sits on a hillside less than 100 yards from the turnpike connecting Rutherfordton with Asheville, a road on which drovers brought their livestock to eastern markets. The original log house with its hand-hewn timbers was built by John Ashworth circa 1806 and a second log structure was built circa 1834. Around this time the property was sold to Bedford Sherrill, who connected the two structures with the addition of two rooms and also built the one-story porch that wraps the east and south sides. At the core, however, remains the historic saddlebag plan, which consists of one room on either side of a central chimney, with each room featuring a door to the exterior. The plan was later raised to a second story (date unknown), accessed by a split-run stair that begins on the porch then moves into the house in the space between the rooms adjacent to the chimney. Sherrill opened the inn circa 1850.
The inn contained between three and five guest rooms, and two additional rooms for the family. The kitchen had a large, eight-foot fireplace for cooking. The owner’s quarters contains hand-planed beaded chestnut boards and the entire house still retains its original brass and iron door locks. The windows feature the original hand-blown glass. The heart pine floors have been walked on by a variety of guests including presidents, preachers, lawyers, and after the railroad was built in the 1880s, tourists.
The whole structure is now clad with weatherboard. There are a number of outbuildings on the property, including a stone springhouse, log smokehouse, and a large barn. The Sherrill family operated the inn until 1908, at which point it passed into private ownership. Although some of the secondary interior walls have been changed over the years, most of the original dwelling is intact. Today the Old Sherrill’s Inn is privately owned but available for rent as an event venue.
Bishir, Catherine W., Michael T. Southern, and Jennifer F. Martin. A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Western North Carolina. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999.
Clarke, Elspeth. “Sherrill's Inn: A History of Sherrill's Tavern.” Presented to Western North Carolina Historical Association, October 28, 1978. D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville.
“Sherrill's Inn,” Buncombe County, North Carolina. Historic American Buildings Survey, 1966. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (HABS NC,11-HICK,1-).
“Sherrill's Inn,” Buncombe County, North Carolina. National Register of Historic Places Inventory–Nomination Form, 1975. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.
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