JEFFERSON — The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources recently announced that the old Ashe County Memorial Hospital is one of 15 individual properties and districts across the state that have been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
All the selected properties were reviewed by the North Carolina National Register Advisory Committee and were subsequently approved by the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Officer and forwarded to the Keeper of the National Register.
“North Carolina is a leader in the nation’s historic preservation movement and the National Register is a vital tool in the preservation of our state’s historic resources,” Susan Kluttz, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources said. “If we count all of the buildings classified as contributing to the significance of historic districts listed in the Register, it is estimated that North Carolina has approximately 75,000 National Register Properties.”
According to the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, the listing of a property in the National Register places no obligation or restriction on a private owner using private resources to maintain or alter the property. Over the years, various federal and state incentives have been introduced to assist private preservation initiatives, including tax credits for the rehabilitation of National Register properties. As of Jan. 1, 2015, over 3,100 rehabilitation projects with an estimated private investment of over $1.96 billion have been completed.
In addition to Ashe County Memorial Hospital, the following were also added to the National Register of Historic Places: Carter-Simmons House in Duplin County, Belhaven Commercial Historic District in Beaufort County, Flyway Club in Currituck County, Carolina Casket Company in Guilford County, Coleman-Franklin-Cannon Mill in Cabarrus County, Chapel Hill Historic District Boundary Increase and Additional Documentation in Orange County, James H. and Anne B Willis House in Guilford County, R.F. Outen Pottery in Mecklenburg County, Erwin Commercial Historic District in Harnett County, Westview Cemetery in Anson County, Dr. Ezekiel Ezra Smith House in Cumberland County, Dillard B. and Georgia Sewell House in Henderson and Transylvania counties, Stone Hedge in Polk County and the United States Post Office in Cleveland County.
According to the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Ashe County Memorial Hospital is significant in the architectural and political history of Ashe County. The original building, erected in stone with modest Colonial Revival-style details, dates to 1941. In 1952, the county constructed a Modernist-influenced brick addition designed by Asheville architect Lindsey Madison Gudger. The Ashe County Memorial Hospital served the county’s residents from November 1941 to 1970 when a new, modern hospital was opened.
Plans have been in the works to renovate the old hospital into housing for the elderly and disabled by Northwestern Housing Enterprises (NHE) of Boone.
According to their website, NHE develops, builds and offers homes for rent or sale to lower income families. Their most recent project was the development of The Oaks located in Jefferson.
The Jefferson Board of Aldermen previously reviewed the preliminary plans for the old hospital at their regular meeting Monday, April 27.
According to the plans, the 27,590 square foot structure will be remodeled into individual apartment style housing for the elderly, 55 plus years of age and the disabled, 45 plus years of age who are of lower income status.
The plans included 1-2 bedroom apartments that feature a living room, kitchen and bathroom. A library, computer room and 60 parking spaces were also included in the plans.
According to Ned Fowler, CEO of Northwestern Regional Housing Authority, plans for the renovations continue to move forward and announcements for the largest piece of funding for the project are expected in approximately two weeks.
Fowler said they are converting the hospital into 46 units of affordable housing through historical adaptation and the National Park Service must approve plans for the renovations.
According to Fowler those plans will be submitted in October.
“This development provides significant reinvestment to a structure that’s been sitting for 45 years,” Fowler said. “We’re really excited.”
For more information about the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, visit www.ncdcr.gov.
For more information about Northwestern Housing Enterprises, visit www.nwrha.com.
Hannah Myers can be reached at 336-846-7164 or on Twitter @cmedia_hmyers.