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Avery Architecture

Buildings in Avery County have not made their way into the National Register of Historic Places as examples of any specific architectural style or period, but rather for the natural building materials used to erect them.

Linville is known for buildings sheathed in squared-off shingles cut from Chestnut bark. Henry Bacon, the world-famous architect who designed the Lincoln Memorial, established the "Linville style" in 1895 and the use of Chestnut bark shingles continued until that tree species was destroyed by blight in the 1930s. The practice of using bark on the exterior of Linville buildings was revived in the 21st Century, but now builders are using poplar bark in place of Chestnut.

All Saints Episcopal Church (circa 1913) is the only public building designed by Henry Bacon in Linville. The building is clad with chestnut bark shingles both inside and out. All posts and exposed beams in the structure were fashioned from tree trunks and the decorative Christian symbols in the sanctuary were crafted from limbs and twigs. The charm and elegance of the site-available materials and the way they belong to the mountain setting makes All Saints a truly worshipful place.

The Eseeola Lodge (circa 1926) features the original Chestnut bark shingles on the main hotel and poplar bark shingles on the dining room addition completed in 2004. Both The Eseeola Lodge and All Saints Church are open to the public mid-May to mid-October.

The people of Crossnore collected stones from the Linville River to construct the Crossnore Presbyterian Church (circa 1925). A decade later when fire destroyed the log building that housed the Crossnore weavers, Dr. Mary Martin Sloop organized a brigade of children from the Crossnore School to pass river rocks up the slope where the men of the town built the Crossnore Weaving Room (circa 1936). That inspiring story can be found in Mrs. Sloop's autobiography, Miracle in the Hills. Both buildings are open year round.

The Rev. Edgar Tufts challenged the people of Banner Elk to collect stone from their fields with which they built the Banner Elk Presbyterian Church (circa 1915) and many of the stone buildings on the campuses of Lees-McRae College (founded in 1900) and the Grandfather Home for Children (founded in 1914). A walking tour of historic Banner Elk departs the Banner House Museum at 2 pm Tuesday through Saturday.