Local Hand Crafts Also Made the Market as Souvenirs

The North Carolina Room, Pack Memorial Library currently has on exhibit through September, four exhibit cases highlighting Asheville Tourism Souvenirs. Of course, the exhibit set us on a research binge, trying to find out all that we could about the local souvenir trade and how it developed. This is the fifth of an ongoing series, sharing some of the images in the exhibit and what we have learned.

Cat with her kitten carved by Hope Brown of Brasstown Carvers.

 For a little more money, someone visiting Wester North Carolina might choose a local handmade craft as their souvenir from their visit, making local crafts a large part of the souvenir industry. There were five major concerns in Asheville, all of which began as cottage industries.

The Biltmore Estate Industries operated at Biltmore from 1905 to 1917 after which it was bought by Fred Seely, becoming simply Biltmore Industries and was moved to buildings at the Grove Park Inn.

Bird and stamp box believed to be Biltmore Industries.

Allanstand Cottage Industries was founded by Frances Goodrich in 1897 in Madison County. She opened a sales showroom downtown Asheville in 1908 and donated the gift shop to the Southern Highland Craft Guild in 1930.



Bear carved by Amanda Crowe.

The Spinning Wheel founded in 1925 by Clementine Douglas, was first located on Burnsville Hill Road now Lakeshore Drive, and moved to the Hendersonville Highway after 1940.

Spinning Wheel


The Treasure Chest was founded in 1924 by Hugh Brown, but he lost the business in the depression in 1931, and it ended up in the hands of the Farmer’s Federation who operated it for a number of years. Brown turned around in the midst of the depression, and with his brother Edwin L. Brown and William Lashley formed the Three Mountaineer’s Inc. in 1933, now competing with the Treasure Chest. Both The Treasure Chest and Three Mountaineers sold and shipped to places all over the country. Three Mountaineer’s continuing selling handmade crafts up until 1940, when they turned solely to wood manufacturing, closing sixty years later in 1992.

Treasure Chest



Three Mountaineer’s “Bathroom Sign,” copyrighted in 1943, was their signature tourist souvenir.
Three Mountaineer’s maple Nut Bowl with hammered aluminum handle and ball feet.

The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands, previously known of as The Craftsman’s Fair, helped support crafts people in the area, and provided another market for purchasing crafts, such as this hound dog carved by Wade Martin of Swannanoa, NC. As someone said while viewing it, “You could talk to that dog.”


Post by Zoe Rhine, Librarian.


  1. Zoe,
    The information on this page stating that Rob Brown was one of the 3 mountaineers and that Hugh Brown started Blue Ridge Woodcrafters in 1922 is incorrect according to the booklet put out on the 40th anniversary —and the page called “Marketing Handcrafts” on Pack Library –North Carolina Room website.

    Edwin Brown was the other 3 Mountaineer and Blue Ridge Woodcrafters (Cecil Clayton) and Three Mountaineers merged . One page says 1922.Is this correct?

    Doesn’t take much to confuse me! Thanks for your work to make the info. consistent.


    1. Lelia, I saw your comment a long time ago and failed to get back to it. I can’t believe THAT I wrote that. I know the 3 Mtn. history upside and downside. I have corrected. Thanks for keeping me on my toes.

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