Do you Remember the Bent Creek Ranch? : 52 Weeks 52 Communities

Color map postcard of the Pisgah National Forest featuring the Bent Creek Ranch. AD986. 

The Bent Creek Ranch was a hot vacation spot for equestrians from all over the country in the mid-twentieth century. The lodge and guest cabins provided a nice getaway from the hustle and bustle of modern life – a step back into “simpler times.” A postcard sent to a Nashville couple from the Bent Creek Ranch in 1953 described the ranch as, “the best spot to catch up on your riding and stretch all your muscles.”

For this week’s edition of 52 Weeks 52 Communities, we are taking a look at some incredible photos and postcards of the ranch in its heyday. From the late 1930’s through the 1950’s the ranch was owned by the Castleberry family, and served as a mountain getaway for people throughout the country. The property was anchored by a lodge, surrounded by smaller guest cabins. Later, after the Castleberry’s sold the property, the main house became known as the Bent Creek Lodge and was used for all manner of community gatherings. My mom and aunt remember going to birthday parties and Girl Scout meetings there in the 1970’s. Unfortunately, the lodge burned in 1991. Some time later Buncombe County purchased the property and transformed it into a community park.

You can read a little more about the history of the ranch and see some photos of the lodge as it was in the 1970’s HERE and HERE.  Before you do, check out a few of our favorite shots of the Ranch in the NC Collection. What’s neat about these particular images, is that they were destined to be postcards, but what you’re looking at here are just the proofs.

Guests seated on the terrace of the Bent Creek Ranch main house with horse corral and guest houses in the background. AB750
The Bent Creek Ranch House Dining Room. AB751. 
View of the great room in the Bent Creek Ranch House. AB753. 

We love sharing our collections with you! We especially like when they get a good workout from researchers, the curious, and even the stray interior designer or stylist! These images and collections are as much yours as they are the library’s. That’s what public libraries are all about!

Come on in and take a look. You never know what you might find!

As a reminder, this post is a part of our 52 Weeks, 52 Communities Series. In this series, we are covering a different Buncombe County community each week. Do you have materials related to Bent Creek you’d like to let us know about? Do you, your parents or grandparents have a good story to tell? Please let us know! We want to hear from you! The North Carolina Room is Buncombe County’s Public Archive, we want to help preserve and make accessible the history and culture of Asheville and Buncombe County for all its residents.

This post was authored by Katherine Calhoun Cutshall, a librarian working in the North Carolina Room at Pack Memorial Library.


    Is anyone interested in Bent Creek Ranch history from 1954 to 1959/60?
    I was a paying guest until 1957, and then I worked for my room and board as a baby sitter, office, photographer, and any place else extra hands were needed. The last year that I was there, riding master. Walter Newman, and I took over management until I left for school. I would love to talk with anyone who was there during those years or share stories for the archives.

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