Voices from Old Candlertown: 52 Weeks, 52 Communities

Members of the Warren family pose for a photo on the porch of their log cabin style home in the Hominy Valley, ca. 1915. Photo By William Barnhill. G858-8

The voices of our community members are one way we learn about our past. Eleanor Newcomb Rice knew this, and made it her work to collect the voices of “Old Candlertown” for many years.

Rice was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1924, but when she was young, her parents moved her and her three older brothers to a remote cove near Mt. Pisgah. Living in the mountains, Eleanor fell in love with the people, history, and customs of the people of western North Carolina and honed her skills for photography and citizen documentary journalism.

A view of Mt. Pisgah and the Hominy Valley near Candler, NC. Photo by the US Forest Service, ca. 1940? K535-8

Eleanor graduated from Candler High School in 1942 and went on to study at Ohio Wesleyan University. She returned to WNC and applied her skills in the advertising section of Ivey’s department store. In 1948, she married her husband, Charles, who was an engineer with the American Enka Company. Throughout her life she was involved in the community as a Girl Scout leader and in Hominy Valley Garden Club.

Through her various community activities, Eleanor met a broad range of community members in the Candler area, and her love of photography and journalism drove her to document their stories. The Eleanor Newcomb Rice Collection (MS051) is a treasure trove of Mrs. Rice’s collected recordings, newspaper clippings, photos, and scrapbooks. All together, these items present a unique perspective on the history of Candler.

Listen to part of the series she titled “Voices of Old Candlertown” below. These recordings were made between 1978 and 1995.

Read more about the Eleanor Newcomb Rice Collection and explore other photos and collections related to Candler and surrounding areas on our database:

Eleanor Newcomb Rice Collection MS051

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the history of Candler and the Hominy Valley. We have so much left to explore. In the 52 Weeks, 52 Communities series we will cover more of the communities in this section of the county, including Enka, and Upper and Lower Hominy (with a shoutout to Jugtown, I’m sure).

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 the Candler area 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.



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