We’re over halfway there, folks! Here we are on community #34/52.
And a few times throughout this series, we’ve taken the opportunity to teach you a little bit about how to most effectively use your time in the archives or navigate our public database, Presto, to do some of your groundwork from the comforts of your own couch (or bed, or dining room table… whatever! We’re not judging!)
Kimberly Heights is a North Asheville Community, originally a project of E.W. Grove Investments. We’ve talked about Grove and his various real estate projects a few times in the series already, so in this post we’re going to take the opportunity to show off one of our resource guides and some really great architectural drawings of homes in the community that happen to be in our collection.
If you want to read a little more about the history of Kimberly Heights and its most important historical features, check out the nomination form for the Kimberly Heights addition to the Grove Park National listing on the Register of Historic Places linked as a PDF below.
Historical House Hunting in the North Carolina Room
One of our most common questions in the North Carolina Room is, “I live in an old house in [insert community here] how do I find out who owned it first?” Because of the frequency of this question, NC Room librarians have devised a handy how-to guide to get you started on your quest!
We won’t be using any specific examples of homes in Kimberly today (though we will show off some cool old photos and drawings), because most, (if not all) of the homes in the area are presently occupied. We don’t want to go digging into anyone’s business. However, there are some pretty incredible resources related to this neighborhood in our collection, and we encourage you to come check things out.
Step one for anyone interested in this kind of research in Buncombe County, despite the large number of online resources, should always be a trip into the NC Room or your local branch library. Librarians can orient you to our resources and materials, give you a copy of our resource guide, and establish a relationship with you and your research questions. We always like to know what folks are interested in and working on!
The Resource Guide & Important Resources
After a visit to the NC Room (or before) you can download a copy of our house hunting resource guide by clicking “download” below.
Some of the most important resources in the guide that are available in the NC Room are City Directories and Sanborn Maps.
A researcher can use city directories in a number of ways. But in trying to learn more about the history of a specific home, they can be used to work backwards, following an address over time, beginning with the present owner.
Sometimes, this can get tricky. Street address numbers have not always remained consistent over the years. This is where Sanborn Maps can become useful. Besides just being really cool detailed maps, Sanborn Fire Insurance Co. Maps will often help researchers correct street number discrepancies or changes over time.
Another important resource we have for some homeowners here in the NC Room is architectural drawings. These records can come in handy for a number of reasons, but for owners of historic homes in neighborhoods like Kimberly, they can be especially useful if owners are trying to make repairs or perform restorations.
Sometimes these drawings can help designers, builders, contractors, and home owners better see original intent or detect if problems might arise with new additions. Besides that, they’re just really fun to look at!
Now that you have the tools and the insight to do a little bit of historical house hunting in Kimberly (or anywhere, for that matter) we look forward to meeting you and helping you on your research journey in the North Carolina Room sometime soon!
We love sharing our collections and stories with you! We especially like when they get a good workout from researchers, the curious, and even the stray interior designer or stylist! Our 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 Kenilworth or some other Buncombe County community you’d like to let us know about? Do you, your parents or grandparents have a good story to tell? 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.