A Brief History of Malvern Hills
The Hotel Belmont
The history of Malvern Hills is an amazing story of Asheville. The neighborhood was developed in two large phases from 1925 - 1926. Surprisingly though, this was not the first large scale development on this land, and Malvern Hills almost never was...
It was in February 1827 when Robert Henry discovered Sulphur Springs.
Three years later Mr. Henry and his son-in-law, Col. Rueben Deaver, developed a wooden hotel on the hill above the springs. This was in the center of what is now Malvern Hills, and the “healing waters” were very popular. The Sulphur Springs Hotel was the first of its kind in Western North Carolina, and was one of the largest draws of wealthy planters to the area during summers. By the 1840s almost 500 visitors per season visited the hotel and other cabins and recreation facilities were developed on the grounds (our neighborhood).
In 1862 the hotel burned to the ground, and was left unopened throughout the Civil War and Reconstruction. It was 25 years before Edwin G. Carrier reopened the hotel in 1887. The new hotel was brick exterior and featured the first electric passenger elevator in the South. The Hotel was later renamed The Belmont, and was linked to the Horse Racing Track that is now Carrier Park. However, in September 1891 the hotel burned again. It was abandoned in 1894.
This was not exactly the end of the Sulphur Springs Hotel, however. In June 1914, the Sulphur Springs Park Realty Company recorded a new neighborhood development on the site. What is now called School Road is shown on the old map as Sulphur Springs Boulevard. It is unclear how much, if any, of this project was completed. It could have been the outbreak of World War I or some other circumstance, but design of Sulphur Springs Park was never fully implemented.
On June 13, 1925, Malvern Hills was recorded at the Buncombe County Courthouse and the final blocks were platted February 18th of the following year. This two-phase development was a very exciting new page for the property that already had such a rich past. A nine-hole golf course was part of the new neighborhood, and would have been located along the Canie Creek route on the south side of the community - south of Wendover Road. This was the first nine-hole course in Western North Carolina.
Only a few homes were constructed before the Great Depression, and building all but stopped until the 1940s, when the new surge of building began and continued until the lots were all sold and mostly built by 1970.
Below is the map from the original advertisement for Malvern Hills from the Asheville Citizen in 1925. For more on the history of the Malvern Hills development, see the Frye newspaper clippings.