Boarders Visit “Old Kentucky Home” for Wolfe Birthday Celebration at Wolfe Memorial


It’s 1916 and boarders at Julia Wolfe’s “Old Kentucky Home” boardinghouse are visiting for health, business and leisure. You may see one of them snapping pictures with her 1916 Kodak camera. Hot topics include World War I or the upcoming World Series and a newsie will hawk the Oct. 7, 1916 newspaper on Market Street.

It’s part of the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Birthday Celebration Oct. 7, beginning with the 9:30 a.m. Thomas Wolfe 8K run that starts in front of the site. The town will be celebrating as local vendors of farm fresh meat, produce and dairy products sell their wares on a closed Market Street, starting at 8 a.m. There will be free tours of the house for North Carolina residents, a used book sale, children’s crafts, cake and Thomas Wolfe apple crisp ice cream from The Hop Ice Cream Café, 1:30-4:30 p.m.

In 1906, Julia Wolfe purchased the boardinghouse that became a successful business venture and home to young Thomas. Born Oct. 3, 1900, he was the youngest of eight children and carefully observed the town’s residents and boardinghouse guests. He would have encountered a wide variety of boarders at the Old Kentucky Home as Asheville’s tourism was booming due to resorts and health sanatoriums.

Journey back to a time when the headlines shouted news of World War I, the Boston Red Sox versus the Brooklyn Robins (featuring Babe Ruth) in the World Series, Pancho Villa, and discussions of border control between Mexico and the U.S. This Wolfe birthday observance will be extra, extra special!

The Thomas Wolfe Memorial preserves the boarding house known as Dixieland in Wolfe’s novel “Look Homeward, Angel,” which was Julia Wolfe’s boardinghouse, Old Kentucky Home, where Wolfe grew up.

For more information, call Thomas Wolfe Memorial, (828) 253-8304 or visit Wolfe Memorial is located at 52 N. Market St. Asheville, N.C. 28801. It is part of the Division of State Historic Sites within the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

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