Updated: April 2019
A Post Office for the Village
Biltmore Village was envisioned to be an independent and self-sustaining community, where people would live, work, shop, go to school and visit The Cathedral of All Souls for prayer. Although Alexander Bell had invented the telephone in 1876, its adoption was not widespread, therefore, having a Post Office in the village was vital.
In 1900, Richard Sharpe Smith architected the Biltmore Village Post Office with pebble-dash surfaces and half-timbering adding to the harmonious and pleasing picture of the village.
The Post Office was located just east of the historic Southern Railway Depot on Brook Street.
The building is part of the National Register of Historic Places. In the nomination papers, the building is described as “a one-story symmetrical gable-end structure with the inevitable pebble-dash and half-timbering, and a center gable extension toward the street. (...) By utilizing similar design motifs in both his residential and commercial structures, Smith maintained an architectural symmetry between buildings of varying functions and created a visually pleasing atmosphere in the village”.
Today, the Historic Biltmore Village Post Office has been meticulously restored and carefully maintained and is home to Porter & Prince, a boutique for luxury linens and sleepwear.
About Richard Sharpe Smith (1852-1924)
In 1852 Richard Sharpe Smith was born in Yorkshire, England. He received his architectural training in the office of his cousin George Smith. He also worked for several architects in Manchester.
In 1882 Richard Smith immigrated to the United States and started his new position with the Reid Brothers, architects, in Evansville, Indiana.
In 1883 Richard Smith moved to New York City and joined Bradford L. Gilbert’s office, where he supervised the design and construction of railroad stations.
In 1886 Richard Smith joined the office of Richard Morris Hunt working on various projects for Richard Hunt.
In 1889 Hunt assigned Richard Smith to the Biltmore Project supervising the construction of → Biltmore House and other buildings on George Vanderbilt’s estate. Richard Smith was sent to Biltmore and communicated with Richard Hunt, who remained in his New York office, through weekly progress reports and frequent letters.
Starting in 1892 George Vanderbilt asked Richard Smith to design additional buildings for him.
In 1895, the same year, when → Biltmore House was finished, Richard Hunt suddenly died, and Richard Smith became George Vanderbilt’s personal architect.
In 1896 the Vance Memorial, which Richard Smith designed, was completed.
By 1901 the first cottages in the Cottage District in Biltmore Village were built.
In 1901 Richard Smith established his private practice in fast-growing Asheville. Through his abilities as an architect and indeed through his association with George Vanderbilt, Richard Smith became one of Asheville’s leading architects, and the first, who resided permanently in the city. During this time, Richard Smith designed the Henderson County Courthouse in Hendersonville (1905) and together with Rafael Guastavino the Basilica of Saint Lawrence (1905-1909).
In 1906 Richard Smith formed a partnership with Albert Heath Carrier, whose family had moved to Asheville in 1885, and formed the Smith and Carrier firm. Together the firm worked on more than 700 projects from its inception to Richard Smith’s death in 1924. Some of their essential works were the Legal Building (1909), the Scottish Rite Cathedral and Masonic Temple (1913), the Fraternal Order of Eagles Building (1914), the Elks Home (1915) and the Loughran Building (1923).
In 1924, Richard Smith died. He was praised by the local newspaper Asheville Citizen to have “done more than any other person to beautify the city.”
6 Brook Street, Asheville, NC 28803
STREET VIEWING ONLY.
Free street parking.
Public bus stop: Lodge Street at Biltmore Ave.
Stop Gray Line Historic Trolley: 5 Boston Way (at the store Olde World Christmas Shoppe)