Updated: April 2019
An Early Commercial Building
The Historic Biltmore Village Shoe Store was an early commercial structure, which was built around 1900 by architect Richard Sharpe Smith applying the same design motifs, particularly pebble-dash walls and half-timbering, which can be seen throughout Biltmore Village.
The Shoe Store was located just west of the historic Southern Railway Depot on Lodge Street.
The small, one and a half story Shoe Store is also part of the National Register of Historic Places, where it is described as a structure with a clipped gable-end façade, which is two bays wide with an exterior brick chimney at the ridgeline. The nomination papers further explain that the building “exhibits the original pebble-dash and vertically mounted half-timbering which carries into the gable above a molded overhanging cornice. The east bay is a series of four sash windows which carry around to the east elevation. The upper members of the sash are marked by diamond pattern glazing. The east elevation displays a shed dormer and an interior brick chimney piercing the roof at the eave.”
Both the Shoe Store and the Historic Biltmore Village Post Office, which is located symmetrically on the east side of the Southern Railway Depot, may closely reflect the original town plan of Frederick Law Olmsted, “which included well-defined residential and commercial areas that, at the same time, were joined by common architectural characteristics.”
Today, the well-maintained Historic Biltmore Village Shoe Store is home to MTN Merch, an Asheville themed clothing and gift store.
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.”
22 Lodge 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)