Nina Simone was born on February 21, 1933, in this 660-foot square home in Tryon, North Carolina. Named Eunice Waymon, she lived here with her parents and eight siblings until 1937. This home is mere feet away from St. Luke’s CME Church, where her mother was a pastor, and she began to play the piano for the church by the age of four.
In 2017, artists Adam Pendleton, Rashid John, Ellen Gallagher, and Julie Mehretu bought the home for $95,000. This prevented the potential demolition of this historic home. The artists worked with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and other groups to help restore the home. Plans include adding a living space with modern amenities for a potential artist-in-residence program.
The congregation of Mountain Page Church was formed in 1785, and their first church was completed in 1785. The next structure was built in 1830. This structure has an unknown build date. The current structure that is closer to Saluda was built in 1930.
The congregation of the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church began in 1886 in a log church near Tryon as a place for Black residents to worship. It didn’t officially become the Good Shepherd Mission until 1908.
Before the mission’s founding, the church existed in a Sunday school begun by Mabel True Plaisted, the second wife of Maine’s governor and member of the local white Episcopal Church, Holy Cross, to educate local Black schoolchildren. The school became a local gathering place for the Black community, much to the chagrin of the white community members. The town forced Plaisted to close the school because they did not want the school so close to Holy Cross.
In the following year, the Tyron Industrial Colored School was opened on Markham Road, an area that was approximately a mile from town along winding roads. The church used the school for services. By 1908, the building became an official missionary chapel of the Episcopal Missionary District of Asheville.
The building was used until the 1950s, when it was decided that the old building needed to be replaced. The church found an abandoned church, St. Andrews Chapel, on a nearby plantation was built in the early 1900s for the servants and tenant farmers of the plantation to use. The church was dismantled and moved to its current location. The building is still in use today.
While the church was started for the Black community members of Tryon, it became integrated in the sixties and is now fully integrated.
Nina Simone grew up in Tryon. Her parents and a few of her siblings are buried in the Good Shepherd Cemetery.
Knight’s Store was opened in 1901 by D. T. Knight and operated until 1979, when his grandson, Bill Knight, needed to step away because he could no longer keep the store open. As I was researching the history of this store, I found several obituaries for different members of the Knight family. It’s clear from these obituaries that the family loved running this store, and it was integral to the community of Balsam. Below are links to their obituaries or information on FindAGrave.
I know most folks will do a top ten. I thought I would do a least popular posts. I do have a large catalog of images I have never shared that span a decade, but these are all places I documented in 2022.
Built in 1913, the Gothic Revival Jones Gap Baptist Church sits atop a hill in Henderson County, North Carolina. The church traces its history to Mount Crystal Baptist Church, a church built on Jump Off Mountain in 1892.
The church was the site of arson in 1971. James Robert Arrowood, a volunteer fire fighter, set fire to several schools and churches in the area and then fought the blazes. It is believed there were copycat arsonists at work, too. It was never determined if the damage was caused by Arrowood or one of the copycats.
The congregation is still active. They built a modern structure down the hill, which they’ve used since 1998.
Reference: Terry Ruscin’s article in Blue Ridge Now, “Jones Gap Church originally stood on Jump Off Mountain”