Riverside Cemetery and it’s Civil War History and Asheville Historical Figures

Posted by admin on September 5, 2009

A great field trip for those who love to walk/drive cemeteries—Riverside Cemetery is the place for you and it’s just down the block from The 1899 Wright Inn and Carriage House!! We spent a few hours there doing a new driving tour and were impressed by the beauty and history we found.

Riverside Cemetery was established in 1885 as a Victorian rural garden. These garden cemeteries contained flowers, trees, winding paths, beautiful views with open space for picnicking and recreation for the living. They were the predecessors of public parks.

Upon entering, you will notice the beautiful plaque on the gate with a quote from Look Homeward, Angel by Asheville’s son, Thomas Wolfe, “When he came to the gate of the cemetery he found it open….as he approached the family plot, his pulse quickened a little.”

You will follow the path to visit early Asheville’s famous citizens–Pearson, McDowell, Green and Clingman. Buried here also are the original owners / builders of what is now our beautiful Asheville NC Bed and Breakfast, the Wrights, Leva and Osella. Among the famous are Richard Sharpe Smith, supervising architect of Biltmore House, Thomas Wolfe, William Sydney Porter (better known as O. Henry), Zebulon Vance, general and Confederate governor of North Carolina and later U.S. Senator.

Veterans from all wars are buried here. For any of you who share my interest in Civil War history, there are a number of veterans from that war resting here. Many of those graves of generals and privates alike are still decorated with flags from the South’s Decoration Day.

When you are on overload from your days at Biltmore House, dining and shopping in Asheville, white water rafting, picnicking on the Blue Ridge Parkway, taking the Asheville Trolley Tour, hiking Chimney Rock or the Brevard waterfall area, you might want to consider a quiet time with the past and absorb the beauty and serenity this is—-Riverside Cemetery.

Barbara & Bob Gilmore

Owners & Innkeepers
1899 Wright Inn and Carriage House

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