Silvermont Mansion, built by Transylvania Industrialist Joseph Silversteen in 1917, anchors an 8 acres county park located on East Main Street in Brevard. The property is operated by Transylvania County Parks and Recreation. A second-floor house museum, reflecting the era of the Silversteen family, is managed by the Transylvania Heritage Museum. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981 and is located in the East Main Street Historic District
In the early 20th century, Joseph Silversteen owned and operated at least five industries in the county including the Toxaway Tanning Company, the Gloucester Lumber Company, the Gloucester Company Store, the Rosman Tanning and Extract Company and the Transylvania Tanning Company.
When Joseph and his wife Elizabeth moved to Transylvania County in 1902, they settled in the town of Toxaway (Now Rosman). That is where Joseph opened his first tannery, the Toxaway Tanning Company, and where their three daughters Miriam, Dorothy and Adelaide, were born,
In 1916, Joseph purchased eight acres from A. E. Boardman on East Main Street and built a two-and-a-half-story, five bay, 33-room Colonial Revival mansion. The rooms, two deep, have paneled wainscot with handsome millwork. The front entrance opens into a center hall with a wide, open-string staircase. In addition to the many bedrooms, baths, and sitting rooms, the house boasts a conservatory and a grand parlor which the family used to play bridge.
The last Silversteen, Dorothy Silversteen Bjerg, passed away in 1972, leaving the house and grounds to Transylvania County.
Her will states that Silvermont “be used as a recreation and community center for the benefit of the citizens of Transylvania County. It is my desire and wish that the facilities be adapted to provide accommodations for the gatherings of elderly people and the youth of the community, and that it serve as a center for art and crafts programs and such other useful and educational purposes as the Board of County Commissioners shall deem appropriate.”
To honor Dorothy’s wishes, the county has created a multi-use facility for the citizens of the county. Silvermont Opportunity Center provides a range of services, activities, and programs to encourage active aging. The second floor of the house is dedicated to a museum, reflecting the era and lifestyle of the Silversteen family. The grounds currently include tennis courts, basketball courts, a playground, picnic shelter, nature trails, and educational gardens.
Silvermont Museum is open Friday afternoons from 1 -4 pm. Tours can be arranged by contacting The Transylvania Heritage Museum at 884-2347 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org