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At the March meeting, the Waightstill Avery Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution honored Eugene Rogers Baker for his outstanding volunteer service to Brevard and Transylvania County. Many of his contributions were related to the Transylvania County Historical Society. The Friends of Silvermont are especially proud of his contributions to Silvermont.
[From March 30, 2017 Transylvania Times…]
“The Silvermont Centennial Committee was formed in 2013 to restore the mansion to a vibrant community center and historic landmark. Baker was treasurer of that group.
Restoration of the windows was deemed to be the most pressing need, and Baker worked diligently to help raise funds towards this goal. Through the sponsorship of the Waightstill Avery Chapter NSDAR and with support from the Transylvania County Commissioners and the County Historical Society, the Silvermont Centennial Committee was awarded an NSDAR grant for $10,000 to apply toward repair and restoration of the 75 solid oak windows. This phase, as well as the replacement of the front porch, has been completed.
In keeping with the Silvermont Committee’s goal of developing a vibrant community center, the Bakers chose to donate funds for the planning and construction of a half-mile American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) certified loop trail around the eight acres of Silvermont. In conjunction with this, the Bakers also donated the funds to provide a resilient rubberized surface for an ADA toddler playground on the site.
Transylvania County has, indeed, been enriched by the service and commitment of Gene Baker. He has made us more aware of our heritage and, with this, has made our community a better place to live.”
The Silvermont Centennial will be celebrated on May 13, with a full day of music and fun activities at Silvermont Park. The basketball court will become a stage for a multitude of area musicians to include: Lynn Goldsmith & Jeter Mountain Band, Clint Richards, Soul Magnetica, and the Hog Town Squealers.
Activities on the grounds will include kids games, garden events, artists, crafts, nature walks and square dancing.
The house museum will be open and there will be displays of past-to-present throughout the house.
There will be lots of goodies available from food trucks as well. Make sure to save the date, May 13, from 11am – 5pm, for a day of family fun at Silvermont!
The second year for the “Lighted Pumpkin Patch & Revenge of the White Squirrels” event at Silvermont Park was a huge success, thanks to the support of Transylvania County residents and other visitors. Over 2600 people visited the illuminated paths decorated with an extensive collection of carved pumpkin and other Halloween displays. Kids of all ages enjoyed scouting for the hidden white squirrels along the trails, listening to the live music that was performed every evening, dining on goodies from the food trucks, visiting the first floor of the mansion and taking part in photo ops with a giant white squirrel!
The Pumpkin Patch fund-raising event ran for three weekends in October, and raised close to $14,000 for the Friends of Silvermont (FOS) fund to benefit Silvermont Park. The Friends of Silvermont are community advocates for keeping Silvermont Park as a vibrant community center and historic landmark. The mission of FOS is to support and advise Transylvania County management in the renovation, enhancement and upkeep of the Silvermont mansion and surrounding park.
The event was possible through the contributions of over 100 volunteers, the Transylvania County Parks & Recreation Department, funding by the Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority, and many helpful businesses. Individuals from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the French Broad Garden Club, and the FOS provided the majority of volunteer efforts.
The initial unpacking of displays was a huge chore, requiring the relocation of the thousands of pumpkins and heavy displays from multiple storage locations to the Silvermont grounds. Keystone Camp provided space for storage of many of the displays over the last year. Participants from the Schenck Job Corps were vital to the moving process, as were members of the County Inmate Work Crew.
Volunteers spent hundreds of hours restoring the displays, planning the layout and logistics, and installing the many decorations and electrical cords required for illumination. Thanks to County funding, new electrical outlets were available throughout the park, making the layout much more manageable this year.
During the event, volunteers worked the gates and parking lot, patrolled the trails, coordinated games, and managed the event.
New to the event this year, two food trucks provided warm drinks and others treats – many thanks to the Velvet Cup and Pauline’s Coffee Cart!
The live music of Ben Phan, Opus Vita, Alabama Headlights, Kevin Muehleisen, and Silvermont’s own Mountain Music group took turns entertaining the crowd from the steps of the mansion – thank you!
The Oskar Blues trolley transported appreciative visitors to Silvermont on several nights from neighboring parking lots and the Gallery Walk.
Other businesses that contributed to the success of the Pumpkin Patch include Ace Hardware, The Transylvania Times, Blue Ridge Quick Print, Allegra, and Keystone Camp.
The Silvermont mansion turns 100 years old in 2017 and plans are being made to celebrate the centennial. Mark your calendars for May 13, 2017 when the primary celebration will be held! The FOS encourages members of the community to provide continued support for Silvermont Park enhancement efforts by becoming a Friend of Silvermont. To become a Friend, visit the FOS website at www.silvermont.org/membership/
The second floor museum will be open during the Brevard Twilight Tour on December 3, from 5pm – 7pm. It will be a great time to visit this historic site which will be decorated for the holidays. The lovely silver Silvermont mansion Christmas ornaments will be available for purchase. The House Museum has been restored to reflect the era and lifestyle of Joseph Simpson Silversteen and his wife Elizabeth who built and moved into this 33-room colonial revival house in 1917. Please note: the museum is not handicap accessible due to its location on the second floor.
Come learn about the strategic plan for Brevard & Transylvania County Parks – Monday September 26, 7pm, County Commissioners meeting.