“Silvermont, then hidden behind heavy, ornate iron gates, a hemlock hedge and surrounding woods seemed like another world in our young minds. Walking the stone wall and peering through the trees was about as close as we dared trespass. Mr. Silversteen’s European attire — dapper topcoat, tall boots and horned rimmed glasses — set him apart. Perhaps it was his demeanor, his charm, or the thin silver dime he sometimes slipped into our hands that distinguished him most to us as children.
Adelaide, the Silversteens’ youngest daughter, and her husband, Bill Hill, returned to Brevard in the mid- 1950s to celebrity status — she a famous singer, and both respected musicians and world travelers. As seen through adolescent eyes, her long, dark fur coat and flowery hat only added to the mystique.
On Sundays they sat near the front at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church where our family also attended. Their place reserved simply by a pew cushion. Mary recounts a Sunday service when the organist was away and her mother volunteered her as the substitute: I was very nervous and had hit several wrong keys when Adelaide stood up and leaned over the pew to see who was playing the organ!
The lovely triple stained glass windows behind the altar at St. Philip’s were donated by the Silversteens in 1957 in memory of Adelaide’s mother, Elizabeth.
Mac remembers barely surviving diction lessons with her, reading from her prepared tests and being graded on enunciation, form, tempo, etc.: The fact that our mother and Adelaide were lifelong friends probably saved us both from too much scrutiny.
Bill Hill would eventually become a pillar of the church, guiding the finances of the parish for several decades. Mac recalls: I learned to appreciate him more as a young adult during my tenure as Junior Warden, where my respect for his charity grew. At times of true financial need, Bill always seemed to find a way for the church to meet that need. Sometimes, I suspect, from his own pocket.
The gift of Silvermont and its surrounding property to the people of Transylvania County speaks volumes to the Silversteens’ love for Brevard and its citizens. Restoration of this historic home is a way to honor their legacy and create a gathering place for all. Please consider joining us (as Adelaide’s husband, Bill Hill did) by reaching into your pocket to support this unique community asset.”
Mac Morrow, Brevard Mayor Pro Tem
Mary Morrow Rose