Did you know that May is Historic Preservation Month? Historic preservation groups all over the country are holding events and activities, and here in Transylvania County local preservation groups have a number of events lined up to showcase our local history.
Our colleagues at the Transylvania County Historical Society are hosting a unique event at the Allison-Deaver House, the oldest standing frame house in Western North Carolina. A traditional afternoon tea will be held as a fund-raiser on Saturday, May 20, with seatings at 1:30 and 3:00 pm. (Update: the 1:30 seating is sold out.) Tickets are $25, and the money raised supports restoration of this ca. 1815 house. If you are a fan of local history, or tea parties, or both, visit the Historical Society’s web site to reserve your tickets.
It is the middle of Spring and all thoughts turn toward tending to yards and gardens. For those of us in Friends of Silvermont, we have a particularly large garden that needs some tending! We will be having our monthly Deadfall and Clean-up Day on this Saturday, May 6th. There is a slight chance of rain that morning but hopefully it will hold off. We will be starting at 9 AM and working for about two hours or so. There are numerous piles of debris collected around the property that need picking up. In addition, we will be weeding in the mulch beds along Main St. and performing other clean up tasks. Please come out if you have a chance.
The monthly deadfall day for April, normally held on the first Saturday of the month, will be rescheduled due to high wind advisories which will be in effect on April 1. During our last high wind event, a major portion of a hemlock tree and many large limbs were downed, so we’re cancelling the April 1 event for safety reasons. If the April deadfall day is rescheduled, we’ll post an update later in the month. Otherwise, plan to join us on the first Saturday in May.
Recent visitors to Silvermont will have noticed a substantial amount of construction activity on the popular main walking trail. Work began in January to address drainage issues on the north side of the park. Stormwater erosion has been mitigated with the addition of new drains and a retention pond.
Once the infrastructure work was complete, the next step was to replace the gravel pathway with a durable paved surface. The entire walking trail, including the Walk of History that runs along the east side of the park by the parking lot, is now a smooth surface which will be much easier to navigate for people with limited mobility and for baby strollers.
According to Transylvania County, who contracted to have the drainage improvements and paving completed, there is still a little landscaping work outstanding to finish the project. The contractor and county will be sowing additional grass and laying some sod, and mulch will be added to cover the gravel at the side of the trail.
Overall, this is a massive improvement over the gravel trail, which frequently had erosion problems and potentially uneven surfaces. Thanks, Transylvania County, for making this enhancement to Silvermont!
We will be holding our regularly scheduled Deadfall and Clean-up Day on Saturday 3/4 from 10 AM to 12 Noon. It looks like the forecasted heavy rains and winds will be over by Friday afternoon/evening but expect it to be a wet and muddy event. We will continue to focus on fallen branches and some of the other debris but also work on removing invasive species. We’ll start at 10 AM. Temperatures should be in the 50’s and it is supposed to be windy. Wheelbarrow(s), tarps, loppers, saws and a chainsaw will be available.
The next deadfall day, during which volunteers perform light cleanup of the Silvermont Park grounds, will take place on Saturday March 4 from 10 am – noon. Come join us in the ongoing battle against invasive species.
The Transylvania Times recently ran an article on the Friends of Silvermont deadfall day in February so you can see the kind of fun we’re having.
Our Pumpkin Fest 2022 event held over four weekends in October was a huge success! We had more than 5,600 paying attendees over the eight nights of the event. This was down slightly from last year’s total, which was likely boosted by lack of competition and post pandemic cabin fever. Friends of Silvermont grossed over $34,000 from the 2022 event. This success is largely due to our many volunteers who turned out like never before. Thanks to better outreach and coordination we had at least 60 volunteers working each night and about 250 different people involved in helping prepare, execute and teardown the event. We had tremendous participation by local high school students as trail actors and helping with numerous other tasks. For those of you on this distribution who participated, THANK YOU! We literally cannot do it without you.
An update report on our Pumpkin Fest results was also recently submitted to the Transylvania county tourism development authority by the FOS board.
As always, thank you for being a Friend of Silvermont,
Visitors to Silvermont Park are advised that portions of the walking path around the grounds will be closed February 7-10 while dead trees are felled and removed from the park. Additionally, some trees near the path are being trimmed. While portions of the path will remain open during this project, to ensure their safety visitors should avoid work zones when crews are present and stay out of any areas that have been barricaded.
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Typically on the first Saturday of the month, Friends of Silvermont volunteers gather at Silvermont to clean up the grounds and take on minor landscaping projects.
The first 2023 Deadfall and Clean-up Day will be held on Saturday February 4th from 10 AM to 12 PM. There are lots of fallen branches and some smaller cut trees at the park that need to be cleaned up.
If you’d like to do your part in keeping the park attractive, come join us on Saturday. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own landscaping tools and work gloves. We’ll be meeting in the main parking lot at 10 AM.
Great Transylvania Times article about Silvermont music!
STILL GOING STRONG
Mountain Music Thursdays
FOR THE T. TIMES
More than 30 years after local musicians first gathered to strum and sing favorite regional tunes, Mountain Music Thursdays at Silvermont Senior Center in Brevard are still going strong.
A recent cold night may have curtailed attendance of both music makers and their appreciative audience but as performers say, ‘the show must go on.’ And it did.
“Greetings everybody,” said guitarist and defacto leader Pat Clements. “It’s 7:30 and time for a little music.” And that’s all the four guitarists — Clements, Tom Acker, Wharton Donaldson and Ed Phillips — needed to get rolling. The single microphone was passed from one to another. He called out the tune and the key and as he sang solo, the others joined in. The music was eclectic; Clement said what was once played was pure mountain music but that stricture has loosened over the years. The playlist ran the gamut from “Steamroller Blues” by James Taylor to “City of New Orleans” popularized by Arlo Guthrie but written by Steve Goodman.
“It’s been a welcoming place; it always has been,” said Clements. “Everybody is comfortable and gracious. We play songs we know and don’t know. And bad notes are welcome.”
Sure, a few chords were missed here and there and sometimes lyrics proved elusive, but one gets the idea it’s really like-minded people who enjoy the playing music together. The good-natured banter between songs was evidence enough. When it was his turn, Phillips announced: “We’re going to play something different.”
Donaldson’s reply with a laugh: “What would be different is if I could play it.”
The audience appreciated their effort. That included 90-year-old Martha Jaye Johnson, a lifelong
– Silvermont, 10A
Helen Freedman and Martha Jaye Johnson cut a rug on the hardwood floor during Mountain Music Thursdays at Silvermont.
Dave Bradley, For The T. Times
Continued inA10 H
Pat Clements and Ed Phillips are among those who play during the Mountain Music Thursdays at Silvermont.
Continued from 1A
Brevardian who wouldn’t dream of skipping a 7:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday session. “Golly, I wouldn’t miss it. It’s fun,” she said.
Although Miss Johnson doesn’t play an instrument, she said, “Anybody, if they can play or not, they can join in. We just have a good time.” What she can do, however, is dance. Clements calls out a dance-worthy tune and Johnson is up and on the floor. (He noted she was a member of the Echo Inn clogging team that won a national championship back in the day and were featured on the Jimmy Dean television show as they danced to Alabama Jubilee.)
Indeed the enduring run of Mountain Music may have played a role in the rescue of Silvermont from the wrecking ball. Clement said the music began about the time in the early 1980s when the city suggested Silvermont be torn down. Friends of Silvermont was formed and the music was one way to raise donations (Thursday night attendance is free). Those originators,
Dave Bradley, For The T. Times
he said, “were influential for the salvation of this building.”
Some of the original regulars — Ray Smith, Harley Raines and Lyle Reedy, among others — no longer play so those relatively recent to Brevard, including Clements (New Jersey), Acker (Charleston), Donaldson (Philadelphia) and Phillips (Pittsburgh) are the necessary new blood that keep the tradition alive. Clements said on a typical night in good weather, up to 12 musicians join in the fun.
Concert-level skills aren’t a requisite. Acker’s wife learned of the Thursday nights while at the Brevard Visitor Center, “so we came over and checked it out.”
“They seemed like they could use another bad guitar player and a really bad singer. They haven’t run me off yet,” he chuckled.
Donaldson was encouraged by a friend to give the music a go, but he saw his debut as less than stellar.
“I will never forget my
Tom Acker sings his way through John Prine’s “Please Don’t Bury Me.”
first time here,” he recalled. “You try to do as well as you can but I really screwed up. I’d never performed before.”
But it was a Baptist preacher who applied the salve Donaldson needed. “He came up to me and said ‘Son, it’s all about a joyful noise.” And Donaldson hasn’t missed many jam sessions since.
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Please come out to support your Readers’ Theatre Players Live Performance at Silvermont on Monday November 28th, starting at 1:00 P.M. The Readers’ Theatre Players will perform several short plays produced by Julie Vorus and Directed by Alan Edick. The entire show will run for just over one hour. Admission at the door is $5.00