Communities Heritage

Ravenscroft School Lives to See Another Century

Built circa 1840, the Ravenscroft School is one of downtown Asheville’s oldest buildings. Photo courtesy of PSAB.

The Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County (PSABC) will hold its annual meeting on Thursday, June 29, at 5:30 p.m. at Zabriskie Parish Hall in All Souls Cathedral. Executive director Jack Thomson says board members will present the year in review, including successful preservation projects like the Ravenscroft School.

Circa 1840, the three-story Italian Renaissance Revival was constructed as a private residence for Haywood County merchant and farmer Joseph Osborne. The home changed hands when Osborne moved to Tennessee, and it became a boys’ school in 1856. Developers slated the site for demolition in 1979, but thanks to PSABC, Ravenscroft lived to see another century.

“It enters a short list of buildings that we know will remain,” says Thomson. “It’s important in this day and age when we see a lot of change.”

Today, the 8,500-squarefoot building sits off Church Street near Hilliard and has been divvied up into commercial offices. Thomson calls that adaptive reuse. “It’s an elegant way to preserve a historic building. Luckily, we’ve kept the architectural significance.”

Ravenscroft is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a Historic Landmark by the City of Asheville. PSABC was gifted the official easement last year. Thomson is working to secure preservation easements for three historic homes on Biltmore Avenue, a few doors down from the Orange Peel. He hopes specifics will be available for the annual meeting.

All Souls Cathedral is located at 9 Swan Street in Asheville. The meeting is free and open to the public. For more information, visit psabc.org.

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