Historic Aethelwold Building in Brevard, NC Celebrates "Rebirth" at Reopening

Preservation of historic landmark heralded, as long-awaited building plans are unveiled.

Domokur Architects is part of an exciting historic restoration project in the heart of Brevard, North Carolina. On April 10, approximately one hundred local community leaders attended a private reception in the lobby of the historic Aethelwold building to celebrate completion of the restoration of this historic landmark. Future plans for the building’s upper levels were also unveiled, and historic photos, artifacts and memorabilia from the Aethelwold Hotel’s past were put on permanent display in a museum-style showcase. Stories of the history of the hotel’s notable past were shared at the event as well as details of all the original architectural features of the exterior, which have now been meticulously restored after the building narrowly escaped demolition when it fell into disrepair over the years.

“What’s been done here in restoring the Aethelwold is key to preserving the legacy of Brevard,” said Heath Seymour, Executive Director of Heart of Brevard. “I’m overwhelmed by what I’ve seen tonight.” The Heart of Brevard is a non-profit organization focused on economic development of Brevard’s downtown district, as well as preservation of important historic buildings. “The impact of this building being saved will have lasting consequences for the community. Its restoration is truly a gift to the community for generations to come, and will certainly provide huge positive impact on this National Register Historic District.”

Built in 1900, the Aethelwold Hotel was long the crown jewel of Brevard’s downtown area, boasting visitors that included the likes of John D. Rockefeller and President William Howard Taft who signed the guest register and stayed at the acclaimed hotel. Records show that the hotel accommodated up to one hundred visitors, and a room with a bath cost $1.50 in the early 1900’s.

The hotel closed in 1950 and fell into disrepair in the decades that followed. All of the building’s original architectural features were gradually lost, and its condition deteriorated to the point that the once-grand Aethelwold was in danger of demolition due to lack of maintenance.

In 1993, Tim Hall of Brevard purchased the building, and thus the process of restoration began. Hall possessed a singular focus to save the historic Aethelwold.

“When I bought the building, most of the building’s architectural features had long been removed and the building was in poor shape,” explains Hall. “The third floor had been removed, the roof was leaking, carpet was glued down over the lobby’s mosaic tiles, and the lobby’s stairway railings were also broken and discarded in another part of the building.” Such began Hall’s tile-by-tile restoration of the building, including rebuilding the missing third floor, replicating the original Mansard roofline, rebuilding the original stone arches and columns that graced the Main Street entrance, restoring the original 48” tin ceiling tiles, and more.

Aethelwold Open HouseGuests attending the reopening of the Aethelwold were afforded guided tours of the upper levels (second and third floors) that are currently being developed into a mixed use of office space and residential condos.

"This is an exciting day for Brevard.” exclaimed Brevard’s Mayor Jimmy Harris. “This historical building in our central downtown business district is important to our past and to our future. I am thankful that an investor has come forward to develop this wonderful property.”

As the architectural firm responsible for developing the Aethelwold property, Domokur Architects recognizes the significance of the property’s legacy. “Restoring The Aethelwold reflects the importance of preserving the history of Brevard ,” firm owner Michael Domokur explains. “It also reflects the importance of protecting what is special and irreplaceable about the community.”

Domokur Architects has offices in Akron, Cleveland, Chicago, and Brevard, North Carolina. For more information on our adaptive reuse and historic restoration projects, visit www.domokur.com.