In 1909 near the foot of Sunset Mountain in north Asheville, Dr. Carl V. Reynolds (1872-1963) constructed a large Neoclassical Revival style house for his private residence. Reynolds, then City Health Officer, was a native of Asheville descended on both lines from prominent Buncombe County families. His father, John Daniel Reynolds, was an early Asheville medical practitioner.
A young Reynolds left Asheville for the City of New York Medical College, and then Brompton Hospital in London, for his medical education and training. He returned to Asheville to set up a private medical practice in 1896 and specialized in the treatment of tuberculosis. At this time Asheville was a popular destination for tuberculosis treatment, due to the pure air quality & optimum climate conditions. Reynolds shifted his interest into public health and was City Health Officer from 1903-1910 and again from 1914-1923. During his career, Dr. Reynolds instituted a number of sanitation measures including: the vaccination of school children, a campaign against the housefly, regulation of Dairy Industry standards, and establishment of packaging requirements for breads sold in bakeries.
The neighborhood was slowly developing as prominent and wealthy individuals built their homes. By 1917, 40 residences were constructed in the neighborhood. Between 1917 and 1925, another 20 houses were built. The mountain ambiance, nearby Country Club, and the existence of a trolley system which connected the northern portion of the city with downtown, were important draws to the new residences.
In September of 1920, Reynolds sold the mansion to the Grove Park School, a prestigious private school for girls. Later that same year, the house suffered damage in a fire. It was repaired by the school. At that time another building, for classrooms, was constructed on the property. It is the present–day home that is adjacent to the Inn.
In 1938 the school changed names to the Plonk School of Creative Arts, headed by the Plonk sisters, the educators and administrators since 1929. The school relocated elsewhere in 1941, and the property was sold to T. Avery & Marie Taylor. Under the Taylor ownership, the mansion became the “Albemarle Inn”, most likely named from nearby “Albemarle Park”. The Taylors operated the Albemarle as a rooming house.
In 1980 the Albemarle was purchased by the Mellins of Florida, who converted the home into a Bed and Breakfast. The Inn changed hands several times until the current owners, Fabrizio & Rosemary Chiariello, purchased it in late Spring, 2012. Thus, the house has retained its name and function over the last four decades & through six separate owners.
The most famous guest at the Inn was the Hungarian composer Bela Bartok, who lived here during the rooming house days is 1943. While residing here, Bartok composed his Third Concerto for Piano, also known as the “Asheville Concerto.” It is said that he was inspired by the “concert of birds” singing in the gardens and trees surrounding the Inn.