Asheville fire officials are investigating what caused a fire that destroyed a historic 120-year-old Victorian house in Asheville’s River Arts District on Sunday night.
Nobody was injured in the fire that started around 7:30 p.m. on Park Avenue, a dead-end street that winds up and behind the Grey Eagle music hall. Folks gathered for a Grey Eagle show were evacuated for a short time. The music hall wasn’t damaged.
The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Orpheus and Bertha Keener House. It was built around 1890 and the Keeners moved into the home in 1920, according to the listing. Orpheus Keener worked as a grocer and in 192i opened his own grocery store on the bottom level of the house. It was located on a street that connected the West Asheville bridge with Clingman Avenue. The house is described as a late Victorian cottage with a full basement, a front gable bay and balcony.
The property the house sits on was featured in the 1958 classic film Thunder Road, according to a fairly recent property listing. A bridge below the house and surrounding property there appear in a chase scene where Mitchum’s character is on the run from the T-men trying to catch him. The property listing described the house as roughtly 2,500 square feet with four bedrooms and the downstairs general store still intact.