Located in historic Valle Crucis, the 1861 Farmhouse, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is home to a wonderful restaurant and a truly unique wine room. The restaurant resides in a beautiful setting with scenic vistas. Located directly across from Mast General Store, 1861 Farmhouse offers patrons a one-of-a-kind experience.
1861 Farmhouse Restaurant In the new High Country Magazine – June 2013
History of the 1861 Farmhouse The "Hard" Taylor House, circa 1861 Historic Valle Crucis
One of the earliest homes built in the Valle, the original structure of this magnificent house was completed in 1861 ~ the year The Civil War began ~ as a modest two-room, brick house. It was built by hand by Henry Taylor, the patriarch of one of the four founding families of Valle Crucis. These two original rooms are located to the left as you enter the front door. The brick for the house was made personally by hand by Henry at his own brickyard. Henry created walls for his home that are more than a foot thick. The lumber for the house came directly from the land and was hand-sawn at the Mission House at Holy Cross. Primarily hickory and hemlock, it has stood the test of time and is still impressively sound.
Henry and his wife, Emaline Mast Taylor, later added a first-floor addition to the house and raised four sons here. Emaline passed away in 1880, and shortly afterward Henry gave the house to his youngest son, Thomas Hardester "Hard" Taylor, and his wife, Victoria "Vicki" Baird, daughter of Sheriff David Baird, the patriarch of another of the four founding families of the Valle. Hard and Vicki completed an even larger expansion to the house around 1895, bringing it to its current size of nearly 5,000 square feet. The result was one of the Valle's grandest homes, featuring three stories, two parlors, six bedrooms, a back stairway for the help, and two large, formal porches for enjoying the cool summer breezes and the peaceful pastoral views.
The Hard Taylor house was the first home in the Valle to have indoor plumbing ~ including a bathroom! ~ along with a closet in every bedroom, quite a luxury at that time. As early as 1912, the Taylors also enjoyed central heat, which was supplied by a coal furnace in the basement which came from a Charlotte bank. Water to the house was supplied by a well of only 18 feet deep, which has never run dry. Connected to the house were a wash house, smoke house, and a spring house with water supplied by a gravity-fed spring. The house was also one of the three houses in the area to first have telephones, along with the homes owned by Hard’s brother, “Squire” ~ now The Inn at The Taylor House ~ and Josie & Finley Mast’s home ~ now The Mast Farm Inn.
The Hard Taylor house also had another important role: it was home to the Valle Crucis Post Office, which was located in the front yard, where "Aunt Vicki" served as Post-Mistress for more than 30 years, from 1896 until her death in 1928. Hard Taylor also served as Postmaster for two 5- year terms, while Vickie raised their seven children. Don’t miss seeing the framed certificates in the foyer from the U.S. Postmaster, naming Hard & Vicki to their positions, kindly given to us by their granddaughters. The Post Office eventually moved across the street to the Mast General Store, which Henry Taylor built in 1882 and managed, before later selling half, and then full, interest, to W. W. Mast. The Original Mast General Store still serves our community today, and is one of the finest examples in the country of an old-time general store.
The Hard Taylor House was a popular gathering place for the young people of Valle Crucis. The Taylors were also widely known to welcome visitors, and, beginning in 1872, travelers could secure room and board for 25 cents a night ~ or 40 cents for one “drummer” (salesman), driver and horse. The house became so popular that it was listed in the North Carolina Business Directory as a "hotel."
It remained a private residence for the Taylor Family until 1988.