With our eyes we see the beauty of the mountains, coves, and valleys of our Black Mountain and the meandering Swannanoa River. We hear cold rustling winds in the winter and refreshing cool breezes in the summer. We smell the crispness of the mountain snows and sweet clean air after a summer rain. Indeed, Black Mountain was and is a healing place for the body and a spiritual place for the soul.
Mind, Body and Spirit
With the advent of the railroad in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, our western mountains were a mecca for restorative health. Our coveted climate drew people from all over the United States (including George Vanderbilt, a sickly child who came to Western North Carolina with his mother and, as an adult, built his estate in Asheville.) Sanatoriums sprang up for the treatment of tuberculosis (TB), a lung disease often called consumption. Small sanatoriums were built first. In 1911, Craigmont Sanatorium was established by IJ Archer. Later, the Bellmont Park Sanatorium treated TB, alcoholism, and mental conditions. The largest sanatorium was in WNC Sanatorium that operated the first three decades of the 20th century. The development of penicillin brought a cure to TB in the middle of the 20th century, but the sanatorium continued to serve victims of Alzheimer’s disease and drug and alcohol addictions.
In addition to physical healing, many flocked to our mountains for spiritual healing. Black Mountain was the ideal location to establish Christian religious retreats. In 1897 Montreat Assembly was built first. A group of businessmen purchased 4,000 acres north of Black Mountain. It was first ecumenical in nature but was later bought by the Southern Presbyterian Church.
Today, Montreat College is situated on picturesque Lake Susan, named for generations of Susans in the Allen Graham family. Another retreat is Ridgecrest Assembly. Affiliated with the North Carolina Baptist Convention, it was dubbed “Mountain of Faith,” and it held its first assembly in 1908. Pritchard Hall, the largest white structure, built in the 1950’s, is visible from the crest of Ridgecrest Mountain on I-40. More recently, Billy Graham’s Training Center, The Cove at the western end of the Swannanoa Valley, was designed to “encourage, refresh, and empower believers who want to grow and deepen their faith.” Named after the late world-renowned evangelist Dr. Billy Graham, the Cove offers a plethora of Bible studies and retreats.
Growing at a Healthy Pace
In the Black Mountain tradition, Sure Point Builders and its staff honor the well-being of its Tudor Croft residents. They construct clean, healthy, and safe homes that allow spiritual restoration for those who live here. From Tudor Croft we can see the Ridgecrest Cross that brings a feeling of peace to many of our residents and visitors.
Settlers who came to our mountains early on, the tourists and patients who came later, and those who continue to come all can take in the physical and metaphysical qualities that abound here. This is truly a “Magic Mountain.”