Before the fire: Pictured are Aunt Polly Stewart, Aunt Sally Craigmiles, JB Craigmiles, Katherine White, and unidentified child. Photo by Jim Jones.

Before 1920, Joseph B. Graigmiles built a house on the corner of 226 and 221 in Bakersville, just up the road from his print shop where he published a weekly newspaper, The Mitchell County Banner. He and his wife Sally Greene Craigmiles, known to local friends as Uncle Joe and Aunty Sally, lived there until the devastating fire of 1923 burned the house to the ground along with much of Bakersville. He rebuilt on the same property a house that was very similar in style and structure and lived there until his death in August of 1937. Sally lived there until 1946 when she sold the house to Washington Hines Sparks. Better known to most as Wash, he converted it into a boarding house or, as the sign outside in the yard once proclaimed, Tourist Home. Sometime in the 50’s, Wash built a cinderblock addition to the lower part of the house hugging the road and opened the Wash Sparks Café. Wash died in 1977, having sold the house and property to Erwin Edwards. In 1981, the NC Department of Transportation demolished both house and café in order to widen the intersection. Anyone with stories they are willing to share about Wash Sparks’ Café or Tourist Home are encouraged to contact the Mitchell County Historical Society through Dr. Daniel Barron, drdanbarron@gmail.com or 828-284-1914. Thanks to Kathy Laws and her staff at the Mitchell County Register of Deeds for their help in preparing the story.

The corner after the 1923 fire: The remains of the house located lower left above the wall. Left to right the Bowman, Gudger, and Presswood/Buchanan houses that survived. Photo by Jim Jones.

The rebuilt home with, it is believed, Mr Craigmiles and Aunt Polly Stewart. The Bowman house is in the upper right. Photo by Jim Jones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Demolition April 1981: Photos by J. Clark and Elizabeth Hunter from The Mitchell Journal (4/9/81)

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