Black Mountain Children's Home


Join the Preservation Society on March 7 at 5:30 p.m. in the Black Mountain Children’s Home 4-H camp dining hall, 100 Clover Lane in Black Mountain, to hear a complex and intriguing history.

In 1904, the Rev. R.P. Smith, who was orphaned himself at the age of 12, and Mrs. E. H. Bales opened the doors of a little four room cottage to six orphaned children. In 1929 the 90 acre Swannanoa 4-H camp was completed and was later converted into a WW2 prisoner of war camp.

The home and the 4-H camp merged in 2016. Come and enjoy this rich history in the building constructed by the Nazi officers. Those with masonry and carpentry skills built two wings with wormy chestnut interiors and outstanding stone walled gardens. A veteran’s memorial sits behind these low walls on the slope above the dining hall. After the extension service closed the camp in 2013 BMH acquired it in 2016, and has been working diligently to restore the facility and preserve its rich history.

Speaker Elodie Covert oversees the day to day facilities and coordinates events on site for Black Mountain Home for Children (BMH). Covert is a self-taught historian of the BMH. She is also working to develop on site apprenticeship programs and job training for the college age students who have aged out of foster care. Turning 18 can and often does mean instant homelessness for youth without job skills and a support system.

At BMH, students are assured a stable place to live, a real home, through college graduation, job training or apprenticeship programs even if they are pursuing degrees out of the area. 

The Preservation Society is grateful to have access to this historic site and to help increase and generate support for Preservation and for the work done by BMH. Suggested donations of $10 will help support local preservation. Details at


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