Oteen

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This building, a former nurses’ dormitory for the Oteen VA Hospital, still stands just east of Downtown Asheville off Riceville Road.

From 1924 to 1932, 18 impressive and beautiful Colonial Revival and Stucco Georgian Revival buildings were built on the grounds of the Oteen Veterans Administration Hospital – previously U.S. Army General Hospital No. 19. (U.S. General Hospital No.12 was housed in the Kenilworth Inn, but that’s another post…) Unlike other VA hospitals, Oteen’s focus was treating tuberculosis, and Oteen became the only VA hospital in the south dedicated to respiratory ailments. The patients, many who had contracted TB due to cramped and damp conditions overseas during WW1, were treated with rest and fresh mountain air, not injections of any sort. But even with the best treatment, tuberculosis was one of the most deadly diseases of this time.

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Another one of the former nurses’ dormitories is now restored and houses the western branch of the North Carolina State Archives. This state agency handles heritage tourism promotion, archiving of photographs and other historical preservation, public records management and archaeological research. From 1978 until 1981 this agency operated from Oteen, but relocated to Biltmore Village while their building underwent a $3.4 million dollar renovation. I love the current “before and after” picture.  

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The restored “Building 13” was originally built in 1932 as a dorm for African-American nurses.

According to http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/asheville/ote.htm, 13 of the 18 original buildings remain today, some still used by the VA hospital, the other occupied by apartments and the Laurels of Summit Ridge, an assisted living facility.

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