The Zachary-Tolbert House

ztHouseWebThe Zachary-Tolbert House, established 1852, is a unique Western North Carolina example of Greek Revivalist Architecture ~ a European architectural movement introduced in the United States in the 18th century by Thomas Jefferson. Surviving intact for over 150 years without electricity, indoor plumbing, or central heat, the Zachary-Tolbert House now serves as a museum exhibiting a unique collection of hand-crafted ‘plain-style’ furniture, a collection considered to be the largest known grouping of its type. A regional treasure, the Zachary-Tolbert House transports visitors into the historic and colorful past of Cashiers Valley and a much more gentile way of life.


1832. Young Mordecai Zachary moves to Cashiers with his family.

1842. Begins construction of the house at age 19 with wood from his father’s sawmill.

1852. Marries Elvira Evalina Keener and moves into the House with his bride.

1860. In a community and family with divided loyalties, Zachary supports the Confederacy.

1873. The Zacharys move to Whittier. House purchased by US Speaker pro tempore of the House, Armistead Burt of Abbeville, SC. Wade Hampton III, a prominent South Carolinian, continues to visit Cashiers and board at the home.

1881. Burt sells home to William Henry Parker, Mayor of Abbeville, SC.

1909. The House is purchased by the Tolberts as a summer retreat.

1998. Robert Red “Bubba” Tolbert sells the home to Tom and Wendy Dowden who gift the house to the newly formed Cashiers Historical Society. The house is restored and becomes known as the Zachary-Tolbert House and is posted on the National Register of Historic Places on December 31, 1998.

2006. The Dowden Pavilion is built to house the Administrative office.

2011. The Old Schoolhouse is purchased for the office expansion. The Waddell House, a gift of John M. Rivers, is moved to the site.