History Tidbits – The Thorn Healer

by | Dec 15, 2016 | Appalachia, Fiction Book Reviews, The Thorn Healer | 6 comments


click on photo for reference

I love history – particularly certain time-periods. What about you?


Of course, there are certain eras I don’t care to read-up on as much, but as a whole  I really enjoy the discovery true events and places in the past.

As I researched for The Thorn Healer, it was amazing to visit the places that showed up in my book.

Today I’m going to introduce you to The Kenilworth Inn – but in The Thorn Healer (and in 1918) it was called U.S. General Hospital # 12 – a facility taken img_4128over by the army to be used as a hospital.

Before the owner of The Kenilworth Inn could use it for its designed purpose, the army swopped into Asheville with the distinct need of a convalescence hospital for soldiers, (while their primary hospital was being constructed in nearby Azalea). In 1918 the army opened the hospital to treat wounde
d soldiers, particularly those suffering from tuberculosis.

Biltmore Hospital, as it was locally called, shows up in The Thorn Healer as the place our hero, August Reinhold, is transferred after the German internees leave Hot Spring
s. It was a beautiful facility, still is – with a indoor bowling alley vimg_4137ery similar to the one at the nearby Biltmore Estate.
Though the hotel saw some great days after the army returned it to its owner, the stock market crash of 1929 killed the owner’s dreams for the Inn and the facility began a slow shift from one owner to another until present day (again, used as a military hospital in WW2)

Now the building is an apartment building complex, but the beauty of the ‘Inn’ is still apparent.

img_4138August Reinhold, a other german internees like him, would have stepped down this very rug in the lobby of Kenilworth or sat by the fire and chatted here.

So….do you enjoy reading books where you can actually visit the places in the story?

Thanks to the lovely manager at The Kenilworth Inn Apartments who took me on a tour of the historical building. 


  1. Gail Hollingsworth

    True history to me is more enjoyable when read in a fiction book for pleasure. I don’t get to travel much but I loved seeing your photos, especially after having read the book.

    • pepperbasham

      Oh Gail, that’s super! I know it was remarkable to me too.

  2. PamCrist

    Thank you for the enjoyable tour! I would love to visit these places and, yes, I like knowing that the actual sites are used in your books.

    • pepperbasham

      Pam, this was so interesting to me – and to get to travel there! Wow!

  3. Linda Sease

    My Dad stayed in this very place at the end of WWII……he was a navy bomber in the Pacific…then was in FL as a teacher pilot…..was in a crash with one of his students, both legs were broken, hence his rehab. He met my mother here who had grown up in Cullowhee. She moved to SD when they married.

    • pepperbasham

      Oh wow, Linda!! Now THAT sounds like it ought to be a story 🙂


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