Just a few miles from George Vanderbilt’s grand Biltmore Estate is a different kind of mansion – one that was nearly 50 years old when Vanderbilt began construction. Saddled on a ridge between two hills south of Asheville, ringed by picturesque mountains and overlooking the confluence of two great rivers, Buck House was constructed around 1840, over twenty years before the Civil War. During a time when most people lived in wood frame houses, the imposing structure was composed of brick, a rarity in early 19th century Asheville. Today it is known as the Smith-McDowell House, the oldest surviving house in Asheville and the oldest brick structure in Buncombe County, North Carolina. When you book a tour, you are reserving the house for your party. No other guests will enter the house during your tour. A docent will greet you and give you an introduction and be available to answer questions. Your admission includes a 24-page tour booklet. By booking a tour, you also receive access to our local history exhibit galleries.