If you’re familiar with the High Country, Mast General Store is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “general store”. SkiNC recently discovered a new general store in town that turns out to be not so new after all. With an intriguing history and unique character that’s just begun to unfold, we had to share the story of the 1881 General Store at Grandfather Mountain.
<This is the "new" 1881 General Store!
Located off of Highway 105 South in the Grandfather Community of Foscoe, 1881 General Store offers a completely different experience than other general stores in the area. Vince, Sharon and Mike Hankerd bought the property in November of 2007. From 1972 to 2003, the building served as an antique store and was left in bad shape. After two months of cleaning and renovations, the 1881 General Store opened offering a variety of gifts, antiques, jewelry, children’s items, t-shirts and one-of-a-kind specialty home items. The Hankerd family moved from Bald Head Island, North Carolina, where they owned a successful store, for a change of pace. They took the name 1881 General Store from a ledger that accompanied the store, but as the family is learning, the store’s history traces back much further. “Most of the information and history we’ve learned about the store has come from people passing through,” explains Mike, “and since opening, we have talked to relatives of Jestus McClurd from Scotland who built the general store in the early 1800’s to serve the Foscoe area.” McClurd was a Scottish preacher who settled in the area and built the store to serve the community’s needs. For those of us that make the drive down Highway 105, it makes sense that early settlers around Grandfather and Foscoe would have needed a store of their own to avoid traveling into Valle Crucis or Boone.
This is the old store before the makeover!>
Evidence of the building’s antiquity is in its materials. The 1881 General Store features the original counters and cabinets characteristic of old-timey stores. The walls and sidings are made from hemlock and chestnut, and although there was quite a bit of restoration to be done when Vince and family purchased the building, they preserved the building’s materials and returned the store to its original glory. The cabin behind the store, most likely the homestead of the McClurd family, is one of only a handful of structures in the High Country region to feature Chestnut bark. When you walk in the store, you’re instantly transported back to the early 1800s when general stores were a community’s best friend and life necessity. Aside from the unique gifts, antiques and furnishings, the 1881 General Store also serves ice cream, coffee and candy. Enjoy a milkshake or a cup of coffee while you browse this Foscoe treasure that’s just begun to tell its story. Sharon, Mike and Vince have truly dusted off a High Country gem and returned a historic general store to its original skin.
1881 General Store at Grandfather Mountain
10882 Highway 105 South
Banner Elk, NC 28604
* Thanks to Ashley Huffman, AppNet Staff writer, for interviewing and writing this great review of a great little shop. Be sure to pay these guys a visit and tell them you saw them on Ski North Carolina and Ski Southeast!