The Carson House in Marion is one of the top house museums in North Carolina. We love its fascinating history. The original log section of the home was built in 1793 by Colonel John Carson after he fought in the Revolutionary War. To become the social and political center of the area, he built his home at the intersection of the "busy" Old Colonial Road and the just completed Coach Road that connected Morganton to Asheville for the first time. He hosted many famous visitors, including friends Andrew Jackson and Davy Crockett. The home was expanded in 1795 and 1842 as Carson served many elected posts. The 6,500-acre plantation was very prosperous.
If these walls could talk! In the early 1800s, the local gold rush drew people from across the country. In fact, the gold rush made Carson's son a millionaire. The house was the social and governmental center with many important meetings and decisions - including the formation of McDowell County. The museum is a stop on the Civil War Trail as Union Gen. George Stoneman's cavalry raiders skirmished with home guards on April 19, 1865, plundering the home. During the 1900s, the house went through many owners and renters. Thankfully, some local ladies saved the home in the 1960s and opened it as a regional history museum.
Today, take a one-hour guided tour through the three-story home with rooms filled with an interesting collection covering 200 years - including period furniture, impressive quilts and fabrics, paintings, glassware, china, pottery and Civil War artifacts.
The third floor features the original unpainted walls. Don't miss the "Laying Out" bed (short legs and extra long to fit a top hat) that was used to display a dead body atop the dining room table.
The tour also includes the barn filled with equipment, tools, blacksmith shop and historic wagons.
This rare "crooked bed" covered wagon was built in North Carolina in the mid 1800s. The grounds also include a log corn crib and a large, modern Jubilee Arbor used for fundraising and rental events.
See more things to do in Marion. Coming from Asheville, drive through Old Fort with the Mountain Gateway Museum.
Hours & Tickets
The museum is open April-November, Wednesday-Saturday 10 AM-4 PM and Sunday 2-5 PM. Last tour leaves an hour prior to closing. Tickets are $7 per adult and children 12 and under are free.
1805 US Highway 70 West, Marion, NC 28752 (Located beside the big Tom Johnson Camping Center.)