Memories from Old Kentucky Home: Thomas Wolfe Memorial

Thomas’s father, W.O., spent his final days in a brass bed at the boardinghouse, where Julia could nurse him.

Boardinghouses were popular lodgings in the early 20th century, especially for single women, widows, travelers, and families moving from rural areas to the city. Thomas drew from his experiences at the boardinghouse and the menagerie of tenants, giving him ample fodder for his novels, plays, and stories.

Thomas, the youngest child, lived at his mother Julia’s boardinghouse, Old Kentucky Home. Julia resided at Old Kentucky Home until she died in 1945.

Thomas did eventually return to Asheville in 1937 and, for the most part, was greeted graciously. For many, his huge popularity as a celebrity author outweighed their dismay over any public humiliation from the book.