At the invitation of George Vanderbilt, Guastavino came to Asheville to work on the Biltmore Estate. Guastavino is well known as the designer of self-supporting arches and architectural vaults seen in many New York City landmarks; including Grand Central Terminal, Carnegie Hall and the American Museum of Natural History. He loved the area so much that he eventually purchased 1100 acres in Black Mountain, primarily between 1894 and 1905.
Guastavino built his three-story family home, named “The Spanish Castle”, family farm, kilns and saw mill on a portion of his property currently occupied by the Christmount Conference Center. The remainder of his property, about 412 acres located across NC Highway 9, remained largely undeveloped. This area was sold to The Settings of Black Mountain LLC, the developer of The Settings, in 2003.
Over the next several years, the community infrastructure was built out, including the clubhouse, water system, sidewalks and roadways. One roadway, Guastavino Lane, was named to honor its prior owner.
During the initial buildout, the developer preserved 115 acres property through the North American Land Trust. This land extends to the very top of the property, along the Eastern Continental Divide, where you can hike to on our Upper Trail. From here, you can hike along the upper rim of the Swannanoa Range and access miles of other hiking trails.