Ask 13: What's the story behind the old cabin in the woods off I-40?

A small cabin now visible from a busy highway has a local viewer asking questions.

The old cabin is in the woods on the eastbound side of Interstate 40 between Exit 59 and Mile Marker 60.

It's not normally visible, but with the leaves off the trees the cabin can be seen.

"It is very small and has a porch, but it is evident that no one lives there," Rose Jones wrote Ask 13. "I would hope that your staff could locate this tiny cabin and see if they can find out why it sits there on the side of a mighty highway, obviously for many years, and who owns it and what it was used for."

The cabin sits a few hundred yards off the highway in the woods.

Attempts to locate anyone in the area who might know who owns the property were unsuccessful.

The Swannanoa Valley Museum and History Center had a little more luck. Museum officials asked around and contacted a few local historians who also visited the site.

Museum director Anne Chesky Smith found an answer.

"One of our board member's mothers, Bernice Spencer, remembers that the property was once owned by Oscar Welch, and that cabin was one of two outbuildings he had on his property.

"When the government was planning I-40, they bought the property from Oscar, and it was abandoned."

According to the museum, Welch and his family were apparently sharecroppers, and once the government gave them the money for their property, they left the area and abandoned their old cabin.

If you'd like to visit the museum, it's located on West State Street in Black Mountain. Folks there have a wealth of local history.

If you have a question you'd like answered, write to

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