As an NC State Historic Site, we are dedicated to interpreting the life and times of author Thomas Wolfe, and the historic boardinghouse in which he grew up.

“I’m not afraid of being tarred and feathered and run out of town anymore,” said the huge shaggy-headed fellow who is North Carolina’s best known and undoubtedly, greatest novelist.

Photo courtesy of The Roosevelt New Orleans at

Thomas Wolfe’s New Year of 1937 began in New Orleans where the city was full of visitors for the Sugar Bowl…

’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the boardinghouse
Not a boarder was stirring, not even a louse;
Their stockings were hung on the bedposts with care,
In hopes that Santa might find them sleeping there;

The boarders were nestled all sharing their blankets and beds,
While visions of…

As time passed, Wolfe family memories of Christmas became muddled with Thomas Wolfe’s fictional versions. While interior Christmas decorations began to take hold in the 1880s and continued to increase as a tradition into the turn of the century, adornments in the Wolfe households were likely not lavish. Perhaps a…

“…and he reeled down across the continent into the Reconstruction South — a strange wild form of six feet four with cold uneasy eyes, a great blade of nose, and a rolling tide of rhetoric…” Thomas Wolfe

It is no wonder Thomas Wolfe could imagine the surprise that North Carolinians…

“…their talk slid from its rude jocularity to death and burial: they drawled monotonously, with evil hunger, their gossip of destiny, and of men but newly lain in the earth.” — Look Homeward, Angel

Fear of premature burial was once a common phobia called Taphophobia. Thomas Wolfe reveals Eugene Gant’s…

“…there’s not a speck of ice in the refrigerator — and ice cream and iced tea to make for supper — You’ll have to trot right down to the ice-house and get me a good ten-cent chunk.”

The Web and the Rock

The ice box located in the Old Kentucky Home Boardinghouse

Much of the furniture in Julia Wolfe’s Old…

Thomas Wolfe Memorial

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