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Tuxedo School on the market

The historic Tuxedo School is on the market and among the ideas a real estate agent and a prospective buyer have floated are a microbrewery, artist lofts and vacation condos.


“It’s a very sturdy brick building,” said Verna Shipman, the listing agent. “It’s not in great repair. The entire thing probably needs to be scraped and repainted.”
It needs a new heating system, too. But if an investor can sink the money into repairs, the 1920s Erle Stillwell building is ripe for a renovation, the agent says.
“It’s got the beautiful wood floors,” Shipman said. “It’s such a great piece of property. They have their own fire department (within less than a quarter mile). Now they have the park. They have access to the lake plus there’s enough land to expand.”
Located just off the U.S. 25 connector, the property is easy to reach from Asheville, Hendersonville and the South Carolina Upstate.
One prospective buyer looked at the 15,000-square-foot building for use as microbrewery and pub, renovating the second floor as artists’ lofts. Shipman thinks vacation condos would be marketable.
“Everybody has their own idea of what would be good,” she said. “The great thing about that piece of property is that you have all that land for wonderful parking and expansion of that facility if you want.”
The Henderson County School Board sold the property to Shane Shipman in 2008. Later, his grandfather, Clifton Shipman, bought the property.
“He never had any plans for it,” the real estate agent said. “He just wanted to own it. It was a place where he could go piddle. He’d go mow the yard.”
It’s now owned by Clifton Shipman’s widow, Delores J. Shipman.
Although tax records and the MLS listing date the school to 1924, research by William Mitchell dates the architectural drawings to March 1930. Mitchell, a retired architect and author of Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell, called the school “a small version of Stillwell’s typical two-story bick school, with five classrooms and an auditorium on the first floor, and three classrooms and a study hall on the second.”
Tuxedo Elementary School closed in 1991, when the student body was moved to the new Upward Elementary School. The building was used as the Tuxedo Extended Day School until 2003, when that program was moved to the Balfour School building. The school building and property are assessed for tax purposes at $76,700.