Corbin, John T. (1871 or 1873-1955)

Birthplace:

Jackson County, North Carolina, USA

Residences:

  • Asheville, North Carolina

Trades:

  • Stonecutter

NC Work Locations:

Styles & Forms:

Art Deco; Chateau Style; Gothic Revival; Romanesque Revival; Rustic

John T. Corbin (April 3, 1871 or 1873-June 12, 1955), an expert stonecutter and tile worker, practiced his trade in Asheville for many years, and helped to construct several landmark buildings. A native of North Carolina and probably the son of Jackson County farmer Lemuel Corbin and his wife Barcela, John was a man of many skills: he was listed in the 1899-1900 Asheville city directory as a foreman at the Biltmore Nursery; the 1904-1905 directory listed him as a “tool dresser, S.I. Bean & Co.”; and the United States Censuses of 1910 and 1920 listed him as a stonecutter and head of a household that included his wife, Allie, and their children.

Corbin probably formed his association with stone contractor Samuel I. Bean at Biltmore, where both men were employed in the 1890s. At his death, the Asheville Citizen of June 13, 1955, reported, “Corbin was well known for his tile and stone masonry work at Grove Park Inn, the Masonic Temple, the Vanderbilt Estate, Central Methodist Church, and the Buncombe County Courthouse.” Corbin’s craftsmanship, like that of his colleague Bean and others, played an important role in defining the character and quality of important Asheville buildings designed by various leading architects. His projects included buildings notable for the diverse and striking effects in his trade, such as the elaborate stonework at Biltmore, the rustic boulders at the Grove Park Inn, and the rough-cut stone walls at Central Methodist Church.

  • Asheville City Directories (1899; 1904-1905).
  • Bruce E. Johnson, Built for the Ages: A History of the Grove Park Inn (2004).
Sort Building List by:
  • Biltmore Estate

    Contributors:
    Samuel I. Bean, stonemason; John T. Corbin, stonecutter; Rafael Guastavino, Sr., builder; Richard Howland Hunt, assistant architect; Richard Morris Hunt, architect; Richard Sharp Smith, supervising architect
    Dates:

    1888-1895

    Location:
    Asheville, Buncombe County
    Street Address:

    Biltmore Ave., Asheville vicinity, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Agricultural
    Residential

    Images Puslished In:

    Paul R. Baker, Richard Morris Hunt (1980).
    Catherine W. Bishir, North Carolina Architecture (1990).
    Catherine W. Bishir, Michael T. Southern, and Jennifer F. Martin, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Western North Carolina (1999).
    John Morrill Bryan, Biltmore Estate: The Most Distinguished Private Place (1994).
    Susan Stein, ed., The Architecture of Richard Morris Hunt (1986).


  • Central Methodist Episcopal Church

    Contributors:
    Samuel I. Bean, stonecutter and stone contractor; John T. Corbin, stonemason; Reuben H. Hunt, architect; J. M. Westall, builder
    Variant Name(s):

    Central United Methodist Church

    Dates:

    1900-1905; 1924 [addition]

    Location:
    Asheville, Buncombe County
    Street Address:

    27 Church St., Asheville, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Religious

    Images Puslished In:

    Catherine W. Bishir, Michael T. Southern, and Jennifer F. Martin, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Western North Carolina (1999).

    Note:

    Asheville’s Methodist congregation began fundraising for a new church in 1899 and soon commissioned a design from Hunt. On August 1, 1901, the Asheville Citizen reported that Hunt had visited Asheville recently, “bringing with him the plans and specifications for the proposed structure,” from which the paper printed an illustration. The Manufacturers’ Record of Sept. 5, 1901, reported that the congregation had let the contract to Asheville builder J. M. Westall. A delay ensued when the quarterly Methodist conference advised abandoning the project, but the congregation persisted. In 1902 the plans were returned to Hunt for changes suggested by a new building committee, and Westall was engaged to superintend construction. The final design was similar to the original but adjusted to reduce the cost estimate from about $60,000 to $50,000. The cornerstone was laid on August 25, 1902; the Sunday school was ready for use in 1904; and the first service was held in the auditorium on November 5, 1905. Hunt subsequently planned a 1924 renovation and expansion (costing more than $200,000) including a large Sunday school addition.


  • Grove Park Inn

    Contributors:
    John T. Corbin, stonemason and tile setter; G. W. McKibbin, architect and engineer; Oscar Mills, construction supervisor; Fred Seely, project manager and designer; Southern Ferro-Concrete Company
    Dates:

    1912-1913; 1921 (additions planned)

    Location:
    Asheville, Buncombe County
    Street Address:

    Macon Ave.

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Commercial

    Images Puslished In:

    Catherine W. Bishir, North Carolina Architecture (1990).
    Catherine W. Bishir, Michael T. Southern, and Jennifer F. Martin, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Western North Carolina (1999).
    Bruce E. Johnson, Built for the Ages: A History of the Grove Park Inn (2004).
    Bruce E. Johnson, “Built Without an Architect: Architectural Inspirations for the Grove Park Inn,” in Robert S. Brunk, ed., May We All Remember Well: A Journal of the History and Cultures of Western North Carolina (1997).

    Note:

    John T. Corbin was one of many stonemasons involved in constructing the massive inn of local boulders.


  • Scottish Rite Cathedral and Masonic Temple

    Contributors:
    Samuel I. Bean, stonemason; Albert Heath Carrier, architect; John T. Corbin, stonecutter; Smith and Carrier, architects; Richard Sharp Smith, architect
    Dates:

    1913

    Location:
    Asheville, Buncombe County
    Street Address:

    80 Broadway, Asheville, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Fraternal

    Images Puslished In:

    David R. Black, Historic Architectural Resources of Downtown Asheville, North Carolina (1979).


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