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According to firefighters, the controlled blaze at the Milligan Shuford Wise house reached temperatures of 1,700 degrees.

Originally published: 2014-01-23 15:33:33
Last modified: 2014-01-23 15:33:33

Architectural ashes

Caroline Harris / (

A piece of Avery’s architectural history is now nothing more than a foundation, chimneys and memories.
The Milligan Shuford Wise House was burned in Crossnore on Saturday, Jan. 18 as a training exercise for local fire departments. Built in 1926, the house was placed on the National Register of Historical Places in August 2008 as an example of construction representative of its time period, among other attributes. It was noted for its weatherboarded frame, gardens and chimneys constructed from river rock. 
Builder and owner Milligan Shuford Wise was instrumental in developing the Crossnore community from the 1920s on and lived in the house until his death. His wife, Ruth McKinney Wise, also lived in the house until her death in 1998.
The house was chosen as site for a prescribed burn because it was uninhabitable due to asbestos and general decay.
Crossnore Baptist Church acquired the property in 2003. The church, wanting the property to be cleared, allowed the Avery County Sheriff’s Department to conduct SWAT team exercises in the house the week prior to the burn.
Crossnore Volunteer Fire Department took the lead in the controlled burn exercise. Thirty-six firefighters from Crossnore, Newland, Green Valley, Linville, Jonas Ridge, Boone, Ladder Company and Frank Volunteer Fire Departments participated. According to Crossnore VFD Assistant Chief David Cornett, the training was a success.

To read the complete story, please pick up a copy of your hometown newspaper, The Avery Journal-Times, available at almost 100 locations in Newland, Banner Elk, Crossnore, Spruce Pine and Roan Mountain, Tenn. To subscribe to The Avery Journal-Times, please call (828) 733-0401 or click to