The Stahl House
Backstory and Context
A place well known for press time and local rumors in Boone is the Stahl House, now recognized in town for its position as an ostentatious empty lot on top of Howard’s Knob Mountain. The site once held an elaborate 8,096 square ft. mansion with a built in library and elevator. The 2.2-acre lot and home was previously owned by former Appalachian State University Professor Dr. Richard L. Stahl.
Stahl taught at Appalachian State from 1974-2000 and built the mansion in 1990. Stahl was indicted by prosecutors in 2003 on an “elaborate array of charges such as money laundering, wire fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy.” The 24 charges referenced actions of Stahl’s dating back to 1995, when he became the beneficiary of life insurance policies for a man named David Anderson. The policies were worth over five million dollars, which Stahl collected after Anderson’s death in 1999. Though originally sentenced to 20 years in prison, Stahl was released from a federal custody on December 28, 2006.
In 2014 Stahl self-published a novel on amazon titled How I Saved Howards Knob Park, chronicling his experiences with the 2003 conviction and other involvement with Florida law enforcement. According to the biography on the back of the novel, Stahl received a Ph.D. in educational administration from Florida State University before acquiring a full-time position at Appalachian State as a Professor of Education. He later held a tenured position and was convicted of fraud after his retirement.
Stahl donated 0.88 acres of land the town of Boone in 2015, increasing the size of Howard’s Knob State Park. He was formally thanked by the town council for his donation. Stahl previously donated eight acres of land to the park in 2000 and is considered a main constituent of the park’s existence.
The plot of land was recently sold to new owners George Bartholomew and Theresa Waldspurger in 2013. The couple moved from Maryland to Boone in July and plan to build a new house on the property.