Cinema at the Biltmore Estate

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PSABC hosts a “movie talk” for its upcoming education program.  The subject is filming at the Biltmore Estate and other locations around town where preservation creates atmosphere.  Guest speakers are Patricia Phillips, Entertainment and Event Coordinator at the Biltmore Company,  Robert Griffin, local preservation architect for many award-winning projects, including The Manor, an apartment residence and sometimes movie set, and John Toms , local historian, researcher and past PSABC Board member.

Asheville and the surrounding area have appeared in many movies from the 1940s to today.  And when period architecture is called for, preservation has a leading role in what moviegoers see and applaud.  Last of the Mohicans, Being There, The Swan, Hannibal … Daniel Day-Lewis, Grace Kelly, Alec Guinness, Anthony Hopkins … are some of the names on the upcoming program.  And Biltmore Estate and The Manor are just two of the preservation stars.  Those attending the show will also learn how the National Trust impacts filming at historic locations.

“What ends up on the screen and on the cutting room floor is a story in itself,” says Kieta Osteen-Cochrane, Education Committee Chair.  “There are unusual modifications and set designs required to protect historic structures.  Here’s a chance to peek “behind the scenes.”

The program date is Thursday, January 28th, from 5:30 to 7:00 pm.  The location is the Executive Office Building of Habitat for Humanity, 33 Meadow Road in Asheville (MAP).  Attendance is open to all.  Generous sponsors include Terry and Ted Van Duyn, Clark Communications, Biltmore Estate and Habitat for Humanity.

Council Candidates Preservation Questionnaire

Because quality of life and sense of place go hand in hand, PSABC has long championed efforts to preserve the unique historic resources of our region.  A few decades ago, downtown Asheville was full of boarded-up storefronts and old buildings that had seen better days.  The preservation movement, realized locally with the founding of PSABC in 1976, helped launch an era of renewal.  Today, Asheville is thriving.  Tomorrow depends on how our community defines and directs growth.

On September 9, PSABC submitted 5 questions to all 15 City Council candidates on a subject central to the Asheville’s social and economic well-being:  growth through preservation.  All candidates had until September 17 to respond.  Answers were to be kept to a uniform length so they could be easily reviewed by interested readers.

Select the candidate below to view the questions and their responses.  Candidates Haynes, Hunt, Miall, Payne, Simerly and Young declined to respond.

Corey Atkins

Joe Grady

Rich Lee

Richard Liston

Julie Mayfield

Ken Michalove

Grant Millin

Carl Mumpower

Dee Williams

Hogs, Ducks and Turkeys-Oh My!!!

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PSABC presents an illustrated lecture on western North Carolina’s first highway:  the Drovers’ Roads of the early to mid-1800s.  Local historian John Turk will cover a lot of territory and a raucous, messy period of regional history during this September program at Pack Memorial Library.

Soon after the western Carolinas were settled, farming pioneers needed a way to transport livestock eastward to more populated markets.  Men, called Drovers, would drive herds of livestock down rough roads from Kentucky and Tennessee via Buncombe County to South Carolina and Georgia.  For decades during autumn months, multitudes of hogs, cattle, horses, mules, ducks and turkeys made the journey right through downtown Asheville, which concurrently led to the growth and development of the city and region.

John Turk is professor emeritus at Youngstown State University, Vice President of the Western North Carolina Historical Association, and curator of the Asheville History Center’s exhibit on Drovers’ Roads and the Buncombe Turnpike.   This exhibit won a Griffin Award from the PSABC.

“At Pack Square today, there’s a bronze pig and turkey on Asheville’s Urban Trail,” says Kieta Osteen-Cochrane, Education Committee Chair.  “The real story is of 150,000 hogs traipsing through town every fall … very messy street scene!”

This lecture is scheduled September 26th, 1:30 – 4 pm, at Lord Auditorium in Pack Memorial Library on Haywood Street.  Generous sponsors include Terry and Ted Van Duyn.  PSABC members and all area residents are invited.   A $10 donation is suggested.

2nd Annual Harp Concert: August 16

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PSABC is proud to present critically acclaimed harpist Linda Barton Paul at its second annual benefit concert on Sunday, August 16th.   Like last year’s popular event, this special performance will be at the historic Cathedral of All Souls in Biltmore Village, a venue of great beauty and exceptional acoustics.  Ms. Barton was also the featured performer at the 2014 event, which was a full-house success.

This year’s concert, “A Celtic Celebration”, showcases Celtic hymns and songs, but it’s not a one note program.  Expect classical, sacred, jazz and contemporary as The Kerry Dance leads to Debussy, the Beatles and more.  And all from the strings of Paul’s electro-acoustic harp.  With over 30 years of performance experience, Linda Paul has played throughout the US and internationally, in solo concerts and with symphonic orchestras.  Plus, to set the stage, Robert Griffin, Asheville’s own noted architect and preservationist, will briefly share secrets of why All Souls is a perfect place for this benefit.  When sacred geometry and harmonics are dimensions of architecture, heavenly acoustics abound … as those in attendance will hear.

“Linda Paul’s concert last year was a bigger success than we even imagined, and we had high hopes,” says Jack Thomson, Executive Director of the PSABC.  “This year, with the Celtic theme and those glorious strings and the All Souls surrounding … well, buy advance tickets, there are only so many pews!”

The Sunday concert is at 4pm, August 16th.  Advance tickets are $20 (available here) and at the door day of, though seating is limited and day of tickets are not guaranteed.  A reception will follow, and a portion of all CD sales will benefit All Souls.  Sponsors of the events are Ted and Terry Van Duyn, Robert Griffin and the Cathedral of All Souls.  Everyone is welcome.

Blue Ridge Parkway Development History

Postcard jpeg fb webPSABC plans a singular presentation on Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) structures and the forthcoming award of National Historic Landmark status.  While the BRP itself was begun in the 1930s and completed over 50 years, the story of Parkway buildings is just as long and varied.  Steven Kidd and Cynthia Walton, our knowledgeable speakers, will discuss how the Parkway style evolved via the successful collaboration of engineers, landscape architects and historians.  The narrative trail runs from 19th century vernacular cabins to Civilian Conservation Corp rustic structures with “Mission 66” era motifs through the modernist influences of the later 20th century.

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Mr. Kidd, a BRP cultural resource specialist and archaeologist, recently completed documenting and evaluating the Parkway’s 900+ structures as part of the National Historic Landmark (NHL) nomination process.  Ms. Walton, historian and NHL Program Manager for the Southeast, provided support and technical assistance for the project.  Together, they’ll share some of the most interesting facets of their research and Parkway prospects for National Historic Landmark designation.


“When you drive the Parkway, you see a distinctive look to all the buildings and bridges, overlooks and signage,” says Kieta Osteen-Cochrane, Education Committee Chair.  “These structures are beautiful, a worthy complement to the land itself and deserving of special recognition.”


The program is scheduled on Thursday, July 16th, beginning at 5:30 pm.  The location is the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center Auditorium, 195 Hemphill Knob Road in Asheville, also known as Parkway Milepost 384.  Generous sponsors include Terry and Ted Van Duyn and the BRP Visitor Center.  PSABC members and all area residents are invited.   A $10 donation is suggested.

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Join Us for the 2015 Griffin Awards for Historic Preservation!

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The Preservation Society invites you to join us on May 28 at 6pm for the 36th Annual Griffin Awards for Historic Preservation to recognize and celebrate the important work of historic preservation and the people in our community that make it happen.  With a brief address from Jennifer Cathey, Restoration Specialist for the NC State Historic Preservation Office and President of PSABC, on the state of preservation in Asheville and Buncombe County preceding the awards presentation.  The historic S & W Cafeteria, located at 56 Patton Avenue in downtown Asheville will serve as a most appropriate venue and heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served.  A cash bar will be provided as well.

Limited seating is available. $10 tickets for PSABC members, $15 for non-members.  This event will sell out; buy your tickets in advance!


Many heartfelt thanks to our sponsors listed below that make this event such an important part of the preservation community!  To learn more about their work, please click on the links below.


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Gargoyles, Feathers & Fascinating Myth!

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PSABC presents the 2015 City Scavenger Hunt, a chance to scout out Asheville’s architectural treasures.  The downtown area is known for its beautiful historic buildings, many that date back to the first decades of the 20th century.  Scavenger Hunt participants will travel all over town, from Pack Square to Pritchard Park, on a mission to discover Asheville’s most celebrated and most overlooked architectural particulars.

The Scavenger Hunt begins on the front portico of Douglas Ellington’s pink marble-topped City Building at the east end of Pack Square Park.  Here, participants will receive a printed map, rules and clues of what to look for.  Some elements are visible at eye level and others high up from a distance:  everything from angels to gargoyles, feathers to flying buttresses.  It’s an urban hike, with surprises everywhere, so sturdy walking shoes are recommended.  The event concludes at the Twisted Laurel restaurant on College Street for a celebration, including recognition of the first three people to complete the Hunt successfully with all correct answers. 

“People will look at familiar buildings and see things they haven’t really seen before,” says Kieta Osteen-Cochrane, Education Committee Chair.  “Search high and low … you’ll be amazed at what you’ll find!”

The Scavenger Hunt starts at 2 pm on Sunday, May 17th, on the front portico of the Asheville City Building, 70 Court Place, and ends at 4 pm at the Twisted Laurel restaurant.  The Hunt is free for PSABC members, although a donation is suggested.  For non-members, there is a $10 participation fee.  Generous sponsors include Terry and Ted Van Duyn and the Twisted Laurel.