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.

150 Year Anniversary: Battle of Asheville

Web postcard croppedPSABC presents a talk and walk back in time to the Civil War years in Asheville. Hosted at the Botanical Gardens at Asheville, this program will cover ground not so familiar to many people who live here today. From 1861-1865, Buncombe County experienced a Civil War battle, wartime camps, a Confederate Armory, and a jail that housed both Confederate draft evaders and deserters and Union prisoners.

Local historian Suzanne Wodek will lead this look back and then the walk to the battle site on the Botanical Gardens grounds. She’ll discuss wartime events and the roles played by locals like Patton, Clingman, Vance, Smith and McDowell, names still well-known around these parts. Ms.Wodek is a knowledgeable enthusiast of Southern Appalachian culture and history, people and … plants. She is the past president and current vice-president of the Botanical Gardens, where she is also a guide and preservationist.

“We expect this presentation to be very popular … the audience will be on their feet,” says Kieta Osteen-Cochrane, Education Committee Chair. “It’s a great chance to learn about Asheville’s Civil War history and to hike through a battleground field. Comfortable shoes are recommended!”

The 2 ½ hour event will take place at 10:00 am on Thursday, April 11th, at the Botanical Gardens at Asheville, 151 W.T. Weaver Boulevard at UNCA. Attendance is open to all, but seating is EXTREMELY limited and will be first come, first served. A $10 donation is suggested. This event is sponsored by Terry and Ted Van Duyn and the Botanical Gardens at Asheville.

Victorian Health and Tourism

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PSABC presents a lecture on a unique chapter of Asheville’s history:  the era of Victorian Health tourism.  Local historian April Birchfield will discuss what drew well-to-do families like the Vanderbilts and Groves to our mountains for respiratory cures and preventives.  This was a time when nationally renowned doctors like Carl Von Ruck established plush sanitariums and luxury hotel-like hospitals around Asheville.  The fashionable ailing elite would flock to the mountains, making the arduous trip up steep, dangerous roads for the curative climate and some curious health regimens.

Ms. Birchfield holds a Masters Degree in US history from Wake forest University and Bachelors in History and Political Science from the University of North Carolina – Asheville.  She is currently a history instructor in the Social Sciences Department at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College.  Her research interests include the history of medicine and Appalachian/southern history.

“Asheville’s Victorian Health and Tourism era was quite a period,”  says Kieta Osteen-Cochrane, Education Committee Chair.  “Some of the beautiful old sanitarium structures are still around, though in other uses, and this is a rare opportunity to breathe it all in, just a little.”

The lecture event will take place at 5:30 pm on Thursday, March 19th , at the Kennilworth Inn and Apartments, 60 Caledonia Road in Asheville.  Generous sponsors include Terry and Ted Van Duyn and Saratoga Capital Partners, Owners of the Kenilworth Inn.  PSABC members and all area residents are invited.   A $10 donation is suggested.

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The Rise & Fall of Sulphur Springs


PSABC presents a special program by Richard Russell about the development and demise of historic Sulphur Springs Resort in the Malvern Hills area of Asheville.  Russell will talk and show slides that tell the tale of the storied hotel’s fascinating history and Robert Henry, the man behind it all.   The western expansion, sacred Indian grounds, the pioneering family who built the resort, the glory days and the sad demise of Sulphur Springs – it’s all part of Russell’s presentation.

Russell is an Asheville historian of some prominence.  After 40 years in the health care profession, he’s turned his focus to our region’s rich and varied history.  Russell’s books include Robert Henry – A Western North Carolina Patriot, recipient of The Foster A. Sondley Award from the Old Buncombe County Genealogy Association,  and Fear in NC – The Civil War Journals of the Henry Family, winner of the Bob Terrell History Award.

“Richard Russell has a captivating subject here,” says Kieta Osteen-Cochrane, Education Committee Chair.  “The Sulphur Springs hotel is gone and just the spring house remains, but the site is still brimming with history, Indian lore, the Henry family’s determination and, of course, the glamorous aura of the resort’s heyday.”

The lecture event will take place at 1:30 pm on Saturday, January 24th, at the Malvern Hill Presbyterian Church at 2 Bear Creek Road in Asheville.  Generous sponsors include Terry and Ted Van Duyn.  PSABC members and all area residents are invited.   A $10 donation is suggested.