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.