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

Vict Health 01

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.

Winyah Sani

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.


PSABC invites all interested to participate in an advocacy photograph in support of preserving the historic Asheville Roundhouse. This significant building represents an important time of Asheville’s rich history.  PSABC urges Norfolk Southern to delay their planned demolition of the building until efforts to formulate an adaptive reuse plan can be explored. A critical mass of supporters can help influence the railroad to consider the many options for new uses. This building has been determined eligible for listing in National Register of Historic Places, a designation that would include the use of the federal rehabilitation tax credit. Brown fields incentives might also be available for new development. Saving this building would be yet another catalyst in the exciting revival of the River Arts District.  Our creative community has the skills and vision to breathe life back in this vital part of our history.

Will you join us to help send a message to Norfolk Southern that demolition is not a suitable option?  Can you imagine the Roundhouse as a landmark for our future?

“This Place Matters” at the VA Hospital Nurses Dormitory, now being rehabilitated for a new use!

Here is a site plan for the Toronto Roundhouse, adapted for a (wait for it!)brewery, furniture store, meeting space and offices.

The Details:

Who: Entire community to save the Roundhouse
What: “This Place Matters” photo opp.
When: THURSDAY (10/23) 5:45pm
Where: Norfolk Southern Main Entrance (do not park here!), Meadow Road, just south of Amboy Road intersection.  Limited parking is directed to French Board River Park lot and roadside. Carpool if you can.  SEE MAP BELOW!
Why: Show Support, Send a Message of preservation
How: Photo will be taken promptly at 6pm.  Caution and safety are encouraged due to traffic and limited parking near site.  Do Not park on Norfolk Southern Property.  Group will gather in Meadow Rd right-of-way with view of Roundhouse in background for photo