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.


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


Classical Harp Concert & the Harmonics of All Souls


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Purchase tickets here!

A classical and contemporary harp concert will benefit the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County on Sunday afternoon, September 21, 4;00 at All Souls Cathedral in Biltmore Village.

The afternoon will begin with a discussion of the architectural harmonics of the Cathedral by preservationist and architect, Robert Griffin, whose dedication to preservation was instrumental in the historic designation that protects Biltmore Village and All Souls Cathedral.

The concert will follow by symphony harpist Linda Barton Paul.  Linda began her music studies with piano at age 5 and age 14 was concentrating on the harp.  She teaches harp, voice and piano.   Her program will range from Debussy, Bach, and Vivaldi through Celtic and contemporary music, including interesting information on the instrument and the music.      A university major in music, Linda studied the French School Performance standards, Salzedo and Grandjany.   She toured with the New Christy Minstrels, performed as principal symphony harpist, and at the International Oklahoma Mozart Festival, and in the 1980’s performed with Benny Goodman, Judy Collins and Dave Brubeck.  Linda was selected as an Oklahoma Centennial artist, creating the Christmas at the Capitol CD to raise funds for the centennial.   Her 16 compact discs demonstrate her great range, unique style and fusion of forms for which she is so well known: classical, popular, celtic, jazz, contemporary, latin and sacred.

Linda now travels the United States and Mexico and for the last ten years has focused on her own goals that her music makes a difference, and supports  many non profits through her  informal and unique performance interpretations.  Seating is limited. Details and advance $20.00  ticket through  noon Friday, September 19.   A reception will follow the performance.

Purchase tickets here!

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