On June 4th, 2016, The Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County celebrated their 40th Anniversary with panache! With what some are calling a “Time-traveling Gala”, the fundraiser transported guests through time with a tour of four historic locations that were significant to Asheville’s history. Attendees were treated to specialty cocktails, period- inspired foods and live music at each location. Visit our SmugMug page to view some of the photos from that evening.
Many guests arrived in period costumes at Asheville’s famous Historic Grove Arcade, where the event was kicked off by the trumpet sounds of “The Great Gillespie”- local celebrity/dentist, Dr. Timothy Gillespie! They also joined PSABC’s Executive Director, Jack Thomson in a celebratory toast to the city of Asheville. Gala guests then boarded Grayline Trolley buses that transported them to three additional parties at three more locations that were significant to Asheville’s history.
The Gan Shan Station, winner of a prestigious Griffin Award, was originally built in the ‘50’s as a service station for travelers en route to local tourist destinations. Elvis impersonator, Mr. Johnny Greene, wooed guests like the true king of rock, a fitting compliment to Chef Patrick O’Cain’s 1950’s inspired menu. Gala guests danced and enjoyed many photo opportunities with the proverbial King of that Era.
The Historic Jones Cabin, an 1863 appalachian homestead that pre-dates the Biltmore Estate, featured “old-time” bluegrass music by Slim Chance & the Can’t Hardly Play Boys. Now the home of the Biltmore Clays & Sports Club, the menu at the Jones Cabin was catered by the Biltmore and included samples of Troy & Sons moonshine, country ham biscuits, and homemade moon pies.
Guests concluded the evening at The Manor on Charlotte Street with a silent auction. Built in 1898 by Thomas Raul, The Manor was frequented by tourists of the 1900’s during Asheville’s dramatic turn-of-the-century boom era, making the perfect setting for the soulful ‘30’s vocals of jazz musician, Simone Bernhardt. Patrons of the gala bid on hand-made architectural antique pieces that had been transformed by PSABC volunteers into functional pieces of furniture, lovely garden art, and other inspired pieces for the home. Guests were then transported back to the Grove Arcade at the end of the night.
With 241 attending guests, and over 100 volunteers, the inaugural gala was successful in raising over $25K for the organization. The greatest success came in the form of building public awareness about PSABC’s efforts in the community for the past 40 years. The measure of this success contributed to increased volunteer involvement in the organization, new memberships and corporate sponsorships, new opportunities for business partnerships, and renewed kinship with Asheville communities that embrace the importance of preserving the cultural and historical legacy of the city.
A portion of the proceeds from the event is going toward the stabilization of the famed Thomas Wolfe Cabin. The generous contributions of corporate sponsors like MEDStrength and the Ellington family made it possible for PSABC to deploy a modest amount of funds for critical mitigation work to begin which provides the City of Asheville the necessary time for planning and devoting the funds needed to ensure full restoration of this historic location.
Guests of the June 4th gala were so enthusiastic about PSABC’s efforts in the community that requests for advanced ticket sales to the next time traveling gala in the Fall of 2017 have already started to come in. Building on growing community awareness around the importance of continued preservation efforts in Asheville, PSABC plans to continue this event as an annual fundraiser for the organization.
Preservation is the bedrock of Asheville’s local tourist economy. 40 years ago, PSABC’s founding members ensured that historic neighborhoods like Montford would remain intact for generations to come. PSABC offers technical advice and solutions to the challenges that historic property owners face, community education workshops and continued advocacy for the preservation of Asheville’s cultural legacy. Please visit PSABC.org to learn more about the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County, make a donation or to become a member and get involved.