2022/2023 PSABC Board of Directors Slate
Josi Ward – President
Josi Ward is an architectural historian with fifteen years of experience researching, writing, and teaching architectural history. The founder of Foreground Consulting, LLC, she specializes in the preparation of architectural surveys, eligibility reports, and nominations for local and federal designation. Josi also prioritizes local historic preservation advocacy, and has served as a PSABC board member since 2019. She was appointed to the North Carolina National Register Advisory Council in 2021. Her work has been published in Buildings & Landscapes and Rethinking History, and she has presented her research at conferences hosted by the Society of Architectural Historians, Southeast Society of Architectural Historians, and the Vernacular Architectural Forum. She is a PhD candidate in the History of Architecture and Urban Development at Cornell University, and received her MA in architectural history from UVA and her BA in art history from Vassar College.
Amy Hornaday – Immediate Past President
Amy Hornaday has been a PSABC board member since 2016 and board president from 2018-present. She helped create PSABC’s Grant Program and serves on the Grant, Griffin and Endangered Properties committees. She became a passionate preservationist when she and her husband bought and rehabbed their first home, a 1922 bungalow and went on to rehabilitate four more historic properties. She has received 3 Griffin Awards! She and her husband have a graphic design business and live in Albemarle Park with their college-bound son and two dogs.
Bruce Johnson – Vice President
Bruce Johnson directed the National Arts and Crafts Conference at the Grove Park Inn from 1988 until turning it over to his assistant this year. He is now focusing his attention on completing the book he has been researching for the past decade: “From Mountain Crafts to Arts and Crafts: The Story of Biltmore Industries, Tryon Toy-Makers, the Artisans’ Shop, and the Two Women Who Started It All, Charlotte Yale and Eleanor Vance.” (He continues to ask for additional information for his book.)
Bruce served on the Preservation Society board in the 1990s and returned in 2019 for another term.
Betty Lawrence – Secretary
Betty Lawrence arrived in Asheville in 1972, with an AB in History, which at the time, with a dime, could buy a cup of coffee at Peterson’s Grill, an Asheville landmark on North Pack Square, demolished in the late ‘70s by Akzona for its headquarters. She found employment at the old Pack Library across the square, working first in circulation, then reference, and from 1974 to 1980, as curator of the North Carolina collection and the Thomas Wolfe collection. This deep immersion in local history and current events led her to a desire to preserve all of Buncombe’s historic resources, beginning with joining the fight to prevent the NCDOT from demolishing Beaucatcher Mountain for the I-240 open cut. Ultimately unsuccessful lawsuits followed.
In June, 1976, she attended the first meeting of what became the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County, becoming a charter member. She served as Vice President from 1978 until 1980. She also helped establish the Historic Resources Commission of
Asheville and Buncombe County, and served as its first Vice Chair. The Beaucatcher legal battles (and a scholarship) prompted her to go to law school at Duke, followed by three years as a Wall Street lawyer in NYC. Saving her money, she returned to Asheville in 1986 and bought an old house, establishing a law office in the house. In June, 1986, she was elected President of the Society, and along with Jeanne Warner, was instrumental in the eventual sale of Richmond Hill and purchase and eventual sale of the Manor. She has served on
the Board of Directors at various points in the ‘90s and into the 2000s, serving two terms as Secretary in the early teen’s.
She is proud and pleased to serve as the “institutional memory” of the Society, and to offer whatever insights and experience she has gained to the Society’s hard work of historic preservation. She is honored to be asked to continue her service.
Cynthia Watson – Board Member at Large
Cynthia Watson has been a board member since 2014. A former special education teacher, she has been a stay-at-home mother to 3 now grown men, and continues to be a homemaker. While on the PSABC board she has helped to organize 3 Time-Travel Galas. Her life-long love of historical Architecture has led her to this board with a desire to help facilitate the financial growth of the organization. Her love of throwing a great party is one way to help bring awareness to the community of the need for preservation in Buncombe County.
Heath Towson – Board Member at Large
Heath Towson, a native of Asheville, has loved the history of this town since childhood. Raised by parents that helped to cultivate his interest in classic cars, architecture, vintage movies and music, he has always had interests in many areas. Heath currently works as a senior accountant for Gould Killian CPA Group and serves as president for the South Slope Neighborhood Association. His degrees are in Music Industry Studies from Appalachian State University and a Masters in Accountancy from Western Carolina University. Heath’s interest in local history began to grow while he was a student at Asheville High School. Learning about the Douglas Ellington designed building and its varied history, his interest was sparked in learning more.
After graduating from ASU, Heath went on to work for the Percussive Arts Society in Indianapolis, Indiana. While at PAS, he managed their percussion history museum, Rhythm! Discovery Center. At R!DC, Heath served as the programs and operations coordinator, where he programmed weekend educational workshops, wrote and led guided tours/drum circles through the museum and developed the exhibit, Drums from the Circle City: The History of the Leedy Drum Company. Missing Asheville too much, Heath returned to Asheville and transitioned to a career in public accounting, while still working on history in his spare time. He went on to publish his own children’s book, Lionel’s Drum, about children connecting through performing music together – based on his time at Rhythm! Discovery Center. In 2014, along with one of his colleagues from Gould Killian, they led a campaign to perform a cosmetic restoration and document the history of Enka Middle School’s mascot, the Enka Jet. With a team of community volunteers, the Enka Jet, a real 1953 RF-84F fighter jet, was fully restored and unveiled in 2018. Heath is currently writing a book about the history of the Three Mountaineers company in Asheville and developing a sightseeing tour with his 1923 Ford Model T touring car. He also serves as a docent several times a month at the Estes-Winn car museum at Grovewood Village.
Thomas Frank – Board Member at Large
Thomas Edward Frank retired as University Professor of Wake Forest University in 2021 after more than a decade of teaching and administration in various schools of the university. A scholar of American religious history, his research and publication has focused on
American Protestantism and its institutions, particularly liberal arts colleges, denominations, local congregations, and utopian communities.
Dr. Frank is also a historic preservationist with particular interest in landscapes and streetscapes of American towns and cities, and how they stimulate creativity, collaboration, and artistic expression in all forms. His study Historic Houses of Worship in Peril: Conserving Their Place in American Life was published in 2020. He is working on a collection of essays exploring the people and heritage of Black Mountain College, a widely known adventure in liberal arts education, community living, and the arts from 1933-1957.
A resident of Asheville, North Carolina, Dr. Frank has launched Heritage Conservation Carolina, LLC for consultation on preservation efforts locally and beyond. He is Co-Editor of the Journal of Black Mountain College Studies published by the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center in Asheville.
David Bedingfield – Board Member at Large
For over 25 years, David Bedingfield has enjoyed a career at the intersection of design and technology, serving as a product designer, leader, and mentor at both early-stage startups and large companies that include Yahoo! and Twitter. As an MFA graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design (and former design professor), he is passionate about accessibility, inclusion, and representation in both digital and analog environments. He is eager to build greater awareness of historic preservation across Asheville and Buncombe County by helping to support those endeavoring to undertake preservation-minded projects.
As Asheville residents for over 3 years, David and his wife Karina were recipients of a Griffin Award in 2021 for rehabilitation.
Dale Slusser – Board Member at Large
“At the age of six years old, my father died, leaving my mother to care for six children. A year later (1966) I, along with my twin brother, was enrolled in Milton Hershey School, Hershey, PA. The school, which now serves the needs of disadvantaged boys and girls was during our enrollment (1966-1977), a school for orphan boys (one or both parents deceased). At the school, we lived in student homes under the care of houseparents who took on the role of parents to the boys. We only went “home” for about a week at Easter, 10 days at Christmas, and only 30 days during the summer, so the school was our real home! I credit loving houseparents (and teachers) for showing to me the love of God by living out their Christian faith in care and concern for me and the other boys. After MHS, I obtained a B.S. in Education degree (Library Science) from Millersville University in 1981 and an Associates in Arts in Architectural Technology degree from Harrisburg Area Community College in 1984.
I love old buildings and have so since I was a teenager growing up at the Milton Hershey School. As a freshman in high school, my twin brother and I were transferred to student-home “Bonniemead”, which was a former 1860 “brick mansion”, complete with a spiral stairway and Greek-revival entrance doorway with etched ruby-glass sidelights and transom. My interest in architecture and history continued in college, as I minored in History and did extensive historical research and writing both on “Bonniemead” and other historic homes, such as the early-eighteenth-century Germanic Abraham Herr House in Millersville, PA. While in college, I proudly displayed my 11-volume set of “The Architectural Treasures of Early America”, which I had bought on a monthly subscription-one volume per month! Also, while in college I joined the Marietta Restoration Associates in Marietta, Pa., and just after college the President of the MRA, asked me, as a volunteer, to prepare the National Register nomination for an extension to Marietta’s Historic District. After a year’s work and a visit from SHPO officials, it was decided to increase the Extension to include almost the entire western section of the town, which included 291 structures!
While I was pursuing my Architectural Technology degree, I was hired part-time by Levengood Associates, Architects in downtown Lancaster, PA to research, draw and prepare the National Register nomination for the 1798 John Bishop House in Berks County, PA. Richard Levengood had purchased the home and subsequently restored it for his personal use. After graduation I was hired fulltime as an architectural draftsman with Levengood Associates and later Calabrese Architects in Strasburg, PA. At both firms, I was involved in many rehab and restoration projects on historic structures. But then in 1987, I joined Helps Ministries, a ministry that provides design and construction assistance to Christian missions, ministries, and churches (mostly in developing countries), which was then located in Harlem, Georgia. I still currently serve with Helps Ministries.
In 1993, I moved to Asheville (Helps Ministries moved our office here) and shortly thereafter began researching the story of Ronald MacDonald, the son of famed British Victorian author, George MacDonald, who had moved to Asheville in 1890 to become the Headmaster of the Ravenscroft High School. After fifteen years, that research resulted in the publication of two books, In the Near Loss of Everything: George MacDonald’s Son In America (2009) and The Ravenscroft School in Asheville. After a thirty-year hiatus from Preservation work, I joined the PSABC in 2008, and became actively re-involved in historic preservation, and have also formerly served as a PSABC board member!