First, I have a new widget that does not show up every day. It is called “A Year Ago Today,” and IF there was a blog on that day a year ago, it will show the title to the left. Today there is one that relates to the mice who use to live on the top of the coop.
As for the tour, today we will go further into the tour. Actually, it is the first part, but I said I was not going to go in any specific order.
Welcome to Asheville, named for Samuel Ash, who was the governor of North Carolina when Asheville was incorporated in 1797. Asheville has been called Land of the Sky, Paris of the South, Freak Capital, and in 2008 it was named The Happiest City in the United States.
We are first driving through the Montford area, which is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. Most of the homes were built between 1890 and 1925. Many have been renovated and restored to their regional beauty.
Also in the Montford area is Riverside Cemetery; its 87 acres are the final resting place for many famous Ashevillians. They include Thomas Wolfe, writer; Richard Sharp Smith, architect for many of the homes and buildings in Asheville and surrounding areas; Zebulon and Robert Vance, statesmen in Asheville during the Civil War; Thomas Clingman, colorful pre-Civil War senator from North Carolina; and William Sydney Portor, aka O’Henry, American writer.
One of O’Henry’s short stories, The Gift of the Magi, was the story about a poor newly married couple who ido not have the money to buy Christmas presents for each other. The opening lines are, “One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies.” Because of this, out of respect for O’Henry, people leave a dollar and eighty-seven cents on his grave.
Note: With today’s coins, that amount is impossible, using only sixty pennies.
Montford was the home to the first Asheville Art, which was first the home of Gay Green. Gay Green was a wealthy man who lived in Asheville before the stock market crash of 1929. He somehow had advanced knowledge that the market was going to crash, so he took his wheelbarrow to the bank, took out all his money, and then wheeled it home. So they say.
Many of the houses in the Montford area are now bed and breakfasts. Two of the most famous are The Lion and the Rose and The Black Walnut. The Lion and the Rose was built in 1897, and it was designed by Richard Sharp Smith. One of its windows is a Tiffany.
Early in the 1900′s Asheville ‘s air was considered to be a “cure” for lung ailments such as tuberculosis, asthma, and chronic bronchitis. The houses in the Montford area were built with large “sleeping” porches where the patient could be wheeled out to sleep and breath in the cure. Many of the developers of Asheville came to the area because family members were ill and needed the air cure. They include Vanderbuilt, Pack, Grove, and Thomas Wolfe’s father, were among them. Asheville was home to the first TB sanitarium in the United States. TB vaccine was developed here also.
At one time, there were so many people in Asheville with tuberculosis, that it is said the locals were afraid to breathe the air for fear of catching it.
The Wright Inn and Carriage House, built in 1899, is the best surviving example of Queen Anne Victorian in Asheville.
At one point it was so run down that the neighbors called it Faded Glory. In 1980, it was purchased for thirty-eight thousand dollars. After a half million dollars of renovation, it opened in 1989 as a bed and breakfast. In 2004, it was sold for 1.5 million.
The Richmond Hill Inn was built in 1989 for Richmond Pearson, US Ambassador and Congressman. It later became an inn and special event location. It was burned to the ground in 2009, from what has been determined arson.