Where Research is a Delight!
***Please continue to check this page for additional listings for the year as program dates are confirmed.
We’ve all heard how E. W. Grove bulldozed the hill on which the first Battery Park Hotel stood, and used the dirt to create Coxe Avenue. What did it look like? Was there a cemetery down near the bottom? Which buildings still stand from back then and which ones have we lost?
Rich Mathews will use photos from the North Carolina Room, Pack Memorial Library and several photos from the E. M. Ball Collection, D. H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville, to reveal the changes during its first few years and compare the Coxe Avenue of the past to the same boulevard today.
After our February 3, 2018 program with Professor Fitzhugh Brundage from UNC Chapel Hill, we wanted to keep the conversation about Asheville’s Confederate Monuments alive. And we want to continue to do what we can, to keep Asheville residents informed about the history behind the Confederate monuments.
Karen L. Cox is an award-winning historian and a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. She is the author of three books and numerous essays and articles on the subject of southern history and culture. Her books include Dixie’s Daughters: The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Preservation of Confederate Culture, which won the 2004 Julia Cherry Spruill Prize from the Southern Association for Women Historians for the Best Book in Southern Women’s History, Dreaming of Dixie: How the South Was Created in American Popular Culture, and, most recently, Goat Castle: A True Story of Murder, Race, and the Gothic South.
A successful public intellectual, she has written op-eds for the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, TIME, Publishers Weekly, and the Huffington Post. Her expertise on southern history and culture has led to numerous interviews with newspapers from around the world and radio appearances on the BBC, Canadian Public Radio, NPR, Detroit Today, and Charlotte Talks. She’s also appeared on C-SPAN, Israeli Television, and NC Bookwatch.
In the wake of events in Charlottesville, University Press of Florida author and University of North Carolina at Charlotte history professor Karen Cox was called upon as an expert to comment on the meaning behind Confederate monuments and whether they should be removed. We welcome her to Asheville.
Asheville lured major film companies such as Paramount Pictures as well as itinerant movie makers who made short comedies on the streets of Asheviile, cast entirely with locals. Frank Thompson will use photograph stills and real film footage as he talks about movies produced in Asheville from the earliest in 1900 to the final silent film produced in 1929.
Questions about how Confederate monuments’ proper places will be decided came to a cataclysm in Charlottesville, Va., last August, causing one death, multiple injuries and an acceleration of the evolving national debate. Locally, disputes over what to do with fixtures as prominent as Asheville’s Vance Monument have led to heated discussions and soul-searching about a path forward.
The focus of this program is to present when and where monuments were placed, who placed them, who paid for them, and a look at how they were presented to the public when they were placed. We also hope to shed light on the social and political times of Asheville, Buncombe County and North Carolina, during the time that they were erected.
Professor Fitz Brundage, who received both his masters and PhD from Harvard University in the 1980s, has since become a leading scholar of the history of the American South, with a focus on the historical memory of white and black populations in the post-Civil War era. He has spearheaded Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina, an ongoing online project to document the state’s monuments and their meanings.
This is a link to his site documenting Buncombe County’s monuments. Commemorative Landscapes.
This program is sponsored by the Friends of the North Carolina Room with support from Mountain Xpress.
Brown Bag Lunch and Evening Programs:
[With the exception of our Saturday September 16, 2017 program.]
Nan Chase writes about architecture and design and is the author of Asheville: A History and several other books, including, most recently, Drink the Harvest. She has written for such publications as The New York Times, Washington Post, Southern Living, and Air & Space. Nan served on the Historic Resources Commission of Asheville and Buncombe County. A long-time resident of western North Carolina, she now lives in central Asheville.
The North Carolina Room will begin a 2017 North Asheville Neighborhood History Project focused through the North Branch Library. Long-time residents will be interviewed by volunteers of the Friends of the North Carolina Room. The project will also include a year long search for photographs, letters, ephemera and architectural drawings that document the early residential communities of North Asheville. The geographical focus of the program will include: Beaverdam, Elk Mountain, Grace, Grove Park, Kimberly Heights, Lake View Park, Macon/Sunset Mountain, Proximity Park and Sherwood Heights.
This is a pilot project that we will take to other library branches in Buncombe County.
Shortly after the United States entered World War I in 1917, the “Presbyterian Hospital was asked to send two surgical teams near the front to support the British attack on Western Belgium, one of the teams used a nurse as its anesthetist. Major William Darrach, the team’s surgeon and a future dean of P&S, told a British colonel that Anne Penland’12, was the most qualified in the group, even though the colonel didn’t think a nurse could physically hold down a larger man while giving anesthesia. One night more than 1,200 casualties came through the makeshift hospital and Ms. Penland performed admirably. Her achievements motivated the British to develop programs for nurse anesthetists. Graduates later freed up more than 100 doctors for medical and surgical work during the war.” [From “Nurses Who Went to War” by Matthew Dougherty.]
Local historian and author Marla Milling will talk about her new book, Legends, Secrets and Mysteries of Asheville. As in Marla’ Milling’s first book, Only in Asheville: An Eclectic History, she again traces the people and places that make her hometown a truly unique city. She’s a full-time freelance writer and serves as a Contributing Editor for Blue Ridge Country magazine, freelance staff writer for TheManual.com, and freelance staff writer for Match.com. In addition, she writes frequently for the Asheville-based monthly magazine Capital at Play, WNC Parent/Asheville Citizen-Times, and other publications. She grew up in the Skyland area of south Buncombe County, where she graduated from T.C. Roberson High School. She went on to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Communications with a minor in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. She lives in north Asheville with her two teenagers, Ben and Hannah, and four cats. Her roots run deep in the WNC mountains, with ancestors on both sides going back for many generations.
Date: Wednesday, June 28th
Time: 12:00 to 1:00
Bruce Johnson has been researching and writing about the Grove Park Inn since first coming to Asheville in 1986. In 1988 he founded the National Arts and Crafts Conference at the Grove Park Inn and continues to direct that today. He has written several books on the American Arts and Crafts movement, as well as on the Grove Park Inn, including Built For the Ages: A History of the Grove Park Inn and Tales of the Grove Park Inn.
Date: Wednesday. May 31st
Time: 12:00 to 1:00
Lynne Poirier-Wilson is a retired Museum Curator and Administrator who has worked in museums in eastern PA and western NY. She moved to Asheville in 2000 and took a part-time job as a Curator with the Asheville Art Museum curating exhibitions that explore both art and culture history. Lynne has served on the board of the Swannanoa Valley Museum, and volunteers for the Asheville Art Museum and for the North Carolina Collection. Lynne has a fond affection for anything rustic and has written several articles on rustic art and furnishings.
Lynne Poirier-Wilson is a retired Museum Curator and Administrator who has worked in museums in eastern PA and western NY. She moved to Asheville in 2000 and took a part-time job as a Curator with the Asheville Art Museum curating exhibitions that explore both art and culture history. Lynne has served on the board of the Swannanoa Valley Museum, and volunteers for the Asheville Art Museum and for the North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Library. Lynne has a fond affection for anything rustic and has written several articles on rustic art and furnishings.
Elizabeth (Liz) Colton, Ph.D. will talk about the book, Mountain Scenery: The Scenery of the Mountains of Western North Carolina and Northwestern South Carolina written by Henry E. Colton and published in 1859. No one could better present this fascinating book than Liz Colton, as she has visited every site in Western NC visited by her ancestor Henry E. Colton.
Known as “a worldwide connector”, Liz Colton grew up in Asheville, NC. She lived and worked around the world as a journalist, diplomat, educator. Now through her EO Colton & Associates Global Collaboration consulting firm based in Asheville and Washington, Dr. Colton speaks and advises globally on diplomacy, politics, education, journalism & the media. She has been a Fulbright Scholar, a university professor, a UN development planner, a Peace Corps Volunteer, an Emmy Award-winning journalist, and a Foreign Service Officer. Liz has an undergraduate BA from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and MAs from Vanderbilt University and holds a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics & Political Science. Currently, Dr. Elizabeth Colton is serving as Diplomat in Residence at Lenoir-Rhyne University-Asheville Center and also as UNITAR trainer/moderator in Diplomacy courses.
Date: Wednesday, March 29th 2017
Time: 12:00 to 1:00
Join Terry Taylor as he presents a visual potpourri of a selection of postcards which can be found in the North Carolina Collection. You’ll see Asheville (and Western North Carolina) as you’ve probably not seen it before, from the early years of the 20th century into the more recent past. Also check out the display of postcards from the North Carolina Collection on the main floor of the library adjacent to the Circulation Desk.
Terry Taylor is as close to a native as one can be without being born in a Buncombe County hospital. His grandparents and parents both hail from the Billy Cove in Candler and the Big Sandy Mush community. He’s lived in the mountains of WNC since 1964 except for a decade in Durham County’s rolling piedmont. After careers in special education and craft book publishing (both authoring and editing), he earned a diploma in Jewelry from the Professional Crafts Program at Haywood Community College. He lives and has a studio just outside of Asheville’s city limits.
Title: Sex, Lies, and Snake Oil: The Strange Career of Dr. John Brinkley
From his humble mountain origins, Brinkley rose to national stature as a medical scam artist. He made a killing on sketchy goat gland implants and other oddball treatments, only to die pretty young and totally broke. At the same time, Brinkley built radio audiences for some of his musically talented Jackson County neighbors and others from around the country, including the Carter Family. And he helped shape modern advertising and political campaign tactics that are still in use today.
Elliston’s presentation is based on his January 2017 article in WNC magazine about Brinkley’s rise and fall, and will include audio from Brinkley’s radio broadcasts along with rarely seen images of the would-be doctor and his enterprises.
Date: Wednesday, February 22nd
Time: 12:00 to 1:00
Roy Harris is President of the Asheville Storytelling Circle, a board member of the Young Men’s Institute, and newest board member of the Friends of the North Carolina Room. Roy will be telling his story about two cousins who each think their own mule is the fastest, so to prove it they walk their mules from the Eastern part of North Carolina, through Asheville, and onto the Kentucky Derby. So Roy, which mule did win the race?
Sheneika Smith, a native of Asheville, NC, is a preacher’s daughter, fierce fashionista, community organizer and visionary leader. Sheneika graduated from Asheville High and has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Communication from Winston-Salem State University. Her path is to develop her ministry to assist in the preservation of the African American interests and quality of life in her community. Her work includes ministry, motherhood, special events planning, supporting her community and the empowerment of those around her.
Sheneika is best known for organizing and producing “Asheville Sunday’s Best,” and for spearheading an initiative that encourages inclusion and empowerment of Black Asheville called “Date My City.”
Two exhibit cases of “Folk Art of Southern Appalachia.”
One exhibit is just inside the main library doors at Haywood Street entrance. Second exhibit case is located on the lower level in front of the North Carolina Room.
“Folk artists thrive in North Carolina, evolving through self-instruction and emulation of the work of others
as well as upholding traditional and nontraditional methods of craft passed down through the generations.
An exhibition of documentary photographs taken in 2016 by the staff of the North Carolina Room.
Pack Memorial Library, Lord Auditorium, Lower Level
Sponsored by the Friends of the North Carolina Room
All events are free and open to the public
The North Carolina Room threw a social for the Friends of the North Carolina Room in October. It was held at the Bier Garden on Haywood Street. Moderators from the “Asheville in the 1980s” series were invited as special guests.
NC Room Staff Ione Whitlock created a slide show of all of the photographs used in the “Asheville in the 1980s” series and 1980s music played in the background.
The North Carolina Room staff thanked long time volunteer and past library board member Bob Etter for his consistent help volunteering in the NC Room. He accomplished finishing scanning the post card collection. Every Friday morning he scanned whatever was set in front of him, from 9:00 to 11:00.
Pitchers of local beer, chips and Bier Garden’s special salsa. Librarian’s love socials!
A Summer-Long Evening Series
April through September
6:00 to 7:30 pm
These programs will be made up of panelists and two moderators, all of whom were involved in their subject area in Asheville during this decade.
EXHIBITS: Exhibits of photographs from the North Carolina Collection of Asheville in the 1980s are on the main library floor to left of entrance, as well as three exhibits on the lower level, in the hallway going to the North Carolina Room and in the North Carolina Room.
June 1 through July 14:
“So Great the Devastation: The Flood of 1916”
Traveling Exhibit from the North Carolina Office of Archives and History
Main floor Pack Memorial Library
A display case on the main floor and one on the lower level outside the North Carolina Room also features photographs and real photo postcards form the North Carolina Room Collection on the flood of 1916.
Bring a brown bag lunch and listen to local historians.
A free multimedia presentation by local historian Jon Elliston
Wednesday, July 13, 12-1 p.m.
Lord Auditorium, Pack Memorial Library
Even after a century has passed, the flood waters of July 1916 remain the French Broad River’s “chief and unforgettable rampage,” as writer Wilma Dykeman described the cataclysm. And indeed, almost the entirety of Western North Carolina was devastated by the Great Flood, which cost some 50 lives here and destroyed thousands of farms, roads, railroad lines, homes and businesses. Join WNC magazine senior editor Jon Elliston for a free multimedia presentation based on his historical exposé in the new issue of the magazine. He’ll show the pictures, and tell the stories, of how the Great Flood’s watery depths came to haunt our region, even to this day.
Monday, March 14, 2016, 6:00-7:00
Bill Jamerson will present a music and storytelling program about the Civilian Conservation Corps. It’s a nostalgic program with lots of laughter and many heartfelt stories. His program is as entertaining as it is important; as honest as it is fun. It’s about people both ordinary and extraordinary, with stories of strength, wit and charm.
The Civilian Conservation Corps was a federal works program created by President Franklin Roosevelt in the heart of The Great Depression. During its nine-year run beginning in 1933, over 75,000 men served in North Carolina. The enrollees were paid $1 a day with $25 sent home to their families each month. The money kept many families from starving.
February 24, 2016 (Wednesday) 12: to 1:00: Rick Russell spoke about Robert Henry, Forgotten Pioneer and the Sulphur Springs Hotel
Join Asheville historian and award-winning author Richard Russell for the unusual, contradictory and fascinating life story of Robert Henry, a pioneer who fought with the Overmountain Men at Kings Mountain, battled British troops along the Catawba River, and went on to build the Sulphur Springs resort in what is now Malvern Hills in West Asheville.
In celebration of the Allied Victory in World War I, the 1920s ushered in an era of what some believed would be permanent prosperity. The Roaring Twenties were a period of tremendous change in United States, in general, and Asheville, in particular, as the city’s population nearly doubled to over 50,000 in only a decade. The boom could be seen in the dramatic physical transformation of the city, from Asheville’s first skyscraper, to its many Art Deco masterpieces. At once, the city’s “Program for Progress” moved Asheville closer to being one of the South’s great cities while at the same time it plunged it into a mire of debt that crippled the city for some 50 years.
Frazier is the Executive Director of Western Carolina University at Biltmore Park in Asheville and has been a History professor and higher education administrator for some 20 years. A native, Kevan is also the owner/operator of Asheville by Foot walking tours, and recently published a new book, Legendary Locals of Asheville, a collection of 150 biographical shorts of folks who have shaped the city over the past 200 years.
Missing History: The Family Store. A panel about the bygone days of the many Jewish-owned businesses that used to be in downtown Asheville. From 1880-1990 there were more than 454 different Jewish-owned retail businesses downtown. This panel discussion will follow a 20 minute visual presentation on how instrumental these merchants were in creating what we know today as downtown Asheville. Why did these merchants come to Asheville, why were they even merchants? The panel will include some of the merchants themselves, most of whom are descendants of the original store owners.
Presenter: Jan Schochet, co-creator of the public history exhibit you can see now across downtown, “The Family Store: A History of the Jewish Businesses of Downtown Asheville, 1880-1990.
Dora Rapport, owner of Doray’s Hat Hop on Haywood Street across from Pritchard Park (photo around 1940s).
The Mountains-to-Sea Trail Across North Carolina, published by the History Press, focuses on the beauty, quirkiness, and vibrancy of the 1,000 miles from Clingmans Dome in the Smokies to the Outer Banks. Danny recounts the highlights and challenges of walking the MST. Meeting people is also a vital part of walking the trail.
The route takes in Fraser fir trees and pelicans, old grist and textile mills, working cotton and tobacco farms, Revolutionary War sites and two British Cemeteries complete with Union Jacks. Author Danny Bernstein shares stories that will captivate the curious, adventurous, hiker, biker, and history and culture buff.
Danny’s mission is to get people out of their cars and hiking. A committed hiker for over 40 years, she completed the Appalachian Trail, all the trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the South beyond 6000, many other hiking challenges, and, of course, the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Recently she walked the 440 miles of Le Chemin de St. Jacques, the French section of the El Camino. She’s written two hiking guides, Hiking the Carolina Mountains (2007) and Hiking North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains (2009) and blogs at http://www.hikertohiker.com.
Her motto is “No place is too far to walk if you have the time.” Danny plans to die with her boots on.
Danny Bernstein is one of fifty people to have walked the Mountains-To-Sea Trail. No, Danny is not afraid of running into a bear on the trail, and she considers stumbling on a wild boar a “gift.” The only thing she’s afraid of, is getting lost. Sixty-five Hungry for History enthusiasts got to vicariously hike across the state with Danny. If you haven’t heard her speak, don’t miss her when you get a chance.
The social for the Friends of the North Carolina Room will be held this year at the Rankin House Inn, 32 Elizabeth Place, Asheville, NC 28801. The Rankin House Inn is the oldest frame-built home in Asheville and predates the founding of Montford. This five bedroom, five bathroom B&B offers luxurious common spaces, private entrances, over 1200 square feet of covered porches and balconies all just a short walk from downtown. North Carolina Room staff will have on exhibit some newly archived items from the Rankin-Bearden Collection. Light appetizers will be served. If you haven’t yet joined the Friends of the North Carolina Room, or renewed your membership at $15.00/year, do so now, so you won’t miss this event.
Back by popular demand, Jon will do an evening presentation, similar to his standing-room-only program last March. In a multimedia presentation, local journalist and historian Jon Elliston will open a window into Asheville as it was 100 years ago, sharing the good, the bad and the ugly of local history during an early phase of the city’s rise to prominence.
Elliston is an editor and writer for Carolina Public Press and WNC magazine — and the curator of the @AVL1915 Twitter feed, which recounts century-old local news and was launched from records in Pack Library’s North Carolina Collection.
Members of the docent team at the Basilica of St. Lawrence will discuss May’s exhibit in the North Carolina Collection, which documents architect Rafael Guastavino’s extended family, particularly after his 1881 move to America. Topics, and related items on display, include Guastavino’s second wife, Francesca Ramirez Guastavino, who remained at his local estate, Rhododendron, for forty years after his 1908 death; members of her family who later moved to this area; and items pertaining to Guastavino’s older sons and his first wife, who moved to South America in 1881.
John Toms, who produced the National Register text for St. Lawrence’s 2010 National Significance designation, will provide general background and an introduction of the research of Albert Czarnecki and Lori Dorr, who have served as tour guides at the Basilica of St. Lawrence for a number of years, and interviews and research conducted by Diane Wright, the Basilica’s tour director. Time will be provided for the researchers to discuss their work and answer questions.
Join Tim Barnwell for a talk about his latest book, Blue Ridge Parkway Vistas: A Comprehensive Identification Guide to What You See from the Many Overlooks. Mr. Barnwell will discuss the 5-year effort involved in identifying the hundreds of mountains seen from over 40 overlooks along the Parkway plus views from other area locations including the Biltmore House and Chimney Rock Park. Discussions will also touch on the history, geography, unique features and attractions of the areas of North Carolina and Virginia that surround the spectacular 469-mile route the Parkway traces through the western mountains of those states. There will be time for questions and a book signing to follow (books will be available for purchase at the event).
TIM BARNWELL is a photographer based in Asheville, North Carolina. His career has spanned more than 30 years as a professional photographer and photography instructor, including eight years as Executive Director of the nationally recognized Appalachian Photographic Workshops.
His images have been widely published, appearing in dozens of magazines, including Time, Newsweek, Southern Accents, House Beautiful, American Craft, Outdoor Photographer, Sky and Telescope, Billboard, Travel South, American Style, Black & White Magazine, Aperture, Lenswork, and National Parks. He has been a principal or contributing photographer to dozens of books, and is the author of four of his own–The Face of Appalachia: Portraits from the Mountain Far, On Earth’s Furrowed Brow: The Appalachian Farm in Photographs, and Hands in Harmony: Traditional Crafts and Music in Appalachia, and Blue Ridge Parkway Vistas: A Comprehensive Identification Guide to What You See from the Many Overlooks.
Mr. Barnwell’s widely collected work has been included in many group and one-man shows in the U.S. and abroad. His prints are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum, New Orleans Museum of Art, High Museum of Art, Mint Museum, SOHO Photo Gallery, Newark Museum, and the Bank of America corporate collection.
In a multimedia presentation, local journalist and historian Jon Elliston will open a window into Asheville as it was 100 years ago, sharing the good, the bad and the ugly of local history during an early phase of the city’s rise to prominence.
Elliston is an editor and writer for Carolina Public Press and WNC magazine — and the curator of the @AVL1915 Twitter feed, which recounts century-old local news and was launched from records in Pack Library’s North Carolina Collection
In conjunction with a month-long exhibit in the North Carolina Room, Anthony Lord: Artist, Architect,Craftsman, The Friends of the North Carolina Room hosted a presentation, “Let’s Talk About Anthony Lord” on August 28th from 6:00 to 7:00. A few of Anthony Lord’s friends spoke briefly, from their own professions, on Lord’s work and what he contributed to Asheville. 76 people attended.
Peter Austin, The Ironwork of Tony Lord; Dianne Cable, The Watercolors and sketches of Tony Lord; Elizabeth Kostova, Working with Tony Lord on the book she wrote with Tony Lord, 1927: The Good Natured Chronicle of a Journey; Terry Davis, The Photography of Tony Lord; John Rogers, Tony Lord the Architect.
A video was also played of several of John Warner’s favorite “Tony stories” which included a video of Tony talking.
And Buncombe County TV filmed the whole event.
Click here if you would like to view the presentation.
Here is a link to our Heardtell blog post about the exhibit:
Here is a link to our Heardtell blog post about the presentation:
Social for the Friends of the North Carolina Room, 95 Charlotte Street
NC Room staff and the board of the NC Room Friends held a social on Tuesday, June 17th, 2014 to celebrate their newly formed Friends of the North Carolina Room. We also celebrated the life of Mary Parker (1914-2012), who would have been 100 years old that day. Mary was a longtime library supporter, and her family, the Patton-Parker family, has had a long tradition of friends and family joining for merry-making. The beautiful old home seemed glad for its walls to hold the sounds of laughter again. Fifty Friends attended. And the traditional front-porch-steps-photograph was taken.
Click here for more photographs: https://packlibraryncroom.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/the-social-for-the-friends-of-the-north-carolina-room-at-95-charlotte-street/?preview=true&preview_id=1477&preview_nonce=912166f321&post_format=standard