Tenn. just wasn’t that into preserving mountains

“Tourism was a primary justification for this environmental preservation movement [circa 1900]. Thus Asheville, the most important resort of the Blue Ridge region, was the birthplace of municipal sanitation campaigns, modern forestry conservation and the movement to create a national park in southern Appalachia….

“On the Tennessee side of the mountains, however, there was much less interest…. Logging and mining were far more important elements of East Tennessee’s economy than tourism.”

— From Tourism in the Mountain South: A Double-edged Swordby C. Brenden Martin (2007)

 

Confederate colonel’s fame shrinks even further

“Question: Conspicuously missing from the corner of Tunnel Road and Chunns Cove Road [in Asheville] is a state highway historical marker titled,  ‘Lee’s School, 1846-1879.’ The silver and black aluminum sign commemorated a school for boys conducted by Stephen Lee, a West Point graduate and Confederate colonel….  Has it been removed for maintenance, replacement or retirement?

“Answer: First of all, the information on the sign was incorrect.

” ‘I got a message from somebody up that way saying Stephen Lee did not graduate from West Point, so that makes one line out of four or five on the sign incorrect,’ said Ansley Herring Wegner, administrator of the North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program. ‘And sure enough, he was right. He entered the U.S. Military Academy, where he remained for two years, but he resigned’….

“If something simple is incorrect, like a date, that can be fixed with a kit that cost about $100. But in the Lee case, an entire new sign would cost $1,700.

” ‘The [marker review] committee said this guy just doesn’t qualify for a marker,’ Wegner said. ‘This marker came to be in 1951. Back in that day, less research went into the markers. The process for approving markers was not as rigorous….’

“Lee’s failure to graduate West Point was not the disqualifying factor, Wegner said. While locally important, Lee did not have accomplishments of statewide significance, and his military service was relatively short.

” ‘He ran a school, and he was in the Confederate Army for a very short time — less than a year,’ Wegner said, noting that even some generals or military heroes in North Carolina do not have markers. ‘Basically, as a package, the committee didn’t want to spend $1,700 to put up marker for someone who would not qualify for a marker today.’ ”

— From “Confederate marker to go down forever?”  in John Boyle’s Answer Man column in the Asheville Citizen-Times (Aug. 2) 

 

Arthur Murray’s Asheville, sweet and sour

“At summer’s end [of 1914], Arthur went from Marblehead [Mass.] to the Battery Park Hotel, a sprawling resort sitting on its own 40-acre hill in the middle of Asheville.

“Almost at once he became the favorite dancing partner of Mrs. George Vanderbilt. At nearby Biltmore he taught young Cornelia Vanderbilt the currently popular Lulu-Fado.

“The standard fee for dance lessons was $5 an hour, which Arthur and [his teaching partner] the Baroness split. Soon there was a falling out. Arthur discovered that the Baroness was charging Mrs. Vanderbilt $50 a lesson, while giving him only $2.50. Moreover, although Arthur never took a drink, the Baroness never refused one. When the management asked her to leave, Arthur maneuvered himself into the position of social director of the hotel…. It was a fabulous life indeed for the poor boy from the slums.

“Whenever Arthur talks about Asheville… he looks wistful. ‘Never before had I seen such attractive people, nor dreamed of such delicious little tea sandwiches  and fancy cakes.’ ”

— From “My Husband, Arthur Murray” by Kathryn Murray (1960)

Arthur Murray Studios became the world’s most successful chain of dance instruction, and Kathryn had a 10-year run on network TV hosting “The Arthur Murray Party.”

More details from their daughter’s recent memoir.

Occupy Wall Street movement spreads to link dump

—  “Yes, Dear, a Battleship; No, Dear, I’m Cold-Sober”

— Ken Burns missed quite a scene at the Eureka Saloon.

— $30 for a year’s worth of “Freedom, Sacrifice, Memory.”

— Memphis, Gibson. Nashville, Fender. Asheville, Moog.

— “We wish to negotiate with you about the Bodys of the twins….”

 

 

Link dump: Mercy, mercy, what controversy!

— Tourism insurgents: “There’s more to Mount Airy than Mayberry.”

— Barbecue Confidential: “It’s so minimalist — dressed with only a little bit of vinegar, salt and pepper. It’s hard to argue with that.”

— But really, Mr. Bourdain, for an old-fashioned barbecue tempeh sandwich you still can’t beat Asheville.

Link dump’s research untouched by decline effect

— If Western North Carolina was so big on Unionism, why weren’t its legislators?

— 18th century “stone” dollhouse from defunct Old Salem Toy Museum blows away auction estimate.

— I hadn’t realized that Pearl Fryar, the topiary wizard (and movie star) of Bishopville, S.C., had such extensive roots in Clinton and Durham. And he’s appearing Jan. 29 in Greenville.

— “Site of the nation’s first student lunch counter sit-ins”: Baltimore?

— Making the case for “a Rutherford Platt Hayes Day in Asheville.”

— J.B. Rhine, father of the “decline effect”?

‘Imperishable symbol’ of U.S.-German friendship?

On this day in 1932: At Asheville’s Riverside Cemetery, F.W. Von Prittwitz, German ambassador to the United States, dedicates a monument to 18 German sailors who died of typhoid while imprisoned nearby during World War I.

“Germany is happy to find herself in the same line with the United States when she advocates disarmament. . . . ” Von Prittwitz tells the crowd of several thousand. “May this monument stand as an imperishable symbol of the friendship between our two peoples and a mark of our determination to maintain it for all future to come.”

In less than a decade, however, Germans and Americans will again be at war.

Link dump: Which way to CROATOAN, buddy row?

— Looking for the Lost Colony in all the wrong places?

— “Bear hunting highlights Asheville’s cultural divide”

— Who you calling “Buddy row“?

— How a Confederate veteran did right by five Union dead in Richmond County.

Neogenealogists eager to shepherd black sheep.

— Can Vollis Simpson “put Wilson on the map”?

Lucky Strike Means… Fine Public Schools?

“At the Asheville, N.C., City College last fortnight Dean Henry Dexter Learned gave students, including girls, permission to smoke in the college building between classes. An outraged Board of Education planned to oust Dr. Learned…. The Dean calmly explained: ‘If nobody smoked cigarets what would happen to the public school system of North Carolina? This is the biggest cigaret producing state in the Union.’

“The pedagogs did not heed this economic plea [and] voted to dismiss the Dean….”

— From Time magazine, Aug. 12, 1929

Kingsolver’s ‘perfect’ setting: ’40s Asheville

In addition to Mexico, why did you choose Asheville, North Carolina as a main location for this story?

“In the early months as I laid out the plot, I cast around for a setting for the U.S. portion of my story: a medium-sized city within a day’s drive of Washington, whose history I could research thoroughly.  My character would live there throughout the 1940s, so it would be ideal for me to find a city that had preserved a lot of architecture from that era, both public and private.  I would love to find intact neighborhoods, downtown blocks, grand old resorts, preserved WPA road systems and parks, all kinds of places where I could walk around and visualize my setting down to its finest details.  Asheville was perfect, just a couple of hours from where I live.

“Because it’s an old resort town, its history is very well documented in words and pictures.  The city’s unique story became its own contribution to the novel.  I discovered, for example, that in the summer of 1948 Asheville had the worst polio epidemic in the nation, putting the whole town under quarantine.  I learned this during my research and it became a key plot element, creating a perfect, claustrophobic backdrop to the suspenseful narrowing down of choices for my protagonist.  I love this fantastic synergy between discovery and creation, in writing historical fiction.  It feels like magic.”

— From an interview with Barbara Kingsolver about her historical novel “The Lacuna.”