Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Grove Arcade Building - Asheville

The 1920s saw numerous new buildings pop up in Asheville, as the city grew into an urban center.  Buildings like the S & W Cafeteria, the Kress Building, Asheville City Building, and others that part of the downtown's unique landscape all were completed during this time frame.  One of the most notable is the Grove Arcade which takes up a full city block between O'Henry and Page Avenues.

The Grove Arcade is the brainchild of E.W. Grove, who is the founder of the Grove Park Inn.  He wanted Asheville to have a strong and successful downtown and saw that his arcade would be one of the centerpieces of that downtown.  Grove hired local architect Charles Parker to design it.  The grand plans for the building was to have a five story base supporting a 14 story office tower.  The design would be home to shops, offices, apartments, and more.

Unfortunately two events caused Grove's larger dream to not become reality.  First, Grove passed away in 1927.  After a brief pause, Walter Taylor continued with the construction of the base.  The second item that halted further construction of the building was the Great Depression.  Though the Depression halted any vertical expansion of the Arcade, inside it was one of the busiest places within the city.  As throughout the 1930s, a wide variety of shops from specialty groceries, bookstores, barber shops and more filled the first floor with offices located on the upper levels.

The 1940s saw a dramatic change to the Arcade, as part of the World War II effort, the federal government took over the building.  In one month's time, all businesses and offices were evicted.  In total, 74 businesses and 127 offices left the Arcade. (1)  After the war, the building remained under the ownership of the federal government and became home to the National Weather Record Center which would later be renamed the National Climatic Data Center.  The NCDC would be the main occupant of the Arcade until 1995.


During the 1980s, while the federal government considered plans to expand and renovate the building, local citizens and leaders began to push back wishing that the Arcade retain its architectural design and return to its former use as a civic market and office complex.  In 1985, a Mayor's Task Force was formed to achieve those goals.  In time, the Grove Arcade Public Market Foundation was formed, and in 1997, the City of Asheville gained title to Grove Arcade and signed a 198 year lease with the foundation. (1)

Renovations to restore the Arcade to its original grandeur and purpose began immediately.  Five years later, in 2002, the Arcade reopened as a civic center home to numerous restaurants, shops, specialty food vendors, offices, and apartments.

The Tudor / Late Gothic Revival building features many intricate details.  On the North end of the building, Palladin style winged lions adorn that entrance.  This grand entrance was in front of the Battery Park Hotel and was designed as such to entice tourists to visit and shop.

Throughout the exterior, 88 gargoyles can be found.  Some even function as downspouts.  Located along the exterior parapet are heart shape symbols.  The Arcade was and is now considered the 'heart' of Asheville - and the heart is actually a floral symbol of an ivy leaf which was seen as a symbol of eternal love during medieval times. (2)

The Grove Arcade was a vibrant symbol of a growing downtown in the 1920s.  After over five decades of service to the US Government, the Arcade once again became the heart of Downtown Asheville.  Though the Arcade may not have reached its original lofty goals, the City's perseverance and dedication to return this storied building to its original grandeur allowed the Grove Arcade to not skip a beat nearly 90 years after it was first constructed.

All photos taken by post author - June 7, 2008.

How to Get There:


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Monday, February 19, 2018

S & W Building - Asheville

Downtown Asheville is home to many beautiful and historic buildings.  The S & W Building at the intersection of Patton Avenue and Haywood Street is certainly one of them.  Built in 1929, this gorgeous Art Deco style building was home to the S & W Cafeteria for over 40 years.  During the company's 70 year history, S & W Cafeterias offered southern-style food in many cities throughout the southeast.

The three story building is one of the best preserved examples of Art Deco design within North Carolina and certainly is one of the more attractive buildings in Asheville.  The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.  The S & W Cafeteria moved to a suburban mall in 1974, where it would operate until closing in 1981.  After a second cafeteria, Dale's, failed in the mid-1970s, the building sat idle until Walter Ploeger, Jr. of Arden began an extensive renovation effort in 1983. (1)
The building has seen numerous tenants come and go in the years since the renovations.  An event catering company, another run at a cafeteria, and numerous restaurants all called the S & W Building home at one point or another.  Recently, a new venture called S & W Artisanal has opened within the building.  The S & W Artisanal Eatery features a Greek Cafe and Market, a fine dining restaurant, bakery, coffee and cocktail bars, and private event/dining space.  The Eatery opened in January 2018.

How to get there:


All photos taken by post author: June 7, 2008.

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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Social Plains

Social Plains is located in the southern-most tip of Franklin County.  It is an unincorporated community that is also not listed in the Gazetteer.  It is possibly named after the Baptist Church shown in the picture.

Rocky Cross

Rocky Cross is an unincorporated community in Southwestern Nash County.  The community is not listed in the Gazetteer and may possibly be a crossroads named after the nearby church.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Burgaw Walkabout

Whether it is for the annual Blueberry Festival or as a setting for numerous television shows and movies, the Pender County Seat of Burgaw is one of the more popular small towns in Southeastern North Carolina.

When Pender County was carved out of New Hanover County in 1875, a new town was laid out for the County Seat.  The General Assembly had stated that the County Seat be named Cowan.  Cowan was never used as two years later another act by the General Assembly decreed that the town should be call Stanford.  However, Burgaw was preferred by local residents as the Wilmigton & Weldon Railroad had a nearby station called 'Burgaw Depot'. (1) In 1879, the General Assembly passed another act officially changing the name and incorporating the town as Burgaw.  Burgaw Creek had seen earlier spellings of Bargaw and Bergaw before the establishment of Burgaw Plantation in 1764.


Burgaw Depot was built by the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad in 1850 and still stands today.  Additions in 1898 and 1917 added passenger waiting rooms, offices, and a freight warehouse.   The depot is oldest of two surviving antebellum railroad stations in North Carolina (the other is located in Selma).  The depot was heavily renovated in 2009 and is now home to a railroad museum, the chamber of commerce, an event center, and even a shared-use commercial kitchen.  The depot was added the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.


One of the more notable locations in Burgaw's downtown is Harrell's Department Store.  Harrell's is a rarity in most of small town America today, an independent family owned and operated department store.  In 1903, Chauncey Harrell and his sons began operation of the store. Today, the store specializes in men's and women's clothing and accessories along with various home goods and appliances.  
Burgaw has gained wide notoriety as a result of being a filming location for several movies and TV shows. Movies such as Silver Bullet, Idlewild, and Tammy were filmed here.  Television shows like Under the Dome, Revolution and One Tree Hill also show numerous scenes here.  It is very possible that you may see some filming underway when you visit Burgaw.

One of Burgaw's biggest annual attractions is the North Carolina Blueberry Festival.  Held annually the third weekend of June, the festival brings over 30,000 visitors to town.  The festival features a 5k run, a non competitive bike ride called the Tour de Blueberry, a BBQ cook off, car show, live music and of course judging of the best blueberry recipes.

Burgaw is located just off of Interstate 40 at Exit 398.  It's about 25 miles north of Wilmington and well worth the visit.


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Hallsboro and Pierce & Company


Hallsboro, originally uploaded by Adam's Journey.
Hallsboro is named after the Hall family that first settled here in 1888 and was incorporated a year later.  It is now an unincorporated community.  Pierce & Company, a general store in business since 1898, operates here.
Pierce & Company is a genuine throwback to the old general merchandise store.  And of course, you can purchase homemade sausage here.  It was founded by Henry Wyche, S. Worth Pierce, Vance Pierce, and James E. Thompson in the community of Redbug in 1898.  They opened the Hallsboro location in 1908.   In addition to Redbug and Hallsboro, the company also once had locations in Acme, Delco, and Freeman. (1)

The Redbug store would close in the early 1960s.  The Delco, Freeman and Acme stores would all close by 1985. (1)
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Friday, January 19, 2018

McCollum and Lee Garage and General Merchandise


Located at the intersection of SC Highway 34 and A.W. "Red" Bethea Road in rural Dillon County, South Carolina is the former McCollum and Lee Garage.  It also appears that it was once called The White Hat Trading Center and had a general store along with tow truck service.   Seems like this place had a little bit of everything at one time or the other!

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