fbpx
Guided History Walks with Mary Jo Padgett: Murals, Mosaic, and Ghost Signs

Guided History Walks with Mary Jo Padgett: Murals, Mosaic, and Ghost Signs

Learn the stories behind more than 6 murals, a mosaic with 250,000 pieces of glass, and numerous ghost signs still barely hiding in plain sight. All in downtown. Meeting Place: in front of Historic Courthouse on Main Street.

All tours: $10 per person
age 10 and over. Children under 10 yrs. free with paying adult.
All walks – 90-plus-minutes — occur rain or shine.
Schedule a private tour for your group any time by appt.
Info: 828-545-3179, www.maryjopadgett.com

 

Guided History Walks with Mary Jo Padgett: 7th Ave./Historic Train Depot District

Guided History Walks with Mary Jo Padgett: 7th Ave./Historic Train Depot District

This district was where it was happening in the Gilded Age of Hendersonville. The train depot brought steam engines, and attracted drays, hustle, summer visitors, shoot-outs, candy stores. Meeting Place: Hendersonville City Hall, front steps (corner of 5th Ave. E. and King St.)

All tours: $10 per person
age 10 and over. Children under 10 yrs. free with paying adult.
All walks – 90-plus-minutes — occur rain or shine.
Schedule a private tour for your group any time by appt.
Info: 828-545-3179, www.maryjopadgett.com

Guided History Walks with Mary Jo Padgett: In Historic Oakdale Cemetery

Guided History Walks with Mary Jo Padgett: In Historic Oakdale Cemetery

Join along the pathways of Hendersonville’s Historic Oakdale Cemetery where the famous “Look Homeward Angel” statue is located. Among quiet, artistic grave markers discover Hendersonville’s past through lively stories of its Black, White, Jewish, and colorful citizens.
Meet: at the Cemetery, U.S. 64 W. at Valley St.

All tours: $10 per person
age 10 and over. Children under 10 yrs. free with paying adult.
All walks – 90-plus-minutes — occur rain or shine.
Schedule a private tour for your group any time by appt.
Info: 828-545-3179, www.maryjopadgett.com

 

 

Guided History Walks with Mary Jo Padgett: 7th Ave./Historic Train Depot District

Guided History Walk with Mary Jo Padgett: Walk on Historic Main Street

Be charmed and informed by Hendersonville’s history, architecture, and colorful stories. Learn how the town got its name, who donated the land, bordellos, the oldest block of buildings, amazing fires, trolley lines … and more. Meeting Place: Hendersonville City Hall, front steps (corner of 5th Ave. E. and King St.)

All tours: $10 per person
age 10 and over. Children under 10 yrs. free with paying adult.
All walks – 90-plus-minutes — occur rain or shine.
Schedule a private tour for your group any time by appt.
Info: 828-545-3179, www.maryjopadgett.com

Quirky Hendersonville: Interesting and Often-Overlooked Attractions

Quirky Hendersonville: Interesting and Often-Overlooked Attractions

Quirky Hendersonville: Interesting and Often-Overlooked Attractions

There are many well-known ways to enjoy a day exploring Hendersonville, North Carolina. But for those fascinated by quirky, overlooked, off-the-beaten-path attractions, here’s a list of interesting places and things that make the City of Four Seasons unique.

Thomas Wolfe’s “Look Homeward, Angel” Statue

One of the greatest novelists in American history was born and raised about 20 miles from Hendersonville in Asheville. As a boy, Thomas Wolfe was fascinated by the Italian marble statue of an angel displayed at his father’s funeral monuments shop. As an adult, Wolfe penned a detailed description of the angel in a short story titled “An Angel on the Porch,” which formed the basis for his famous novel, “Look Homeward, Angel,” in 1929.

The statue Wolfe admired as a boy was sold by his father in 1906 to a family in Hendersonville. It has stood ever since in Hendersonville’s Oakdale Cemetery, marking the grave of Margaret Bates Johnson, wife of the late Dr. H.F. Johnson, a minister and former president of Whitworth College in Brookhaven, Mississippi.

Wolfe’s father actually sold several marble angel monuments to families in the North Carolina mountains, and for many years after the book was published, debate raged as to whether the Hendersonville statue was indeed the inspiration for his novel. Literary historians researched the statues, which each had different characteristics, and determined in 1949 that the muse for the book was the Hendersonville statue. Oakdale Cemetery is located adjacent to U.S. 64 West, just a short distance from downtown. A wrought iron fence protects the statue, a few dozen yards from a state historical marker located on the side of the highway.

main-street-coffee

Woodmen of the World Memorial Water Fountain

An oft-overlooked water fountain, carved from white granite to resemble a tree stump, has stood near the corner of Second Avenue and Main Street since 1947. The beautiful fountain serves as a memorial to Joseph Cullen Root, a Massachusetts native who founded the Modern Woodmen of America in Lyons, Iowa, in 1883, and also founded the Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1890.

So why in the heck was a memorial to Root, known as one of America’s most prolific founders of fraternal societies, erected 34 years after his death in the Blue Ridge Mountain town of Hendersonville? As it turns out, it marks the approximate location of his untimely death.

Root traveled to Hendersonville from Omaha in December 1913 for a gathering of thousands of the Woodmen of the World in which 200 new members were to be initiated. Unfortunately, Root fell sick with a bronchial infection during his travels and was committed to a bed at the St. John’s Hotel on the corner of Second Avenue and Main Street, where he died on Christmas Eve 1913.

Thirty-four years later, members of the local camps of the Woodmen of the World dedicated the fountain in his memory. Inscribed on the fountain are the words “dum tacet clamat,” Latin for “though silent, he speaks.” The Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society was established by Root to make life insurance available to everyone, particularly families of hourly workers. The company, much like the water fountain dedicated to its founder, is still operational today.

main-street-coffee2

Local Depot is Home to One of the Nation’s Largest Model Railroads

At its peak, the historic Hendersonville Trail Depot (circa 1902) served as a stop for six passenger trains a day, boarding and discharging passengers from such distant cities as Cincinnati, Ohio, and Charleston, South Carolina. Passenger service ended in 1968. The depot sat empty for more than 20 years, until the Apple Valley Model Railroad Club received permission from the City of Hendersonville to move into the depot in 1992. Not only did the club likely save the depot from a wrecking ball, but it also filled the depot with one of the most impressive model railroad layouts in America.

Just like their heroes who, bit by bit, laid railroad tracks from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the members of the Apple Valley club continually added more and more track inside the depot until they achieved a replica of the entire railroad system in the mountains of Western North Carolina, complete with depots in places like Hickory, Marion, Asheville, Saluda and yes, Hendersonville. The depot is open, with free admission, every Wednesday and Saturday and has become a popular spot for railfans of all ages.

“There are a lot of great layouts around the country, and this is one of the larger ones,” says Larry Morton, former president of the Apple Valley Model Railroad Club. “The public is very complimentary. They tell us this is one of the best model railroad clubs they’ve seen anywhere in the country, and I seriously believe we are in the top 10 percent.”

boy watching model trains

Together, They Held the Record as the World’s Largest Twins

Identical twins Benny and Billy McCrary, born in Hendersonville in 1946, contracted measles at age 4, which damaged their pituitary glands and contributed to excessive weight gain. By age 10, then weighed 200 pounds each and eventually reached a combined weight of 1,598 pounds. A photographer for Life magazine snapped a photo of them riding minibikes one year during the N.C. Apple Festival parade in Hendersonville. This was a common occurrence as they loved their minibikes and often rode them in parades and at other celebrations. Someone with the Guiness Book of World Records saw the photo and that’s how they became world record holders as the heaviest twins.

During the peak of their fame in 1970s, the McCrary twins rode their Honda minibikes from New York to Los Angeles to appear on the “Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson. They became pro wrestlers, using the name the McGuire Twins, wrestling in the U.S. and overseas. Billy died in 1979 during a minibike stunt at Niagara Falls. Benny continued with other wrestling partners, including Andre the Giant, before easing into a life focused on golf and evangelism before passing away in 2001.

Their fame continues after their deaths, including scenes in the popular TV animation shows “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy.” They lived their entire lives in Hendersonville and are remembered with a three-ton, 13-foot-wide memorial at Crab Creek Baptist Church Cemetery that is believed to be the world’s largest gravestone, featuring two minibikes and “THE WORLD’S LARGEST TWINS” in capital letters. A national magazine included the twins’ gravesite in a 2005 article titled, “Hit the Road,” which featured 25 unusual tourist destinations across the United States.

hidden-trails-coffeehouse

Ukrainian Mosaic on Hendersonville’s Main Street

An interesting tie to Ukraine can be found at 318 North Main Street, at least for those willing to look up.

High on the façade of the Hands On! Children’s Museum building is an intricate and colorful tile mosaic. Titled “Nature in North Carolina,” the 18-foot square mosaic was created in 1993 by Ukrainian artists Vasily and Julia Polevoy, who fled Vasily’s homeland after being displaced in Ukraine by the Chernobyl nuclear plant meltdown and also suffering years of persecution in the Soviet Union for their religious and anti-Communist beliefs.

The Polevoys, who lived in Hendersonville for quite some time before relocating to South Carolina, hand-placed 250,000 small glass tiles to create the beautiful design, which depicts mountains, rivers and other aspects of nature. The glass in the tiles is known as “smalti,” a traditional mosaic material ordered in 116 colors for the project. At the time, the building was known as Rosdon Mall and the artwork was commissioned by the building’s owners, Rose and Don Gladieux.

The building eventually became home to the Hands On! Children’s Museum, Black Bear Coffee Co. and High Country Style. There was a brief uproar in 2018 when the museum released a rendering of its major expansion plans, and that rendering showed the Hands On! logo in place of the mosaic. However, locals were quickly relieved to learn the logo was placed in the rendering as an oversight and the mosaic was always intended to remain on the façade.

hidden-trails-coffeehouse

Many of our quirkiest attractions are right under your nose, hidden in plain sight. But these are just a starting point to explore all of the wonderful culture, arts, history and fun that Hendersonville has to offer.

boy watching model trains

Fiesta Hendersonville

Fiesta Hendersonville

Fiesta Hendersonville is a unique opportunity to experience the best of Latin American countries in downtown Hendersonville, Enjoy live music and dance, Feast on Latin American delicacies, such as pupusas from El Salvador, empanadas from Argentina, and chicharrones, esquites, and elotes from Mexico, and Browse both local art and the Latin marketplace of vendors, Free, Organized by Hola Carolina, Hendersonville Visitor Center Stage and South Main Street, Hendersonville, HolaCarolina.org

Saluda Train Tales

Saluda Train Tales

Saluda Train Tales is a free monthly event to educate the community of the importance of Saluda’s railroad history and the Saluda Grade, the steepest, standard gauge, mainline railroad in the US. Storytelling is the third Friday of the month at 7pm, March through December. These events are at the Saluda Historic Depot, 32 W Main Street, Saluda, NC 28773. We are pleased to start this monthly storytelling again after COVID on September 17, 2021 at 7pm with author, aeronautical engineer, piano tuner, Garland Goodwin remembering his tales of the railroad and people of Saluda and Polk County. “I have many fond memories of a childhood filled with railroading lore, fascinating for this youngster, who had become fearless instead of frightened,” says Garland. Door open at 6:30 and current COVID guidelines with be in effect.

Saluda Train Tales

Saluda Train Tales

Saluda Train Tales is a free monthly event to educate the community of the importance of Saluda’s railroad history and the Saluda Grade, the steepest, standard gauge, mainline railroad in the US. Storytelling is the third Friday of the month at 7pm, March through December. These events are at the Saluda Historic Depot, 32 W Main Street, Saluda, NC 28773. We are pleased to start this monthly storytelling again after COVID on September 17, 2021 at 7pm with author, aeronautical engineer, piano tuner, Garland Goodwin remembering his tales of the railroad and people of Saluda and Polk County. “I have many fond memories of a childhood filled with railroading lore, fascinating for this youngster, who had become fearless instead of frightened,” says Garland. Door open at 6:30 and current COVID guidelines with be in effect.

Saluda Train Tales

Saluda Train Tales

Saluda Train Tales is a free monthly event to educate the community of the importance of Saluda’s railroad history and the Saluda Grade, the steepest, standard gauge, mainline railroad in the US. Storytelling is the third Friday of the month at 7pm, March through December. These events are at the Saluda Historic Depot, 32 W Main Street, Saluda, NC 28773. We are pleased to start this monthly storytelling again after COVID on September 17, 2021 at 7pm with author, aeronautical engineer, piano tuner, Garland Goodwin remembering his tales of the railroad and people of Saluda and Polk County. “I have many fond memories of a childhood filled with railroading lore, fascinating for this youngster, who had become fearless instead of frightened,” says Garland. Door open at 6:30 and current COVID guidelines with be in effect.

My Favorites
Your favorites list is empty. Look for to add favorites to your list.