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Old February 13th, 2014, 07:54 AM   #1
...wolf in cheap clothing
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More photos of Hendersonville, NC (USA) than are strictly necessary

So, there's this kid I work with... My job, in fact, is to take developmentally-disabled kids out into the community where we will hopefully be able to sit down and act civilized together. As such, I decided that one such kid might benefit from walking around town and learning to take photos and as it turns out, he has a pretty good eye. However, he took it a little too closely to heart when I told him, "When in doubt, tilt." When he tilts, he goes past the artistic effect and goes straight to vertigo, but that's okay... It's art.

He's also fond of road signs.

These are the results of wandering around Hendersonville over the past three months. Ignore the date stamp -- we can thank the kid for that too.

Also bear in mind that there will be more of these pictures as soon as the weather warms up. He likes walking and he likes taking pictures, and we plan to do more of both. But in the meantime...

We begin in the Hyman Heights Historic District.

Hendersonville was founded in 1848 to serve as the seat of Henderson County, which was born ten years prior to that. The region was the preferred place for Charlestonians to flee their malarial summers, and the summer colony of Flat Rock, just south of Hendersonville had been going strong since 1807. Once Henderson County, and Hendersonville, were established to serve the needs of the folks from Charleston, word spread and soon, people were pouring in to escape the suffocating Low Country heat. Because of that, Hendersonville is replete with dozens of old boarding houses like this one. Some still function as bed-and-breakfast inns, while others have become private homes.

Cry havoc, let slip the dogs of war.

This building, now an apartment building, was the hospital where my mom made her entrance into the world in 1948. My dad, by contrast, was born on a train as it passed through Morganton, NC, a couple of counties over, in 1946. According to my mom, only rich people went to the hospital to have babies in that time period in Southern Appalachia, and she suspects that the only reason she was born in a hospital is because my grandparents happened to be in town doing their weekly shopping when the blessed event hit.

Note that the hospital entrance is featured on the Hyman Heights neighborhood banner.

This photo brought to you by the kid.

It was a warmish December... This photo was taken before the polar vortex hit the area with temperatures below 0F.

Paw prints in concrete are fascinating no matter what your age or mental capacity.

And how we're downtown.

I almost like these utilitarian alleys that run parallel to Hendersonville's fancy Main Street more than Main Street itself.

Cry havoc, let slip the doors of dog.

When I was little, my world was tiny and Hendersonville seemed like a big city -- and Asheville, of course, seemed like a metropolis. I remember pestering my mom to take me downtown all the time and she often obliged. This building on the left seemed so impossibly modern and urban.

The alleys, Wall Street and Edwards Street, also seemed so "big-cityish."

I think that even today, it would seem terribly urban to have your balcony overlooking the alley.

While the alleys are the working guts of downtown, Main Street is the pretty face that the city puts on for the tourists.

I remember when they built this big bank -- a looming four stories!

The main attraction of the bank is their two-story clock.

Hendersonville recently completed a multi-million renovation of Main Street. All the old planters and trees were torn up and replaced by new trees, new seating areas, a hideous fountain, some statues and artwork, and these posh new grates.

This little balcony juts off the side of the old Skyland Hotel, which is now an apartment building. At a whopping six stories, the Skyland is Hendersonville's tallest building, and it's also quite bulky. It was another reason Hendersonville seemed like Manhattan to me when I was a little kid.

Historical tidbit: When F. Scott Fitzgerald wasn't getting hammered and drilling hookers at Asheville's Grove Park Inn (where his favorite room is preserved as he would have recognized it in the 1920's), he was getting hammered and drilling hookers here in Hendersonville's Skyland Hotel. The hotel also once hosted a state firefighter's convention that culminated in a drunken riot.

Other historical tidbit: According to local legend, Hendersonville made a name for itself during the Civil War by providing obliging ladies to both Confederate and Union soldiers for very reasonable prices.

I used to work at an office supply store in this building, which is currently undergoing renovation. The office supply store is long gone and good riddance to it -- that job was awful. The only highlight of the entire experience was getting to watch one of the most prominent businesswomen in Henderson County jimmy the snack machine when it wouldn't dispense her bag of Cracker Jack.

Like several of the pictures in this thread, this one was taken by the kid -- and it's one of the pictures that tells me he has a pretty good eye.

Gold-tinted glass! How modern!

The kid finds it endlessly amusing that this factory used to manufacture pantyhose. I imagine he would find it even funnier that my mother used to work at a tampon factory just north of the city limits.

This poorly-executed Greek Revival courthouse replaced Henderson County's neoclassical 1904 courthouse sometime in the mid-90's. The old courthouse is now used for county commission meetings and also houses a regional history museum.

All the municipal signs in Henderson County tend to be in English and Spanish. In Asheville, they tend to be in English, Spanish, and Russian.

Over the past twenty years, Hendersonville has made a few halfhearted stabs at new urbanism. That apartment building in the background is one of them. By and large, though, sprawl is the watchword in Henderson County. The last I checked the statistics, Henderson County was losing just a little more than a thousand acres of land a year to suburban sprawl.

When they were building the new courthouse, they made a mold of that statue atop the old one, so a bronze copy could be made and placed in the lobby. That's when we local residents found out just how damnably ugly that statue is. Bug-eyed, frog-faced, with two-inch long nipples that had to be ground down on the copy in the new courthouse. Also, she was pockmarked with bullet marks. As it turned out, a lawyer who had an office in a nearby professional building in the 1950's liked to use Lady Justice for target practice. He would shoot at her out of his office window.

This building, which now houses a jewelry store, once housed the Queen Theater. On one of our innumerable trips downtown, my mom and I went in here and asked to see what might be left of the old theater. We saw the auditorium, now used for storage, and the balcony where the Black people had to sit in the days of segregation. As I recall, both the white and Black sections were practically carpeted with very elderly wads of gum, long since ground into the floor and blackened by time and grit.

The Skyland Hotel, of course.

The godawful fountain that was one of the crowning achievements of all that Main Street renovation. Everyone hates it, and because of its uncanny resemblance to a large, rotten tooth, everyone has taken to calling it the "Mountain Molar."

This rusty metal apple tree honors the thousands of acres of orchards and farmland that have been converted to tract housing and strip malls in Henderson County.

And I leave you, for now, with the inexplicable little Japanese garden that decorates the front of the Hendersonville Housing Authority building.

Bring me the head of Strawberry Shortcake!!

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Old February 13th, 2014, 12:33 PM   #2
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Nice photos from nice city
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Old February 13th, 2014, 08:09 PM   #3
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So lovely, thank you guys for sharing!
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Old February 13th, 2014, 09:29 PM   #4
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Great, very nice photos from Hendersonville
Urban Showcase: Athens Kalamata Trikala Thessaloniki
Cityscapes: Paris Barcelona Dubai, U.A.E. Monte Carlo, Monaco
General photography: Castles of France - Chateau de France and, since May of '08: Greece!
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Old February 13th, 2014, 11:58 PM   #5
...wolf in cheap clothing
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Thank you all. Your comments are very much appreciated.
Bring me the head of Strawberry Shortcake!!
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Old February 16th, 2014, 12:52 AM   #6
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Beautiful pics. It's a very charming city.
Fluctuat nec mergitur



RIP Xavier.

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Old February 16th, 2014, 05:04 AM   #7
...wolf in cheap clothing
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Originally Posted by Greg95100 View Post
Beautiful pics. It's a very charming city.
It will look even better when I head out to take pictures of the nicer sides of town.
Bring me the head of Strawberry Shortcake!!
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Old February 17th, 2014, 01:47 AM   #8
Materially Yours
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nice residential houses and the place is kind of peaceful.
Smile! And Be Happy As Life Is Too Short To Spend In Being Sad.
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Old April 27th, 2014, 03:43 AM   #9
...wolf in cheap clothing
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So, the kid and I were out and about for a stroll today...

In no particular order, here is even more Hendersonville that you perhaps wanted to see.

Note those fancy Corinthian columns.

Remember those columns? They belong to a mansion called The Oaks, built in 1912. It has since been carved into several apartments. I can't even imagine having a house big enough that a dozen families can live in it once your children get so sick of squabbling over the inheritance that they just throw up their hands and sell the whole damn thing.

In a similar vein, a few blocks away is The Cedars, another mansion named after trees, which is today used as an event venue. One of my cousins got married here.

This shot brought to you by the kid.

The Cedars with some of its eponymous cedars.

The Cedars with its non-eponymous gazebo, a word that is nevertheless a great deal of fun to say: gazebo, gazebo, gazebo, gazebo.

When I was in my late teens, I lusted after these apartments, as well as those across the street. I wanted an "urban" lifestyle so bad I could taste it. The tragedy of the Asheville-Hendersonville area is that the national economy imploded just as this area started to reach a fever pitch of development. Developers from Florida were hellbent on turning this region into a "summer Miami," and all that such a notion entailed. Apartment buildings like this were going up all over Asheville, and even a handful in Hendersonville. There were grand hotels, shopping arcades, streetcars, casinos (yes, casinos -- in fact, my own neighborhood was supposed to have one as its centerpiece), and grids of mansions and bungalows springing up all over. Then, in 1929, it all ended. Perhaps the most glaring symbol of the collapse was a towering, 14-story hotel -- abandoned mid-construction -- that loomed over Hendersonville from its perch on Fleetwood Mountain for decades, until a developer bought it, leveled it, and built condos in its place.

Eventually, I did end up making friends with someone who lived in this apartment building and it was interesting to get to see what it looked like inside after so many years of wondering and lusting. Turns out, it looked rather dumpy on the inside, though... But you could sense the layers of lives lived there, accumulating with decades of misapplied furniture floor polish and consecutive layers of paint.

Note the little stream flowing there.

This picture brought to you by the kid.

This picture brought to you by the kid.

This picture brought to you by the kid.

Note the fruit in the basket. I'm pretty sure there are a couple of apples in there, which only makes sense. Before it cut almost all of its orchards down to accommodate suburban sprawl, Henderson County used to be a major producer of apples, a fact which the builder of this 1920's apartment building would have known.

And now, just for funsies, a couple of pictures I took in my neighborhood a month or two ago that just don't seem to fit in anywhere else.

Bring me the head of Strawberry Shortcake!!

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Old April 28th, 2014, 07:15 AM   #10
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it's nice sometimes to see how a small-mid size American city looks like.
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