Tuesday History: Headlines and advertisements from 100 years ago, today

GREETINGS FROM THE WEST: This postcard offers a view of Asheville from the west bank of the French Broad River. It features the West Asheville Bridge, since demolished. Photo courtesy of North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Public Library, Asheville, North Carolina

We thought it might be interesting to see what Asheville’s residents were reading about on this day, 100 years ago. Many of the headlines in the Wednesday morning, May 9, 1917 issue of The Asheville Citizen dealt with national and world affairs. America had only recently declared war against Germany, joining allied nations — Britain, France, and Russia — in the First World War on April 6, 1917.

The following are among The Asheville Citizen’s May 9, 1917 morning headlines: “Fresnoy is Again in German Hands After Hard Fight,” “Alliance Destined to Crush World’s Menace,” “Two Hundred Thousand Men Seeking Admission to the Officers’ Camps,” and “Submarines Reported in the South Atlantic.”

Advertisements were also featured in the paper. Bon Marche was promoting Neckwear: “Large Point End Sailor Collars of Organdy, Ratine, Georgette and Pique” were going for 50 cents to a $1.75. At 11 Patton Ave., M.V. Moore & Co. offered tailored wool suits half-price, $9.75 to $34.75. And at 15-17 Broadway, J.L. Smothers & Sons had “Coolmor Wind-Safe Porch Shades,” that sold for $3 to $9. The business noted: “For sleeping porches there is nothing so thoroughly satisfactory.”

Meanwhile, Zachary Development Company, located over Smith’s Drug tStore at Pack Square promoted “West Asheville Estates.” Below are some of the highlights from the column-length advertisement on page 10 of The Asheville Citizen’s morning paper, May 9, 1917:

Wake up to the fact that West Asheville is our most rapidly growing suburb, and that a rapid increase in values there is a certainty.

Buy these lots on our easy terms and lay aside a little money every month where it will grow; this investment is a safe, sure winner.

Our prices are very low and defy competition for equally well located and equally well improved lots. Only $350.00, $400.00, $450.00 and $500.00 and up to $675.00 (very few higher.) Can you beat it, unless you go into the woods, or fields, where improvement, i.e. public conveniences and utilities, will never come?

No improvement company in or about Asheville offers such easy terms as those upon which our lots are rapidly selling (no wonder), viz:

Only $10.00 to $25.00 cash and $7.80 per month, $8.12 per month, $9.16 per month, $10.10 per month etc., according to price of lot; absolutely without Interest and no Taxes until deed is due under the contract. No charge for improvements.

Bonds for title given at once upon signing application for purchase and receipt of the small cash payment.

Titles clean as a hound’s tooth. Now if you don’t buy it’s your own fault, for it is both easy and safe. Get into the real estate habit. Acquire an inheritance by your own provident economy and thrift.





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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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9 thoughts on “Tuesday History: Headlines and advertisements from 100 years ago, today

    • Phil Williams

      My Grandad worked for one of the contractors who tore down the old bridge – he said they had to use several charges of dynamite – like to have never got it torn down – I just barely remember it….the old bridge took a straight line across the River – the new one angles across with a slight curve on the east end where it crosses the rail yard. There used to be a steep curve in Haywood Road over to meet the West end of the old bridge, which was closer to the Burger Bar on present day Craven Street. There is a pic somewhere of the new bridge under construction and the big central arch of the old bridge lying to the side in the River.

  1. DreadT

    The West Asheville Bridge caption seems to be mislabeled as a view of East Asheville.

    • Phil Williams

      Well, it is the eastern bank of the River that is visible as the view is from the West Asheville end of the old bridge.

      • DreadT

        Dude, you can’t be serious. Eastern bank of the French Broad does not equal East Asheville. If that was true, then East Asheville would be west of Downtown Asheville. I was only noting the caption is misleading. “Looking east into Asheville” would be a better description and less confusing.

        • Phil Williams

          Sir, I am serious, but I wasn’t fussing at you. I was only observing that the view in the card is described accurately both in the card’s caption as well as the author’s note – it is a view of Asheville taken from the West bank of the French Broad. I didn’t see “East Asheville” mentioned anywhere in the caption. The old and new bridges did and do connect “West Asheville with Asheville, NC” just as the caption says. Didn’t intend to sound critical – just noting that it looked accurate to me – but then again, I grew up in WNC.

          • Billy Pilgrim

            The caption originally read “This postcard offers a view of East Asheville”, but has since been corrected by removing the word East, since obviously there are no views of East Asheville that you could experience from the bank of the French Broad River.

        • Phil Williams

          My apologies – I didn’t realize the article must have been corrected before I read it, as I never saw any references to “East” anywhere in the article.

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