Asheville’s Charlotte Street is dear to my heart and an intrinsic part of my life. I grew up at 392 Charlotte St., the home of my late parents, Henry and Marie Colton. (My parents lived in that house for 51 years.)
Later, I spent 35 years in Charleston, S.C., returning to WNC about 10 years ago. While living in Charleston, I served a while as president of the Preservation Society. I mention this because The Preservation Society of Charleston was founded (in the 1920s) to prevent demolition of old houses. The reason given during that period for destroying most houses was that they had become totally uninhabitable and beyond repair. (Does this sound familiar?)
The interiors of many of the Charleston houses had been divided up into tiny little living units, literally slums. Among the buildings eventually saved from bulldozers was a group of 13 houses (as is the number of the Charlotte Street project slated for demolition). That particular group of East Bay houses was saved and is today probably the most iconic grouping of houses in the city of Charleston. It’s now called Rainbow Row; anybody who has visited Charleston or has simply seen pictures of Charleston would immediately recognize Rainbow Row.
However, a hundred years ago, they were slated for demolition with much the same rationale that the Killian/RCG developers are using to destroy historic houses (and mature, old-growth trees) for their Charlotte Street project.
Surely, Mr. Killian can find a more sensitive way to divest himself of this property. I am 1,000% in favor of mixed use, but not the needless destruction of land and history, only to be replaced by a traffic-clogging, mediocre, Anywhere USA development.
— Marie Colton Woodard