What a great series on old Asheville concerning events that were not long ago at all. Change is swift in this country. The latest trends are sometimes weekly and quarterly. We suggest that you publish the entire series of articles, “Looking Back 20 Years,” including the relevant letters to the editor. These articles, of course, […]
I’ve totally enjoyed the trip down memory lane in the last three issues of Mountain Xpress, and I’m grateful for having had the opportunity to be a small part of it back when. I know it’s always been a team effort at Mountain Xpress, but Jeff Fobes deserves mountains of credit for what he achieved […]
Love, love, love your “XX YEARS Anniversary Issue.” Living here since 1987 has indeed been a good ride, and the Greenline/Xpress has definitely figured into the mix. It’s so interesting and amusing to read the various takes from an assortment of writers, directors and outlaws. I particularly enjoyed reading Michael Plemmons’ story [“The Day Hazel Fobes […]
Given that everyone in Asheville seems to be marching to the beat of their own drum, how did we come together to form such a vibrant community? Are our individualistic tendencies a handicap, or have we learned to blend them into communal inspiration?
It’s no surprise that downtown Asheville was the birthplace of Mountain Xpress. In the 1990s, downtown was an incubator for alternative media and independent voices. I moved to an office on Battery Park Avenue in the spring of 1991 to launch a nonprofit called Citizens for Media Literacy, thanks to a grant from Julian Price, […]
In the 1980s, Asheville was a sleepy little town with not much going on — parking was free, there weren’t coffee shops on every corner, and few people were to be seen on the streets after dark. Not much going on culturally either, especially when it came to writing.
The early ’90s was an interesting time. So much work had been done in the ’80s, particularly by the city, trying to bring downtown back, but it was still pretty much a ghost town, particularly after 5 o’clock. The buildings on the corner where Malaprop’s and Mobilia are now had stood empty and boarded up for years.
Almost 25 years ago, I rode a Greyhound bus from Jackson, Miss., to Asheville with nothing but two suitcases of clothes and a plastic pink flamingo.
I moved to Asheville in 1973. Here’s some of what I remember: Most of downtown was boarded up.
Haywood Street was virtually empty two decades ago. In 1990, we (the members of Earth Guild) bought the old Bon Marché building. We renovated the Haywood Street level for Earth Guild, which we moved from its original location on Tingle Alley. We made our home on the top floor. In the mid-’90s, the second floor and basement level were renovated into office suites and, in 2002, the basement was redeveloped for the N.C. Stage Company. The building became a model for mixed use in downtown and spurred the redevelopment of many other buildings in its block and on adjacent blocks.
Downtown Asheville was largely boarded up in 1994 but starting to show signs of life. I had purchased my law office building on Church Street eight years earlier and was starting to see a decrease in uninvited overnight guests who “rested” in my parking lot or occasionally on the office front porch. Thankfully, my office staff witnessed fewer instances of drug dealing, and less evidence of prostitution and other criminal activity in the Church Street area by then.
I’ve always thought that the turning point for Asheville, especially downtown, was when the downtown Strouse-Greenberg mall project was voted down in November 1981.