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 […]
Ask anyone who’s lived or worked in Asheville since the ’80s or ’90s, and you’re likely to get a different answer. We offer some responses in this week’s retrospective, such as: • We faced key challenges from within local government. • We fought city hall. • We protected the environment. • We stood up for […]
The ‘90s in Asheville were definitely a decade of activism — of all sorts. One of the earliest projects was the revitalization of downtown, which took courageous leadership. The Green Line (precursor of Mountain Xpress) was publishing; Asheville-Buncombe Discovery was promoting downtown; the LGBT community was awakening; the environmental movement was fighting back with protests and demonstrations. I was involved in several of these activities, so know of them first-hand.
Downtown Asheville in the 1990s had a small-town America feel reminiscent of my own rural upbringing. You could count the chain stores on one hand, and quirky, lost-in-time businesses seemingly held dark, mysterious secrets ripped from the pages of a Southern Gothic novel.
I’d often arrive to open the building and have to step over a homeless man, curled up with his bottle, in the entrance vestibule.
From the level of scrutiny this project received, you’d have thought we were planning a neurosurgery facility instead of just a metal shell on a concrete pad in an industrial zone.
In late 1976, Asheville was quiet and downtown was mostly boarded up. We lived in Swannanoa and I got involved with the folks trying to close the Chemtronics plant. That was the start of my political activism.
A year ago, I happened upon a young father with his wife, two children and in-laws on the sidewalk on the corner at the Haywood Park Hotel. Standing behind them, I heard him share the history of the Flatiron Building. He pointed as he explained and they looked up in fascination.
The Mountain Xpress was born in a decade — the 1990s — that produced major challenges new to Asheville and Buncombe County. First challenge: Two large construction projects — a new jail and landfill — had been neglected because of their cost and unpopularity. Second challenge: A new source of drinking water was needed to […]