Saved by the Preservation Society of Asheville and a philanthropic local attorney, its story reminds me again how important it is to preserve special buildings as well as important neighborhoods.
In the U.S., we have a short history, compared to many parts of the world. And it has resulted in that many of our communities have a short memory, too, although we have many lovely historic places in towns and cities throughout our country.
The sprawl of suburbia and urban strip malls are hardly compelling places to visit. Maybe they're a bit novel?
On a early Saturday morning walk downtown (in our mountain tourist town of Asheville, NC) not too long ago, a British couple, near the center of our booming downtown, asked where the pretty part of the city was.
I wasn't sure what to tell them as we were in the center of downtown Asheville -- with its Art Deco buildings along with modern ones. Uh, the Grove Arcade is that direction, I told them, pointing them towards an exceptional early 20th century building not that far from where we were.
So it was lovely to visit a historic house that's been lovingly renovated in an area of Asheville that's not protected by any historic designations.