Guided History Walks in Hendersonville – Main Street, Oakdale Cemetery, and 7th Avenue Historic Depot District

Mary Jo Padgett 

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NEWS RELEASE                            Contact:  Mary Jo Padgett, tour leader,



Guided History Walks in Hendersonville – Main Street, Oakdale Cemetery, and 7th Avenue Historic Depot District – Continue in July 

(HENDERSONVILLE, NC, June 29, 2021) – Three popular guided history walks will be offered on Saturdays in July in Hendersonville.  These 90-plus minute walks explore three historic areas of town:  along Main Street (Saturday, July 10, 10 a.m.), in Oakdale Cemetery (Saturday, July 17, 10 a.m.), and in the 7th Avenue Historic Depot District (Saturday, July 24, 10 a.m.).  Cost for each tour is $10 per person 10 years and older.  Children under 10 are free with a paid adult. Appropriate guidelines for safety and health will be practiced, space is limited and reservations are required.  Contact history walk leader Mary Jo Padgett at 828-545-3179 or email to make a reservation.  Private tours for groups can be arranged anytime.  Visit the website at and click on Guided Walks to see the entire schedule for 2021.

Main Street

On Saturday, July 10, the Historic Main Street walk will start at 10 a.m. at the front steps of City Hall, corner of Fifth Avenue E. and King St. Tour guide Mary Jo Padgett will describe who donated the land where the new town would be built, what is the age of the oldest block of buildings, what was on the third floor (and in the basement) of the old City Hall, who the town was named for, where the old Opera House was located, and participants will learn about Main Street’s bordellos, shoot-outs, trolley lines, and other stories of life in the old days on Chinquapin Hill. 

Oakdale Cemetery

            On Saturday, July 17, the walk through Historic Oakdale Cemetery will begin at 10 a.m. in the cemetery on U.S. 64 W.  Oakdale is Hendersonville’s municipal cemetery, and most of the town’s early residents and colorful citizens are buried here.  The famous Italian marble monument which inspired the title of Thomas Wolfe’s novel Look Homeward, Angel is in Oakdale, along with both marked and unmarked graves of historic figures.  The heritage of the African-American community is told in the Black section of the cemetery, while the designated Jewish cemetery reveals how the town grew to embrace ethnic and religious groups through the years.  How and why the cemetery was established in 1883, names of those who helped build the town and where they were laid to rest, where the Sunshine Lady is buried, and more questions will be answered. 

7th Avenue/Historic Depot District

            On Saturday, July 24, the walk around the 7th Avenue and Historic Train Depot district will start at 10 a.m. at the front steps of City Hall, corner of Fifth Avenue E. and King St.  From there participants stroll toward the depot, where the first steam locomotive arrived in Hendersonville on July 4, 1879, crammed with tourists and visitors from the low country of South Carolina.  The neighborhood around the depot grew to become the commercial district during the exciting era of big-band music, dancing, numerous inns and hotels, much real estate trading, and huge agricultural growth.  Money was made and lost, famous musicians and sports figures came calling, delicious food was enjoyed at every inn and boarding house … Hendersonville was in its hey-day from that moment until the financial crash of 1929. This neighborhood boasted many businesses run by Black and white owners.  We’ll hear the details. 

 “We’ll step back in time through the interesting history and architecture of Hendersonville,” Padgett said. “Hendersonville has it’s own unique culture and spirit, which actually began with the lifestyle of the Native Americans, grew into a farming area due to fertile soil, and blossomed as a popular destination during the heyday of railroads. Our lives here today are influenced by all of that.”

Padgett served on Hendersonville City Council for eight years, is a journalist and public relations consultant, was co-founder and former executive director of ECO, was associate editor at The Mother Earth News magazine, and conducts programs and guided tours in Paris, France, on the American Revolution.  Her parents spent their honeymoon in the Skyland Hotel on Main Street.  She grew up on a farm in Rutherford County, and has lived in a 100-year-old house in downtown Hendersonville for 40 years.

To make reservations or for more information, contact Padgett at 828-545-3179 or email  Visit and click on Guided Walks for a complete 2021 schedule.           # # #

(photos below)


This marker is hidden in plain sight on Main Street … learn more about it and our historic small-town gem in the mountains during Hendersonville Guided History Walks, July 10, 17, and 24 at 10 a.m.



Hendersonville was a popular destination with the coming of the railroad and well-to-do tourists.  The Wheeler Hotel was one of the fancy inns located in the 7th Avenue/Historic Depot District.  Hendersonville Guided History Walks are in July.