Guided History Walks in Hendersonville Continue

Guided History Walks in Hendersonville Continue on Saturdays in July  – Main Street, Oakdale Cemetery, 7th Avenue Historic Depot District –  and new this year – Murals, Mosaic, and Ghost Signs

(HENDERSONVILLE, NC, June 19, 2022) – Three popular guided history walks will be offered on Saturdays in July in Hendersonville along with a new guided walk – Murals, Mosaic, and Ghost Signs.  These 90-plus minute walks explore various historic areas of town:  along Main Street (Saturday, July 2 and 30, 10 a.m.), in Oakdale Cemetery (Saturday, July 9, 10 a.m.), in the 7th Avenue Historic Depot District (Saturday, July 16, 10 a.m.), and Murals, Mosaic, and Ghost Signs throughout the downtown area (Saturday, July 23, 10 a.m).  Cost for each tour is $10 per person 10 years and older.  Children under 10 are free with a paid adult. Space is limited and reservations are suggested.  Contact history walk leader Mary Jo Padgett at 828-545-3179 or email maryjo@maryjopadgett.com to make a reservation.  Private tours for groups can be arranged anytime.  Visit the website at www.maryjopadgett.com and click on Guided Walks to see the entire schedule for 2022.

Main Street

On Saturday, July 2 and 30, 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 9, 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 16, 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.

Murals, Mosaic, and Ghost Signs

            On Saturday July 23, at 10 a.m., the walk begins in front of the Historic Courthouse on Main St. Exploring along the side and back streets of downtown, including a stroll to 7th Avenue and back along Main St., we’ll learn the stories behind more than 6 murals, including some very new ones, a mosaic made with 250,000 small pieces of glass, and numerous ghost signs barely hiding in plain sight on old buildings. 

 “We’ll step back in time through the interesting history and architecture of Hendersonville,” Padgett said. “Hendersonville has its 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 maryjo@maryjopadgett.com.  Visit www.maryjopadgett.com and click on Guided Walks for a complete 2022 schedule. 

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, Saturday mornings in July 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.  Four different Hendersonville Guided History Walks are in July.