In June, Four Guided History Walks in Hendersonville – Main Street, Oakdale Cemetery, 7th Avenue Historic Depot District, and – new this year – Murals, Mosaic, and Ghost Signs

(HENDERSONVILLE, NC, May 16, 2022) – Three popular guided history walks will be offered in June along with a new guided walk – Murals, Mosaic, and Ghost Signs. Hendersonville Guided History Walks offers 90-plus minute walks in various historic areas of town:  along Main Street (Friday, June 3, 10 a.m.), in Oakdale Cemetery (Friday, June 10, 10 a.m.), in the 7th Avenue Historic Depot District (Friday, June 17, 10 a.m.), and Murals, Mosaic, and Ghost Signs throughout the downtown area (Friday, June 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. Space is limited and reservations are requested.  Contact history walk leader Mary Jo Padgett at 828-545-3179 or email maryjo@maryjopadgett.com to make a reservation … or to arrange private tours for groups of 5 or more.  Visit the website at www.maryjopadgett.com and click on Guided Walks to see the entire schedule for 2022.

Main Street

On Friday, June 3, the walk will start at 10 a.m. at the front steps of City Hall, corner of Fifth Avenue E. and King St. Stroll along Historic Main Street with tour guide Mary Jo Padgett to answer such questions as -- 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 was the town named for, where was the Opera House, and learn about bordellos, shoot-outs, trolley lines, and stories of life in the old days on Chinquapin Hill. 

Oakdale Cemetery

            On Friday, June 10, the walk will begin at 10 a.m. in the cemetery on U.S. 64 W. This guided tour of Historic Oakdale Cemetery, Hendersonville’s municipal cemetery, whispers stories of the town’s early days and colorful citizens.  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 our 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 Friday, June 17, this walk starts at 10 a.m. at the front steps of City Hall, corner of Fifth Avenue E. and King St., then we’ll meander through the historic part of town encircling the Train Depot.  When the first steam locomotive arrived in Hendersonville on July 4, 1879, crammed with tourists and visitors from the low country of South Carolina, it was the beginning of an 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 Friday June 24, at 10 a.m., the walk begins in front of the Historic Courthouse on Main St. Along the side and back streets of downtown, strolling over to 7th Avenue and back along Main St., we’ll learn the stories behind more than 6 murals, a mosaic made with 250,000 small pieces of glass, and various ghost signs left from days gone by, hidden in plain sight.  

 “Locals and visitors alike can celebrate and share the interesting history, art, and architecture of Hendersonville,” Padgett said,  “For example, learn how the rich natural resources here – the local clay for brick, the hand-hewn foundation rocks from local quarries, and, in fact, the heritage carried from the earlier Cherokee lifestyle – have contributed to our lives today.”

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.  Private tours can be arranged anytime.

Hear stories about famous people, destructive fires, and more about this historic small-town gem in the mountains during Hendersonville Guided History Walks, June 3, 10, 17, and 24 at 10 a.m.

Hear stories about Hendersonville’s Gilded Age 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 June.