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East Asheville history and sites

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Feb 27.

The German experience settling WNC 1 Reply

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History. Last reply by Scott Dockery Feb 16.

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Aim for Beauty

In honor of my blog Plant Whatever Brings You Joy's 10th Blogiversary I've posted a chapter from my book Plant Whatever Brings You Joy: Blessed Wisdom from the Garden. This particular chapter was also excerpted in Fairview's GreenPrints magazine, which was greatly appreciated. Read more here: http://plantwhateverbringsyoujoy.com/aim-for-beauty/…See More
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James Vestus Miller

­HISTORIC PHOTO James Vester Miller James Vester Miller had been a boy when his mother, a Rutherfordton slave, had responded to Emancipation by taking her three children to Asheville and getting a job as a cook in a boardinghouse—some say Julia Wolfe’s boardinghouse, Old Kentucky Home.  Growing up, Miller hung…See More
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Dave Minneman, heroic portrait

Dave Minneman and a sense of justiceby Rob NeufeldPHOTO CAPTION: Dave Minneman doing research at Pack Memorial Library.  Photo by author.            “One of the biggest things I did as a kid, in order to escape my father,” Asheville resident Dave Minneman says of his 1960s and 70s rural Indiana childhood, “was…See More
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Dellinger's Mill, Hawk, Mitchell County

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Tribute to Kathryn Stripling Byer at Jackson County Public Library, Sylva, NC

October 1, 2017 from 2pm to 4pm
On October 1, Sunday afternoon, 2 PM, at Jackson County  Library in the Community Room, NCWN and NCWN-West will honor the late Poet Laureate, Kathryn S. Byer . Everyone is invited to come. We will share her poetry and talk about her achievements and her legacy for writers and poets in NC. If Kay touched your life in some way, come and pay tribute to her. We all miss her and this is a way to share our mourning for losing her and show our appreciation for what she did for us. See More
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WRITERS CIRCLE IN SPRING

"On Saturday, September 9, 10:30 a.m., Richard Kraweic will teach a class at Writers Circle. He will teach how to organize a poetry book for publication. I know I need to learn that lesson. How about you?"
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WRITERS CIRCLE IN SPRING

"We have a memoir class going on now until the first Wednesday in September. Wish you could join us in a class at Writers Circle around the Table."
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East Asheville history and sites

A meaningful tour of East Asheville PHOTO CAPTION: View of Beverly Hills suburb, from a painting by Gibson Catlett that had once hung at subdivision offices.  Courtesy Special Collection, Ramsey Library, UNC Asheville.            I was walking in the Beverly Hills neighborhood the other day and noticed a few…See More
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Interview with Gail Godwin about Grief Cottage

Gail Godwin’s latest crosses a mental boundary by Rob Neufeld Asheville author Gail Godwin, now a Woodstock, NY resident, comes back home here Wed., June 14 to present her new novel, “Grief Cottage” at Malaprop’s Bookstore, 7 p.m. “Grief Cottage” is the story of an orphaned, sensitive, troubled boy, named…See More
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Julia Nunnally Duncan Poetrio reading at Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe

August 6, 2017 from 3pm to 4pm
Julia Nunnally Duncan will be a featured Poetrio poet at Malaprop's Bookstore/Café on Sunday, August 6, at 3 p.m. Julia will be reading from her new book A Part of Me. Fred Chappell says of A Part of Me: "Duncan's every reader will be reminded of some person, place, or time important to recall in a quiet hour."See More
Jul 28

Pamphlets and a diary reveal sanitarium life

by Rob Neufeld

 

PHOTO CAPTION: View of Asheville published in Dr. Gleitsmann’s 1870s advertisement for Mountain Sanitarium in Asheville

        “Asheville is famous for the coolness of its summers, the temperature of 90° being recorded only once in the whole period of eight years,” Dr. Joseph William Gleitsmann told the American Public Health Association in Baltimore in 1875, probably in a pretty strong German accent, since he had emigrated to Baltimore in 1871.

            The talk was published in “The Philadelphia Medical and Surgical Reporter” and then in a Sherwood & Co. reprint.

            Germans were leaders in the field of pulmonary diseases.  Robert Koch, Gleitsmann’s contemporary, would discover the bacterial agent of tuberculosis in 1881.  The first sanatorium for sufferers had been established in Görbersdorf, Germany in 1854, 2,133 feet above sea level.  That’s nearly the same as Asheville’s elevation, 2,150.

            Gleitsmann continued singing Asheville’s praises in his address.  The daily temperature here, he said, varied over 40° only once over a two-year period—only once in the two years he tracked it, 1874-1875—whereas in Colorado Springs, that happened 33 times.

            The best cure, he and other scientists believed, was having patients rest outdoors in the fresh air where the air pressure was low enough to help the heart irrigate the lungs.

            He wasn’t the first to ballyhoo this region’s climate.  E.J. Aston, realtor and Asheville’s future mayor, teamed up with Dr. Horatio Page Gatchell, founder, in 1871, of Asheville’s first tuberculosis sanatorium (located in present-day Kenilworth) to publish, “Western North Carolina—Its Agricultural Resources, Mineral Wealth, Climate, Salubrity, and Scenery.” 

            The pamphlet claimed that the air pressure in Asheville matched that inside people’s veins; and that the pine-scented air was restorative.

 

Magic Mountain

 

            In 1875, at age 34, Gleitsmann established Mountain Sanatarium on North Main Street (site of the vacant lot to the right of Tressa’s on Broadway).

            Gleitsmann’s place, writes Katherine Ott, author of “Fevered Lives,” was patterned after “the sort most fully developed at Davos, Switzerland, which Thomas Mann made famous in ‘The Magic Mountain.’”

            “Every consideration,” Gleitsmann advertised, “is given to all those agencies that are conducive to the restoration of health, and form a part of the treatment. The patients are supplied with rich, nutritious diet, suitable to their condition. Provisions are made for pleasant indoor entertainments, whilst the highly picturesque scenery gives ample inducement for outdoor exercise.”

            Board, including light, fire and nurse, was $10 to $12 a week.

            For five years, Gleitsmann treated 25 patients a day, the “New Charlotte Medical Journal” reported.  Most came from parts distant—in the winter from the north; and in the summer, from the south.

            Then, in 1880, the doctor had trouble finding a place to house his facility.  The Carolina House, a hotel run by W.P. Blair, took over Gleitsmann’s space; and Gleitsmann spent a year in the Eagle Hotel, trying to lease the Woodfin House, before giving up and moving to New York.

 

Young wife’s diary

 

            One of the patients staying at Mountain Sanitarium was Julia A. Ryder Bayles, the 28-year-old, married daughter of a Dennis, Massachusetts sea captain.

            “I am happy to say that I am feeling very much better than when I came here,” she wrote in a Jan. 26, 1877 letter found in her diary (sold on eBay in 2014).

            “To tell the truth there are times when I feel as if there was nothing the matter,” she continued. “My general health is good. Appetite good and I retain the flesh I have gained. Today has been a perfect day. Just like our weather in May. I have been out nearly all day.”

            After breakfast, she and other boarders walked to Beaucatcher Mountain, and did not return until 1 p.m.  After dinner, the group went out for another walk.

            “Fifteen years ago a consumption was regarded as incurable in this country,” she tells her grandparents, “but there was a sanitarium in Russia for consumption under the charge of a German physician and out of 900 patients who had been there, only 78 died with consumption.”

            Julia expected to be home in May, but thought she might have to spend another winter.

            In the meantime, she socialized with the gentility in the area, the Woodfins, Chunns, Chapmans, and the Martins (General James Green Martin’s family).

            She played croquet; went on more outings—to Elk Mountain and Alexander’s Inn, for instance; rode on horses and in carriages; and attended entertainments, such as at the Eagle Hotel.

            In mid-May, Julia got leave to visit her family.  She met her husband, Frank, in D.C., where she got to see President and Mrs. Hayes; and then went to New York (where she and Frank had a place on Long Island), before returning to Asheville in August, at first staying with the Chunns.

            “Took a walk with Charlie Chunn, up to the sanitarium,” she wrote on Aug. 19.  “In the evening had singing in the parlor and sat up quite late.  Clara gave me a bath.”

            It had been on July 10, 1876 that Julia had experienced a “hemorrhage from her lungs.”   There must have been a recurrence, for she ended up back in the sanitarium, and she died on July 21, 1878.

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