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Ellington in Asheville--a survey

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Oct 6, 2017.

Dave Minneman, heroic portrait

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Aug 25, 2017.

East Asheville history and sites

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Feb 27, 2017.



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Rob Neufeld's discussion was featured

Ellington in Asheville--a survey

The Douglas Ellington effect: An Appreciationby Rob NeufeldIMAGE: Douglas Ellington’s original drawing for a City Hall-County Courthouse Art Deco complex.            “Dear Douglas,” Kenneth Ellington wrote his brother, the 38-year old Pittsburgh architect, on May 6, 1925, “I know things are…See More
Jan 17
Rob Neufeld posted a blog post

Dom Flemons legendary musician at BRCC Jan 25

Dom Flemons, Grammy Award Winning Banjo Player, Jan. 25Dom Flemons, legendary banjo player and co-founder of the Carolina Chocolate Drops performs 7 p.m., January 25th, at Blue Ridge Community College’s Thomas Auditorium.The show is the latest “Keeping the Fires Burning” series, produced by The Center for Cultural Preservation to celebrates the heroes of Southern Appalachian culture.Dom awakened Americans to the rich African-American roots tradition that informed old-time and bluegrass…See More
Jan 17
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

African-American music in Asheville

Asheville's African-American music meccaby Rob NeufeldPHOTO CAPTION: The Outcasts, the state’s Battle of the Bands winner in 1979, included: (kneeling l to r) Edward Stout, saxophonist; Darriel Jones, drummer; (seated) Patricia McAfee, vocalist; (standing l to r) Marvin Seabrooks, trombonist; Mike Steele, saxophonist;…See More
Jan 15
Frank Thompson posted events
Jan 15
Connie Regan-Blake posted an event

Explore the Landscapes of Story & Telling in 6 Weekly Sessions at Lenoir Rhyne University Center for Graduate Studies Asheville

January 24, 2018 at 10am to February 28, 2018 at 12pm
Explore the Landscapes of Story & Telling in 6 SessionsIt’s winter and Connie Regan-Blake is excited to offer a new learning opportunity to warm-up your storytelling voice and creativity!  Join her in Asheville at Lenoir-Rhyne University (36 Montford Ave) on Wednesday mornings 10:00 am – 12:00pm for six story-work sessions.  This weekly format allows for your…See More
Jan 8
Susan Weinberg posted an event

Reading by Poet Anne Waldman at Table Rock Room 201B, Plemmons Student Union, AppState

March 22, 2018 from 7:30pm to 8:45pm
The Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series presents a reading by Poet ANNE WALDMAN. The author will also present a craft talk from 3:30-4:45 in the same location. Admission is free, and book sales and signing will follow each event. Parking is free on campus after 5 pm, with the parking deck at College & Howard streets recommended. For further details, check    Anne Waldman is a poet, performer,…See More
Jan 4
Julia Nunnally Duncan updated their profile
Dec 15, 2017
Spellbound posted an event

Lyndsay Eli with GUNSLINGER GIRL (YA Novel) at Spellbound Children's Bookshop

January 20, 2018 from 6pm to 7pm
Are you a fan of The Hunger Games?  Then picture what Katniss would be like - with a gun.  That's just a taste of the "new" West action Lyndsay Eli brings to Spellbound Children's Bookshop with Gunslinger Girl.  She shares her debut novel on Saturday, January 20, at 6 p.m. The US has been fractured by a Second Civil War. Serendipity 'Pity' Jones finds a home of sorts in the corrupt, lawless city of Cessation (think Las Vegas on steroids).  Her shooting skills make her a star of the Theater…See More
Nov 20, 2017
Rob Neufeld posted a blog post

Cherokee and WNC music and dance events

Two Big Cultural Events in December in Hendersonville & Ashevillefrom press releaseThe Center for Cultural Preservation, WNC’s cultural history and documentary film center, presents, Cherokee Music and Dance on Thursday, December 7, 7 p.m., Blue Ridge Community College’s Thomas Auditorium.  Tickets are $5. The screening of A Great American Tapestry will be held on December 2, 2 p.m., at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Reuter Center, UNC Asheville.  Tickets for that event are…See More
Nov 15, 2017
Spellbound posted events
Nov 9, 2017
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Battery Park Hill through the ages

Battery Park through the Years by Rob NeufeldPHOTO CAPTIONS: 1) Present-day view of Battery Park Apartments from…See More
Nov 6, 2017
Mark de Castrique posted a blog post
Oct 13, 2017
Rob Neufeld's discussion was featured

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
Oct 8, 2017
Julia Nunnally Duncan posted an event

Julia Nunnally Duncan at MACA Authors' Booth

October 14, 2017 from 9:30am to 1:30pm
Julia Nunnally Duncan will be signing her new books A Part of Me and A Place That Was Home at the Mountain Glory Festival in downtown Marion on Saturday, October 14, from 9:30-1:30. She will be located at the MACA Authors' booth on Main Street.See More
Oct 7, 2017
Rob Neufeld posted a blog post

Sample 8 Great Smokies Writers at Malaprop’s, Oct. 15

Writers in UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program (GSWP)read atMalaprop's Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood St., Asheville, 3 p.m., Sun.,Oct. 15 Elizabeth Lutyens, editor of the GSWP’s Great Smokies Review, leads the Prose Master Class and will host the reading. ·        Ellen Carr, who works in the financial industry, will read excerpts from her novel of uneasy relationships, Unmanned. ·        Sarah Carter, an artist and photographer who will publish an excerpt of her novel, Jolene, Joe-Pye,…See More
Oct 6, 2017
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Ellington in Asheville--a survey

The Douglas Ellington effect: An Appreciationby Rob NeufeldIMAGE: Douglas Ellington’s original drawing for a City Hall-County Courthouse Art Deco complex.            “Dear Douglas,” Kenneth Ellington wrote his brother, the 38-year old Pittsburgh architect, on May 6, 1925, “I know things are…See More
Oct 6, 2017

Sunburst, a logging village, harbored a community

by Rob Neufeld


            Benjamin Blaylock, age fourteen, was working in a field two miles south of Canton on a June day in 1907 when a flying rock hit him in the head and killed him.

            The rock had come from a blasting operation of the Pigeon River Railway. 

            Two years earlier, Champion Coated Paper Company president Peter Thomson had engaged local attorney George Smathers to buy timber tracts along the Upper Pigeon.  Log transport, it was determined, could not be accomplished by wagon or water.

            A road bed had to be carved through the mountains with dynamite.  Reuben Robertson, Thomson’s son-in-law, went with Smathers to get right-of-ways from property owners. 

            Captain Terrrell in Bethel demanded a fair price for lost property.  Captain Ledbetter, a corn distributor, feared losing his market, and refused to yield.  In his “Memories of Champion Fibre Company,” Robertson recalls having to use “the railroad right of eminent domain in order to cross (Ledbetter’s) property.”

            Difficulties in buying tracts in the Balsam Mountains led Champion to move Sunburst, its logging community, four miles downriver to a new location, called “bastard Sunburst” by some locals.  Here, for a dozen years, a model village served as the home for five hundred residents and the gathering place for workers coming from logging camps in the region.

            Author Charles Frazier’s grandfather, Andrew Frazier, left South Carolina to work at Sunburst, which had gone into full operation after the railroad had reached it in 1913.  Getting his mail at the Lavinia Post Office one day, he spotted the postmistress’ daughter, Jessie Inman.  “He decided right away he was going to marry her,” recounts Phyllis Inman Barnett in her book, At the Foot of Cold Mountain.

            The post office, one mile north of Sunburst, was near Inman’s Chapel, established by Jessie’s grandfather, James Anderson Inman, a Universalist preacher.

            Homes in the backwoods logging camps were modules moved around by trains.  In Sunburst, the buildings were permanent, and had indoor plumbing and electricity.

            Barnett’s mother and aunt were born in Sunburst.

            Dr. Sam Stringfield served Sunburst and the camps, pumping a speeder—a bicycle that ran on the rails—to get to injured loggers at any time of the night or day.

           Joe Gaddy gave bootleggers rides to a moonshining factory in Canada, Jackson County by driving a locomotive to Camp 19.

            Mrs. Georgie MacAfee, an African American resident of Sunburst, slept in the kitchen of her parents’ house, and got up at 6 a.m. to make way for the workers boarding upstairs, who wanted breakfast.

           Tink Gibson, a mentally disabled man, went around with a hammer in his pocket, and would hit you if he felt you insulted him.  He was afraid of water, and you could scare him away with a glass of it.  He made deliveries of mail and moonshine on request, and froze to death one night on a trip to Canada.

           The schoolhouse became so popular, Mrs. Frank Battles had to move her first grade class to a room under the town jail.  She kept an eye on her children in the yard to make sure they didn’t get run over by nearby train cars.

           Activity in Sunburst ceased after the clear-cutting of the mountains and a bad fire.  Champion flooded the abandoned buildings by building a dam to control water flow for its downriver mill.  The dam created Lake Logan, now the site of the Lake Logan Episcopal Center.



The information for this article was derived from At the Foot of Cold Mountain by Phyllis Inman Barnett (2008); Sonoma—Valley of the Moon: Sunburst by Hugh K. Terrell’s eight grade class, Bethel Junior High School (1978); and Past, Present, Future: How the Lake Logan Episcopal Center Came to Be.



Homes and buildings surround the log pond at the Sunburst mill and village in Haywood County, c. 1915.

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