Cornice For Your Thoughts
Publisher announces the release of "Look Up Asheville II" in March
Cover design by Michele Scheve
In the first Look Up Asheville -- a rich volume exploring Asheville's historic architecture, photographed by Michael Oppenheim with essays by Laura Hope-Gill -- we saw many of the usual suspects. And highly deserving suspects they were, including the Grove Park Inn, BIltmore Estate and such Art Deco masterpieces as City Hall and the S&W Cafeteria building.
Volume II, to be released next month by local publisher Grateful Steps, takes a somewhat different turn, entering some of Asheville's oldest churches and pausing for a long spell in the storied Montford neighborhood. The Hopkins Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church, St. Matthias Episcopal Church, St. Mary's Catholic Church, and Congregation Beth Ha Tephila are among the houses of worship explored. Master stonemason James Vester Miller, who was born a slave in Rutherfordton and eventually opened his own construction company, is the artistic genius behind Hopkins Chapel and most of Asheville's other historic African-American churches.
"Hopkins is really beautiful," remarks photographer Michael Oppenheim. "It's one I would recommend everyone should see, and see up close."
In Montford, Oppenheim and Hope-Gill explore a hat trick of bed-and-breakfasts -- The Lion & The Rose, 1900 Inn on Montford, and Black Walnut -- before heading down to Zillicoa Street, an inevitable stop for any lover of local history. Or just vivid history. Nina Simone took piano lessons at the castle-like Homewood building, built in 1906. And the Queen Anne mansion known as the Rumbaugh House is a portion of the hospital complex that once housed Zelda Fitzgerald. The adjoining plot, where she perished in a fire, is marked with a memorial stone. Such fascinating context is treated with due diligence via the narratives of Hope-Gill, our current Blue Ridge Parkway Poet Laureate.
Back in downtown proper, we see a new view of Wick & Greene, a jeweler's shop housed in a small Art Deco structure. "It used to be a gas station," marvels Oppenheim, offering plenty more fuel for thought.
Look Up Asheville II will be distributed at Grateful Steps, at the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center, Grove Park Inn, Accent on Books, Malaprops Bookstore, and numerous other local venues. See www.gratefulsteps.com for more information.