The Changing Face of #68 Haywood Street







Harry’s Cadillac Pontiac Company, seen here on the right, is first listed at 68 Haywood Street in the 1938 Asheville City Directory. Harry Blomberg had opened Harry’s Motor Inns across the street in 1930, shown in this later view as Worth’s Fashion Mart, the present-day site of Pack Memorial Library. Mr. Blomberg chose his location well, as the north end of Haywood Street snagged the Battery Park and Vanderbilt Hotel tourist business. In the late 1920s, he had devised the idea of combining three services needed by automobile drivers of the time, fuel, service and repairs, and storage (most cars were open-topped).



View looking towards Haywood Street after the removal of the original Battery Park Hotel and the mountain it sat on.  The St. Lawrence Church is seen on left, the City Auditorium (1904-1937) in center right, and the back of the Christian Church in center. The Christian Church, moving from Church Street, built their new edifice on Haywood Street. It was formally opened February 10, 1901, and the congregation (now First Christian Church) met there until 1924, when they built a third church on Oak Street. Note the dwellings to the right of the church, and the absence of the Vanderbilt Hotel, which opened in 1924.



Rock Lodge, a boarding house at 68 Haywood Street, 1910. Note the original Battery Park Hotel in background.

And before Rock Lodge? I’m thinking farmland.

A former Ashevillian’s thoughts were recorded when he returned in 1938. He thought the most amazing transformation had been in the development of Haywood Street. He said, “Well I remember well when Jesse Yates’ grocery store was practically the only store on that street after you passed the Y.M.C.A.”  (Current site of the Woolworth’s building.) “There were men,” he continued, “who actually said they felt sorry for Jesse — wonder if he ever got down to wearing a hat? They said he was too far out from the business district.” In those days Patton Avenue was the “seat of Asheville’s business empire, and everybody believed that Mr. Yates had made a terrible mistake by going out into the Haywood wilderness.” Asheville Citizen May 12, 1938, History Files-65.

When we first discovered the Blomberg garage was going to be demolished, Nan Chase, local historian, author and Board member of the Friends of the North Carolina Room, Pack Memorial Library, had the idea during a board meeting to look at the site over time. Nan wrote the book Asheville: A History (2007).

Posted by Zoe Rhine, Librarian


  1. Very interesting photos. My how time flies.
    Thank you, Zoe.
    PS: Nan Chase’s history of Asheville is first-rate.

  2. Old information newly found: Rock Ledge Boarding house at 68 Haywood Street (as well as a house that was at #72) were constructed in 1896 by O.D. Revell and were razed by W.T. Duckworth in 1932 to make way for a new building. The lots were excavated and made level with the street. It was estimated that 6,000 yards of dirt were removed. “Old Houses To Be Razed Here” Asheville Citizen-Times, September 20, 1932.

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