The United States Weather Bureau in Asheville

A friend and loyal supporter of our HeardTell blog sent last week’s post on the Pack Square weather kiosk to Frank Quinlan, a retired professor from UNCA’s Atmospheric Sciences Department.

Mr. Quinlan, who was one of several people writing us back saying that the kiosk was new information to them, also sent us back one of our photographs in the North Carolina collection, marking the edge of the kiosk as well as the weather equipment that was then located on the top of the legal building.
1917 Red Cross meeting and send off of troops for W.W.I.
All of which made me want to document it all further. Information like this, visible information, is invaluable for helping to date photographs.
The United States Weather Bureau first established a station in Asheville in 1902 and it was first located in the Drhumor Building on Patton Avenue and Church Street. The Asheville Gazette in June of 1902 teased, “In another month or so Asheville will have a government weather bureau and then the world will be kept informed where the really fine weather is to be found.”
A Dr. R.M. Gedding was sent to Asheville to be in charge. Congressman James Montraville Moody of Waynesville was responsible for the establishment of a bureau here.  Previously residents had to rely on reports from the Charlotte or Raleigh bureaus which were totally inadequate for the mountain section. By 1904 the weather station was moved into the library building, the castellated building also seen in the above photo and in the postcard below.
A typical “weather report” preceding the Weather Bureau’s establishment in Asheville looked like this:
The following weather report appears to be the first published in The Asheville Gazette by the newly established Weather Bureau:
Asheville Daily Gazette, August 29, 1902
The Weather Bureau moved into the Legal Building around July, 1910 and it was there through 1929. A closer look at the weather equipment can be seen in this photo below. The weather kiosk is in view between Vance Monument and the band stand in the center of the square. At the time the weather kiosk was placed here in 1909, there were only 29 other U.S. cities that had one.
Circa 1920 photo showing “Welcome Home” banner at the Vance Monument by “War Camp Community Service”
 In 1930 the Weather Bureau moved into the new Federal Building on Otis Street.
*A note to researchers: Prior to these last two posts, we had very little, well, next to no, information on the weather bureau or the weather kiosk. Pack Memorial Library recently subscribed to Staff have found it to be one of the most helpful aids in researching early newspapers. It is available for use in the library if you would like to use it.
Post by Zoe Rhine, Librarian


  1. What an interesting post! I especially enjoyed the pictures of the Library, now the
    Asheville Art Museum. How Pack Square has changed! What is the wonderful brick
    building at the east end of the square?

    1. Bob, the wonderful brick building at the east end of the square was Asheville’s first city hall. It was built in 1892 and also housed the police and fire department and a large market where vendors set up. That tall turrett on the right originally had what looked like an inverted ice cream cone on it.

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