People Flocked to “Save Downtown Asheville & The Wrap”

The North Carolina Room, Pack Memorial Library kicked off with a full house the first of a six part series, “Asheville in the 1980s: A Formative Decade Told by Those Who Shaped It” on Wednesday evening April 27. The series is sponsored by the Friends of the North Carolina Room.


There was a current of excitement in the room as people gathered.

Barbara Sayer hugs Ellen Clarke, Patti Glazer in background.
Ann Von Brock, Ellen Clarke, and Benjamin Porter catch up. N.C. Room staff Ione Whitlock to right and Friends of NC Room board member Phyllis Lang in back.

Artist Jean Wall Penland, who designed one of the SDA buttons, and Nancy Orban, co-owner of High Tea on Wall Street in the late 70s early 80s.

The moderators for the program, Jan Schochet, Wayne Caldwell and Peggy Gardner, were joined by panelists Norma Price, and Larry Holt. The map on the screen shows the 11 acre area of downtown buildings that would have been demolished.





Norma Price served on Asheville City Council from 1977 through 1989. Larry Holt served as Deputy Director of the Housing Urban Development Office and inspected the buildings in the demolition area.

Guests who had first hand experience during this time were also on hand, especially to help answer questions from the audience. Special guests included Betty Lawrence, Leon Rocamora, Bob and Ellen Carr and Ed Hay.

Betty Lawrence
Leon Rockamora, Asheville Showcase

Ed Hay, Jr. later councilman and commissioner.
The panelists and special guests shared much history, insight (community and political), humor, and astute observations.


Panelist Larry Holt and Wayne Caldwell speaking with  Jack Thomson, Executive Director of the Preservation Society.

Jane Mathews and Pat Price

Dick Kowal, WCQS


Dana Irwin, John Quigley and Annette Brown talk; in the background, people enjoyed seeing the display of 1980s photographs and memorabilia on display.

Julie Niwinski, Head of Adult Services, Pack Memorial Library, talks with friends, Randee Goodstadt and Jo Hogan.
David Dry, Friends of the N.C. Room Board Member and instructor at A-B Tech., talking with Leslie McCrory.
 Many thanks to Buncombe County TV, for filming the event. A copy will be archived in the North Carolina Room, and within a few weeks we hope to have copies available to check out from the library’s local history video collection.

(BCTV at ttp://,)



For more detail on “Save Downtown Asheville and The Wrap” see last week’s post by clicking on the link.

If anyone would like further historical information, the Save Downtown Asheville Collection, MS216 is housed in the North Carolina Room.  Photographs of The Wrap can be viewed on our database

W also have the Asheville Downtown Commercial Complex Redevelopment Plan by the Housing Authority of the City of Asheville in Cooperation with City of Asheville, Division of Planning, September 8, 1981 which was the plan for this downtown mall complex. Ref. N.C. 307.34 ASH.

Photographs by Brenda Murphree.

Post by Zoe Rhine, Librarian.

The dates for the following programs in the series are:

May 25: Businesses, Restaurants and Food Stores
June 29: Social Activism & Social Agencies
July 27: Arts, Theater & Music
August 31: Downtown Housing & the State of Buildings
September 28: Politics and Civic Engagement

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