North Asheville: Get Those Photographs Out of Your Attics!

North Carolina Room staff and volunteers are coming to North Branch Library

Saturday, September 9th from 11 am to 4 pm to scan your photographs. 

Your photographs will be digitally archived and added to the North Carolina Room’s Photograph Collection, AND become a permanent part of Asheville’s history.

Leslie Atkins Stradley family. Left to right: Florence Stradley, daughter George Stradley (McFarland,) B. 1933, father Leslie A. Stradley holding baby Leslie B. Stradley, and son Francis Stradley B. 1935. Photo taken circa 1949 and loaned for scanning by the family, June 2017.

The North Asheville History Project 2017 presently contains over 30 oral interviews and transcriptions. We have gained lots of wonderful stories and documented many North Asheville businesses and homes.

What are we looking for?

Photographs exactly like the one above. And the ones below, all brought to us on the April 19 scanning day.

Photograph showing the construction of Beaverdam Run, 1987. One of 30 photos loaned to us for scanning by Tony and Mary Beth Mackley in April 2017. MS338.005E.

During our previous North Asheville Scanning Day,  Cissy Dendy came walking into North Branch with a very large bag of family photographs. Our mouths dropped open in anticipation. This is a photo of Cissy’s father, John Brooks Dendy, who began work at a very early age as a caddy at the Asheville Country Club and fell in love with the game. He went on to become a black golf champion in the 1930s. Dendy is walking down Haywood Street towards Patton at the Paragon Building which housed Wilkins’ Corner Confectionery, circa 1940s.

John and Marge Dendy lived in this house at 45 Madison Avenue where Cissy grew up and now lives.

Ed Sheary, former Director of Buncombe Public Libraries brought us in a photo of the house he grew up in at 37 Melrose; his parents were Frank and Margaret Sheary. Frank Sheary later put aluminum siding over the stucco exterior.


In 1968 the Pappas and Sheary families took a trip together to Florida. L to R: Frank and Margaret, then Mary and Gus Pappas with their two girls, Litsa and Penny in Daytona Beach, Florida. The Pappas family lived next door at 35 Melrose and opened Grace Restaurant in 1955.


A lot of our new information has come from following up on something mentioned in an interview. Susan Jones Waldrup, who grew up in two different houses, one on each end of Edgewood Road, started recalling her childhood. “And, gosh, Merrimon Avenue. I remember there was A&W Root Beer, the Curb, and then there was Homer’s Gas Station, which is I believe the bank.”

November 20, 1960 ad from “Asheville Citizen-Times”

 Homer Hawkins owned and operated Homer’s Gulf Service for 27 years.

A lot of you wonderful North Asheville residents who’ve given graciously of your time to be interviewed, couldn’t quite put your fingers on your family photographs. It’s time to hunt for them!

Let’s make the North Asheville History Project a Grand Success!

What are we looking for?

We also want to document people who may not have lived in North Asheville but whose lives contributed to it, like Homer Hawkins.

Madeline Willis worked for the Jack Westall family. This photo of Madeline was taken in 1965. “Madeline was a force of nature, so sunny-tempered that we called her, to her apparent delight, Miss Sunshine. She saw herself a skilled professional, and was confident in her ability to save the Westall family from themselves.

One day while ordering groceries on the phone they asked her which Mr. Westall. “Which Mr. Westall, why Mr. Jack Westall, of course. “Which Mr. Jack Westall . . !” “This is for the main Mr. Jack Westall at 44 Westall avenue–the Daddy of them all!” (There were three Jack Westalls living nearby. But don’t get NC Room staff started on the naming of the Westall progeny. On holidays, they must all get together and roll themselves laughing onto the floor about how well they’ve thrown off all future genealogists.)

MS338.003U Westall Family Collection, donated by Catherine O’Shea.

Do you have a photograph of Grace Restaurant, Citizen’s Hardware, Rolling Pin Bakery, the Brass Tap, the Cosmic Ballroom, Margaret’s Supper Club, Lord’s Pharmacy . . . get the idea? There’s a lot we don’t have. And, like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Do you have an early photo of your house, preferably with your parents standing in view? Do you have a North Asheville school room picture? Pictures of your family picnicking, or sunning at Beaver Lake?

Do you know someone who has photographs but doesn’t know about scanning day? Please share the word.

Can’t make it on Saturday? Bring your photos to North Asheville branch anytime in a sealed and protected envelope with your name and phone number and any identifying information about the photos and we will pick them up, scan them and return to North Branch. Also, we can scan architectural drawings in the North Carolina Room. We always prefer original photographs, so keep the North Carolina Room in mind. We offer scanning as a preservation tool, in case something should happen to your collection, and as a way to document a community but still give away for a family to keep their photos.

Want to take a look at some of the interviews? Go to our website at and in the right hand corner keyword/search box enter MS338* as the asterisk will bring up all the individual folders in the collection.

North Asheville History Project MS338

Post by Zoe Rhine North Carolina Room Librarian



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