866 Hendersonville Road

How often have you driven on Hendersonville Road and wondered what this or that site used to look like before twenty-first century development? Let’s look at one address: 866 Hendersonville Road. This is what you see today.

The smaller building in the background is 866 Hendersonville Road.

866 Hendersonville Road was originally owned by Frank Mears. In 1945 Reginald O. Dodd purchased the stone building. Mr. Dodd was involved in various hospitality ventures during his career in Asheville. The post card below of the stone clad building appears in every image of the development on Hendersonville Road. You may have to look hard to find it though!

866 Hendersonville Road
Back of post card pictured above.
Advertisement in Asheville Citizen Times, March 1, 1946

In April of 1946 Mr. Dodd was fined in Police Court for selling “liquor by the drink”. 21 pints of tax paid liquor were siezed. Later that year he changed the name to “The Patio”. By June of 1948 Mr. Dodd was employed by the George Vanderbilt Hotel in charge of banquets and parties.

In 1949 the stone building at 866 was purchased by John E. Metzger. Mr. Metzger tapped into the postwar boom in motel building for tourism. The first listing for The Forest Manor appeared in the city directory of 1951.

Advertisement in Asheville Citizen Times, August 13, 1952
866 Hendersonville Road, circa 1954
866 Hendersonville Road

Colonel Hugh Beaton Jr. and his wife operated the Forest Manor from 1954 to 1957. The Forest Manor Restaurant was added to the site in 1955.

Advertisement in the Asheville Citizen Times

In 1957 the Forest Manor was purchased by J. Paul Kirk who owned Mountain Terrace near Enka.

866 Hendersonville Road, circa late 1950’s

Here’s the only post card featuring the Forest Manor Restaurant that I’ve found so far. It dates from the early 1960’s by the looks of the cars. In the mid-1970’s my two dearest friends and I would treat ourselves to fine dining in the restaurant. We were younger and easily impressed.

866 Hendersonville Road, early 1960’s

Posted by Terry Taylor, Board Member of Friends of the North Carolina Room

3 Comments

  1. Well, the def of “fine dining” has altered somewhat, in the past fifty years… but not always for the better.

    Forest Manor was plain and simple, simply but nicely served.  It was a pity it got burned down for the insurance by the last owner, who had Donald Trumpish aspirations… and I presume got ahead of himself.

    Sadly, despite pretty strong testimony, they were never able to persuade the jury that anyone would willingly do such a thing.  They were simpler times; but certainly not always the better for that.

    And I had never noticed the stone house.

    Thank you!

    Dan Huger

  2. Please do more research on the Emma neighborhood. Airstrip. churches. neighborhoods. I can PM you my address if you want to do something specific. Lots of ideas!!!

  3. Thank you for this fascinating story about the house I grew up in!

    My parents (Loyd and Leone Kirk) purchased the property from my grandparents (J. Paul and Shirley Kirk) in 1971 and ran the Forest Manor Inn until they sold it in 2008. Our family lived in the stone house which had the motel office and lounge in the front rooms of the home.

    One fun fact about the house – there were two switches in the floor on either side of the fireplace in the living room attached to lights in the basement. We had been told that they were used during the prohibition era when the house was a speakeasy. If the police arrived, the switches could be flicked to alert the guests in the basement who were partaking in illegal gambling and drinking.

    It seems that house had its share of fun times for almost a century!

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