West Asheville has a rich history of farming and gardening. If you know about an event or location that should be on this list, please let us know.
TAHKIEOSTIE FARM: 1885
Located on a 125-acre tract along the west side of the French Broad River between Carrier’s Bridge and Smith Bridge, Tahkieostee Farm was a large working farm known for its beautiful views. The Asheville City Directories of that era recommended it to tourists 1885-1900 as a “very popular drive for the pleasure seeker”. The farm was sold in 1909.
FALCONHURST & WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA FAIR: 1895 & 1911
Experimental farm developed in the mid 1890s by R.P. Hayes, son of President R.B. Hayes, part of his 1200-acre holdings along the north side of Haywood Rd. between Patton Ave. and Westwood Pl. Hayes introduced kudzu into Buncombe County around 1919-1920. Hayes was also instrumental in founding the Western North Carolina Fair, WNC’s first agricultural fair. The fair was held at Riverside Park on the French Broad 1911 – 1914, and drew thousands annually. The last of the Hayes property in West Asheville was sold by the family in 1926.
BUNCOMBE COUNTY & DISTRICT COLORED FAIR & FARMER’S JUBILEE: 1913
Founded by African-American community leader and West Asheville resident E. W. Pearson in 1913, the annual fairs were first held at Pearson’s Park in West Asheville’s Burton St. neigh-borhood. Later fairs were held at McCormick Field and Oates Park. The week-long fairs drew African American participants from many Western North Carolina counties, and were attended by black and white alike. With annual attendance in the thousands, the fair was one of the largest African American agricultural fairs in the Southeast. The Fair returned to West Asheville’s Logan Show Grounds in 1947 for its 34th and final season, following Pearson’s death in 1946.
Pearson’s Fair Slogan: “Plant early, dig in now! Plant and hoe—make that home garden grow! Plant it, work it, day and night, So when winter snow is falling, you’ll be sure to eat right!”
MIDDLEMOUNT GARDENS NURSERY: 1921
Founded in West Asheville by Otto Busek in 1921, a horticulturalist trained in Germany, the nursery had the largest greenhouses in North Carolina at his death in 1934. Located along Sulphur Springs Rd. and Old Haywood Rd., the Gardens shipped flowers across the Southeast, and were noted for their annual Easter and Christmas Open Houses. Mr. Busek believed that children’s education should include gardening, and he welcomed visits to the Gardens by local school groups. After Otto Busek’s death in 1934, the Gardens were operated by his nephew Max Crohn until 1949, when the business was sold to Mr. & Mrs. L.E. Jarrett, who continued to operate the business as Jarrett’s Greenhouses.
WILKE’S DAFFODIL FARM: 1920s
This large farm operated by Mr. & Mrs. Wilke in the 1920s and early 30s, grew acres of daffodils. The farm was located in the area between the Leicester Hwy. and Louisiana Ave., before Patton Avenue was built. It is remembered by older West Asheville residents as a gorgeous sight every spring.
RHODODENDRON PARK: 1931
Officially commissioned March 12, 1931, as “Roberts Park”, 100-acre Rhododendron Park was the brainchild of the late Asheville mayor, former US Congressman, and West Asheville resident Gallatin Roberts. Located on Brevard Rd. overlooking the French Broad River, the view from the park included Asheville, the Craggy Mountains, the Swannanoa Gap, and the Biltmore estate. In 1941, the park became an early precursor of the NC Arboretum when a “Tree School” to include specimens of 150 native trees, was dedicated in the park. The park had been reduced to 68 acres when sold at auction by the City on March 15, 1967, to facilitate the relocation of Aston Park Hospital to West Asheville. (The tract was duly purchased by the hospital, and plans were made for a new hospital in West Asheville, but opposition from Memorial Mission Hospital led to downgrading the proposed hospital to a long-term care facility instead.)
VICTORY VEGETABLE GARDENS – WW II
West Asheville residents were dedicated participants in the Victory Garden campaign during WW II. Some residents were able to plant gardens of an acre or more.
KNOLLMAN’S SUNKEN GARDENS
Late 1940s Knollman’s Sunken Gardens were operated by Mrs. Viola Knollman. They were located behind her store, the Quality Chick Store, located on Haywood Rd. across from the B & B Pharmacy. The gardens were named by student Bill Ferguson in a contest at Aycock Elementary School. The gardens were lost to I-240 construction in the 1960s.
WEST ASHEVILLE GARDEN CLUBS 1930s -1960s
Neighborhood garden clubs were a feature of life in West Asheville from the 1930s through the early 1960s. Clubs included Brucemont Circle, Dorchester Ave., Han-Tana (Hanover St. & Montana Ave.), Hubbard Ave., Vermont Ave., Westwood, and probably several others. In addition to the garden clubs, local civic groups sponsored flower shows and beautification projects throughout this period.