Blue Ridge Savings Bank (1978-2011) — Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina

As an avid urban explorer and back roads traveler often times I come across buildings and signs that appear to be much older than they really are. Until last weekend I honestly hadnt explored Asheville or the area beyond driving through the town on interstate 40 and Interstate 26. When I came across this building with the perfectly visible ghost sign of Blueridge Savings Bank I just knew I had found a gem with all kinds of neat history and stories to share. Boy was I wrong. In fact, the Blue Ridge Savings Bank wasnt even much older than myself.  The bank itself is located in the Jackson Building, the first skyscraper built in Western North Carolina.  The 140 foot, 15 story building was completed in 1924.

 

In 1978, a group of more than 50 stockholders opened Blue Ridge Savings and Loan on Smoky Park Highway, the present location of the West Asheville Branch office. These stockholders were a diverse group of local business owners, merchants, farmers, developers, and others who took pride in encouraging savings.
In October 2011 the bank became the 78th bank to fail as a result of the great recession and financial crisis of 2008. At the time of closing by the state of North Carolina regulators the bank had 10 branches. All of these branches reopened as Bank of North Carolina except for the main office pictured above.

The Fine Arts Theater — Asheville, North Carolina

Fine Arts Theater -- Asheville NC
The Fine Arts Theater is located at 36 Biltmore Avenue in downtown Asheville, North Carolina. It originally opened as the Strand Theatre on October 24, 1946 and had a seating capacity of 800 in orchestra and balcony. It was renamed Fine Arts Theatre on June 8, 1962.

Today the theater is the home of the Asheville Film Festival held in November of each year. The Fine Arts runs first run art and independent films.

The Grove Arcade: One of America’s First Indoor Shopping Malls — Asheville, North Carolina

Grove Arcade -- Asheville, North Carolina Grove Arcade -- Asheville, North Carolina

The Arcade Building, also known as The Grove Arcade and Asheville Federal Building, is a historic commercial building located at Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina. It was built in 1926-1929, and is a Tudor Revival / Late Gothic Revival style building consisting of two stacked blocks. Grove Arcade -- Asheville, North Carolina
Grove Arcade -- Asheville, North Carolina The lower block is a rectangular slab with rounded corners; it is capped by the second block, a two-tier set-back. The steel frame and reinforced concrete building was designed to serve as a base for an unbuilt skyscraper. Grove Arcade -- Asheville, North Carolina
It features a roof deck with a bronze semi-elliptical balcony, molded terra cotta pilasters, and a ziggurat-like arrangement of huge ramps to the roof deck. The building occupies a full city block and housed one of America’s first indoor shopping malls. It was sold to the federal government in 1943. The building housed the National Climatic Data Center until 1995.
Grove Arcade -- Asheville, North Carolina Grove Arcade -- Asheville, North Carolina

The Grove Arcade was added to the National Register of Historic Places May 19, 1976.