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Old Posted Jun 30, 2009, 11:38 PM
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hauntedheadnc hauntedheadnc is online now
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Asheville neighborhood of the month: Queens for a day

Which queens, you ask. Anne and Victoria. Obviously. I mean, duh.

Unfortunately, I was unable to snag a picture of today's newspaper. If you absolutely must know, the Asheville Citizen-Times today reported that yet another tourist died from falling off a waterfall, while elsewhere in the region a man who murdered a state trooper lost his bid for a change of venue for his trial, but the jury will likely be bussed in from Gastonia, down near Charlotte.

Oh, well. It's another fine day in...



Yes. Montford. Asheville's premier address until Edith Vanderbilt shaved off a flank of Biltmore Estate and developed Biltmore Forest in 1923. That was the start of Montford's downfall, which reached its nadir in the 1970's and 80's, by which time Montford was Asheville's red-light district and all around a very bad neighborhood bracketed by public housing slums on either end, Klondyke to the north and Hillcrest to the south. Its fine houses were being used as whorehouses, flophouses, and cheap apartment buildings when they weren't being torched by desperate landowners trying to claim the insurance money.

Then came the hippies. And now... Montford is back. This Victorian neighborhood known for its Queen Anne homes hums with families, bicyclists, dog-walkers, tourists, and nosy cats.

In fact, it's now the home of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, which is home to the city visitors center. This makes it the first part of town that many tourists see.



And for good reason. The view to the west is spectacular. Here's what the tourists milling around inside the visitors center see when they look out the windows.



And back outside, we see happy tourists boarding the trolley bus for a tour of Montford.



A marker in the parking lots explains a fascinating tidbit of local history.



Now, before we get any further into this, before I make any more smartass comments, it's time to take a step back and consider that Asheville's history is shockingly horrific. When all is said and done, it is still a Southern city and the South has forgotten more about human brutality than the rest of the country has yet learned. That marker talks of the prisons that marred Asheville during the Civil War and the inhumanity practiced in them. It does not mention all the rest of this city's dark history: the insane asylums where rich people threw away troublesome relatives and the tuberculosis hospitals where Asheville grew rich peddling false hope.

If you live here you know: Asheville and its mountains will cradle you or they will crush you and this city can be unbelievably cruel if it feels like it. You can do many things here, but you will never hide here. It will make you face your fears one way or another. People who move here ignore that fact at their peril. People call us a creepy and morbid city. And for good reason -- we are.





Welcome to Asheville.



And now, we return you to your regularly-scheduled sarcasm.







Downtown keeps an eye on things, lest they get too rowdy.



These damned things are ubiquitous. I am not exaggerating when I say that I must have seen them hanging from the windows and balconies of at least twenty houses. Probably more. Remember, never approach a house with these hanging up unless you want a good, long lecture on how Western civilization, and by extension you, are personally to blame for everything wrong with the world.







The required squirrel.



You may think it looks interesting. You are obviously not a citizen of Asheville, NIMBY capital of the free world. If you were a citizen of Asheville, you wouldn't dare call it interesting. You would instead call it an abomination before God before gathering with like-minded individuals at an independent, organic, shade-grown, fair trade coffeehouse for a long discussion how much nicer this city would be if it just weren't for all these damn buildings everywhere.













There's an apartment for rent in this interesting old Victorian house? That is not nearly as important an issue as petting the cat.



























These banners are hanging up at more than a few houses near the site of what will be the city's vastly improved and expanded children's museum. The neighbors are outraged that trees were cut down to make way for it. It's the great SSP NIMB-off! San Francisco vs. Asheville -- who can oppose the worthiest project for the pettiest reason? Asheville is currently in the lead!









Because you were wondering just exactly what that thing is atop the peak of the roof.







Homewood Castle: Often imitated, never duplicated.











































































Here's a lovely house...



...and here's the giant writhing mass of ants on the sidewalk in front of the lovely house.























































Obviously, no photo thread featuring Montford would be complete without photos of Riverside Cemetery. Something strange happened, however...







And mysteriously, after taking this picture, my camera's batteries died. Oh well.



Previous untoward statements in this compendium of death threats:

Grove Park in May: I never promised you a rose garden

East West Asheville in April: The leather-pervert farmer's tan

Norwood Park and UNC-A in "March": Aristotle is my homeboy

Five Points and Chestnut Hill in February: Boobs, squid, and the Blair Street witch project

Downtown in January: Assorted hideous beasts, attractively arrayed
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"To sustain the life of a large, modern city in this cloying, clinging heat is an amazing achievement. It is no wonder that the white men and women in Greenville walk with a slow, dragging pride, as if they had taken up a challenge and intended to defy it without end." -- Rebecca West for The New Yorker, 1947

Last edited by hauntedheadnc; Jun 30, 2009 at 11:57 PM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Jul 1, 2009, 1:21 AM
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xzmattzx xzmattzx is offline
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Nice pictures. The houses are nice. This neighborhood reminds me a little bit of the Ardens, which are three municipalities north of Wilmington and are Delaware's aging hippie/artist communities.
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Old Posted Jul 1, 2009, 2:41 AM
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Great neighborhood for this month! I love both Queen Anne and Italianate.
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Old Posted Jul 1, 2009, 3:58 AM
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hauntedheadnc hauntedheadnc is online now
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Thanks for taking the time to look. I rather think the pics I took of this area last autumn were better, but I did go back and take shots of some of the same houses and whatnot. I remembe what they looked like on a cloudy day with the leaves changing, so it was interesting to me to see them in full summer on a sunny day.
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"To sustain the life of a large, modern city in this cloying, clinging heat is an amazing achievement. It is no wonder that the white men and women in Greenville walk with a slow, dragging pride, as if they had taken up a challenge and intended to defy it without end." -- Rebecca West for The New Yorker, 1947
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Old Posted Apr 29, 2010, 5:30 PM
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I'd live in most of those houses. Now, how bad is my conservativeness going to clash with those dirty hippies?
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Old Posted Apr 29, 2010, 6:10 PM
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I love the quirkiness and weirdness of this city.
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Old Posted May 2, 2010, 2:55 AM
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great tour. i look forward to getting back there. that second to last photo's tragic.

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Originally Posted by DowntownDweller View Post
I'd live in most of those houses. Now, how bad is my conservativeness going to clash with those dirty hippies?
you'll be fine; weirdly, they get along mostly fine, side by side. i met a nice, conservative owner of an antique store when i visited a couple of years ago who'd moved to escape california's crushing taxes.

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Old Posted May 2, 2010, 6:04 AM
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Some nice old houses in that neighborhood.
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Old Posted May 2, 2010, 2:59 PM
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hauntedheadnc hauntedheadnc is online now
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Two blasts from the past in the space of a week? Good heavens!

Thanks for looking and leaving your thoughts, everyone.
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"To sustain the life of a large, modern city in this cloying, clinging heat is an amazing achievement. It is no wonder that the white men and women in Greenville walk with a slow, dragging pride, as if they had taken up a challenge and intended to defy it without end." -- Rebecca West for The New Yorker, 1947
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Old Posted May 5, 2010, 9:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hauntedheadnc View Post
Two blasts from the past in the space of a week? Good heavens!

Thanks for looking and leaving your thoughts, everyone.
Any chance at some more recent intallments?
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Old Posted May 8, 2010, 3:06 AM
TinChelseaNYC TinChelseaNYC is offline
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Holy shyt! That was SUPER! Thanks!

Meez gotta head down there someday. I always heard all this talk about that liberal capital of the South, Asheville. Looks like hot shyt.
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Old Posted May 8, 2010, 5:13 AM
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Hard for a neighborhood to go wrong with Victorians and kitties. Good stuff.
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Old Posted May 8, 2010, 2:36 PM
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hauntedheadnc hauntedheadnc is online now
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Thanks for looking around.

Unfortunately, DowntownDweller, I haven't taken many pictures lately...
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"To sustain the life of a large, modern city in this cloying, clinging heat is an amazing achievement. It is no wonder that the white men and women in Greenville walk with a slow, dragging pride, as if they had taken up a challenge and intended to defy it without end." -- Rebecca West for The New Yorker, 1947
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