I’m just going to keep running with the “Old Stone Wall” theme because I walked past another one last night, heading from the Visitor’s Center to Malaprop’s to hear local historian Richard Russell talk about his new book Robert Henry: A Western North Carolina Patriot. If you want to avoid the hassle and parking fees of downtown the Visitor’s Center offers free parking and it’s a quick block walk to downtown, and if you do this you will pass by this stone wall on the corner of Haywood Street and French Broad, right across from Hotel Indigo:
I noticed this wall right after I had completed Historic Inns of Asheville, and I thought – I’ve seen a picture of that wall – and sure enough, I had. It’s from the William A Barnhill Collection at Pack Library:
This was Margo Terrace. Originally built in 1890 by G. Hunt., Margaret Gano ran the building as a boarding house – the name coming from Margaret and the large terrace that ran along the front. In 1904 P.H. Branch bought the boarding house and enlarged it from 22 to 64 rooms. He also bought the house beside it to further expand the hotel.
The pamphlet Information to Visitors Concerning Western North Carolina published in 1913 by the Greater Western North Carolina Association cites Margo Terrace as having 60 bedrooms, 45 baths, and being large enough to accommodate 125 guests.
(Photo from WCU digital collection)
Other newspaper advertisements at the time describe Margo Terrace as the “Leading Family Resort of Asheville. Reasonable Rates and Special Adaptability for Families and Ladies Traveling Alone.”
The Margo Terrace was sold to E.W. Grove in 1925. The New York Post on March 14th 1925 states that Grove had recently bought the Margo Terrace with plans to “make this family hotel one of the leading hostelries of the city.” Grove had just built the new Battery Park Hotel, and was building the Grove Arcade on an adjacent lot. Grove died in 1927 before the Grove Arcade was finished, and his estate was transferred mainly to his son, Edwin Grove Jr. The Margo Terrace was demolished in 1928.
Would Grove have saved Margo Terrace had he lived? He had a track record that didn’t necessarily speak to historic preservation – in 1924 he demolished the huge Victorian relic that was the old Battery Park Hotel, and the historic hill it stood on, and replaced it with the tall brick Hotel that is still standing today. He is also said to have bought and burned down many sanitariums in Asheville to dissuade people with tuberculosis from visiting Asheville and driving other tourists away. But Grove also purchased the Manor Inn on Charlotte Street and continued to operate it as an Inn, so perhaps he wouldn’t have demolished the Margo Terrace.
Who knows? If he had survived perhaps the Grove Arcade would have rose 14 stories higher, and the Margo Terrace would still be standing in what is now a fenced in parking lot and an AT&T building.