Spring 2022 Events

What George Vanderbilt Saw: Asheville and the Western North Carolina Mountains in 1887 – 88

Dr. Dan Pierce, Professor of History

Tuesday, February 8 at 7:00 pm

OLLI Reuter Center Rm. 102 (Livestream Available)

Legend has it that either on his first visit to Asheville in 1887 or on his second visit with his mother in 1888, George Vanderbilt gazed south from the veranda of the Battery Park Hotel and picked out the site for his estate and palatial chateau at the confluence of the Swannanoa and French Broad Rivers. But Vanderbilt also spent time on those two trips exploring the booming city of Asheville and its surrounding mountains. This talk will take you along with Vanderbilt as he explored a city and the countryside in the midst of rapid transformation prompted by the arrival of the Western North Carolina Railroad in1880. During the short interval between 1880 and 1887-88, Asheville’s population doubled and outsiders like Frank Coxe, the builder/proprietor of the Battery Park, brought new energy to the once sleepy “cow town” which soon began to characterize itself as “The Paris of the South.” Vanderbilt also made forays into the mountains on exploring and hunting trips taking in the spectacular scenery of what local-color author Francis Tiernan termed the “Land of the Sky,” but at a time when it was on the cusp of transformation by industrial logging also brought by the railroad.

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America’s First Forest: Carl Schenck and the Asheville Experiment

Exclusive Documentary Screening

Tuesday, March 22 at 7:00 pm

OLLI Reuter Center Rm. 102 (In-Person Only, Livestream NOT Available)

The Emmy Award-winning film America’s First Forest: Carl Schenck and the Asheville Experiment tells the story of how Carl Schenck, a German forester, came to America in 1895 to manage the forests at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Schenck not only helped restore the land there, but he also established the country’s first forestry school and helped launch the American conservation movement.

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Denise Kiernan, author of The Last Castle, in conversation with Wiley Cash

Tuesday, April 26 at 7:00 pm 

OLLI Reuter Center Rm. 102 (Livestream Available)

Join New York Times bestseller Denise Kiernan, author of The Last Castle, for an in-conversation event with Wiley Cash, Alumni Author-in-Residence at UNC-Asheville. The two will discuss how Kiernan went about researching and writing the book, including behind-the-scenes stories that were left out of the final draft. Kiernan will also discuss her career as a journalist and producer who has worked with The Village Voice and ESPN in a career that has taken her around the world.

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