Memories, Places, and People That Make Saluda NC an Enchanted Place to Be


A Local Icon Passes

On August 20, 2013, Saluda lost one of its beloved icons, Horace Pace. We are saddened by his passing. Members of the Historic Saluda Oral History Committee sat down with Horace in April of 2012 for a delightful interview. The full interview, in 6 parts, has now been uploaded to YouTube.
You can find all six parts here:
Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six.
Horace, one of twenty-nine children, shared with us his hardships and delights growing up in Saluda. Horace was an avid hunter and loved spending time hiking and fishing along the Green River. He shared many interesting stories with us including tales about the “devil’s footprint” and the “narrows” found along his favorite river. Horace will be greatly missed!

Historic Saluda Tour of Homes

The Historic Saluda Committee has been involved with the restoration of City Hall for three years and proudly presents its second tour of homes and gardens for its benefit.


JUNE 1st
C0ST OF TOUR $20 per person

Advance tickets may be purchased at Macon Bank, Saluda City Hall, Pace’s Store, Heartwood Gallery, and Thompson’s Store
The walking Tour covering about 5 blocks begins at the Saluda FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH with tickets and parking available.
To protect the safety of walkers, Henderson Street will be closed off to through traffic from East Main Street to Eseola Avenue. Cars for those taking the tour, should be left at the church parking lot. Golf carts will be available for those unable to walk. Eight homes along half of Henderson Street will be open for interior and exterior viewing.

Martha and Eric Ashley in one of the three rooms of the Rock Museum

Martha and Eric Ashley in one of the three rooms of the Rock Museum

The Ashley Rock and Mineral Museum, the Prudhomme garden, and Mark Gardner’s artist studio are in addition to the tour of the other eight homes. The new owners of one of the homes along Henderson have generously offered their porch and garden as a “way station” along the route. Children will have lemonade stands set up and water will be available.
This is a great community event you will not want to miss!
For more information click here for the press release.

Saluda Home and Garden Tour Press Release
Saturday, June 1st

Please mark your calendars for a tour along historic Henderson Street in Saluda, NC. Eight homes will be open for touring and four others will feature either gardens, art studios and in one, a rock and mineral museum. The Saluda Historic Committee is sponsoring this home and garden tour in an effort to raise money for several of their projects, one of which is to return historic tinwork to the front of Saluda City Hall.

Most of these homes were built in the late 1890s to early 1900s. Some have been restored, some remain almost as they were when built. This is a rare chance to see inside of some of Saluda’s history.

A special treat of this tour is a chance to see what used to be the Polk County Rock and Mineral Museum which opened in 1962 on main street of Saluda (in what is now, the Saluda Grade Café). William Crawford (W.C.) Ashley and his son, Allen Ashley, had been collecting rocks and minerals since the 1940s when they were mining mica along with many other part-time miners in the Spruce Pine, Little Switzerland, Cleveland County areas (all within 90 miles of Saluda). At that time, the US government paid $70 a pound for mica and gold sold for $6 a troy ounce. As of January 2013, gold prices have been between $1,628.00 USD and $1,693.00 USD per troy ounce. Miners were exempt from serving in the military during WW II, as their efforts were used to aid the war effort by providing materials to stockpile needed minerals. When the museum opened on March 25, 1962, the first-ever parade was held in Saluda. Over 1,000 attended and it was followed by a barbeque dinner sponsored by the Blue Ridge Coon Club. The following year, 1963, the Blue Ridge Coon Club, decided that the parade was what Saluda needed to bring folks to town to buy barbeque and bring in needed revenue. Thus began Coon Dog Day, which is held the first Saturday after July 4th and will celebrate its 50th year this coming July 6th, 2013. The museum closed in 1973 and got packed into boxes which stayed under Martha Ashley’s home for nearly thirty years. In the early 2000s, Martha’s son, Eric Ashley, helped his dad, Allen, re-assemble the museum in his parents’ house on Henderson Street. It is a special treat to get to view this museum collection during the garden and house tour on June 1st.

Tickets for the tour may be purchased prior to the tour at the following Saluda stores: Thompson’s Store, Heartwood Galley and Macon Bank. The $20 tickets will be sold at the beginning of the tour, which will be in the First Baptist Church parking lot, across the street from the Saluda Library. The tour starts at 1:00 p.m. and ends at 5:00 p.m.

The Historic Saluda Committee was formed by a group of concerned citizens who wished to preserve the historical integrity of the town. The grassroots effort spawned interest from Saluda City officials and in June 2010 the Saluda City Commissioners voted to make the committee an advisory committee to the city and committee members were appointed. The HSC meets on the second Friday of each month at 2:00 p.m. at the Saluda Public Library. The public is welcome. For more information go to, email or call the City of Saluda at 828-749-2581.

Now Available: Audio Documentary “Saluda: Voices from the First 100 Years”

Available from many downtown Saluda merchants.


The Night “Mountain House” Burned Down

Mountain House was one of the first hotels in Saluda and was built by Andrew Tanner, a railroad contractor and the first mayor of the town. One snowy night in the 1920s, the building burned to the ground.

Reverend William “Bill” Ed Andrews, who spent most of his adult life as a missionary in Brazil, lived in Saluda for a few years when he was a child. He was one of eight children of Robert Franklin Andrews and Susie Meaders Andrews, who lived on Andrews Street.

Bill Andrews witnessed the burning of Mountain House, and he tells the story in this recording made shortly before his death in 2002:

(This recording was graciously donated to the city of Saluda by the Andrews family.)


Saluda Memories from Faye Russell Chandler

In this excerpt from her oral history interview, LaFaye “Faye” Russell Chandler remembers a special treat from John Gordon’s store, the cleanest car in Saluda (and how it stayed that way), snow days in the 1950s, and the weekend Saluda square dances.


Emily Prudden and Saluda Seminary

“Hampered by deafness from the age of seventeen, I could not enter the ways of large endeavor.”

Emily C. Prudden (1832-1917) wrote those words in 1913, but they could not have been farther from the truth. Although also crippled by arthritis as an adult, she did indeed engage in large endeavors: Between the ages of 52 and 85, she founded seventeen schools in western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina. She made it her life’s work to educate white and African-American children across the region, bringing to them opportunities that they would not otherwise have had. Among the schools that Prudden founded were Oberlin Home and School- which later became Pfeiffer University- and Saluda Seminary. 

Emily Prudden established Saluda Seminary in 1891 and wrote, “The large building at Saluda has been completed and rapidly filled with over 150 pupils…Prior to the erection of our seminary, the village had no school building, although there is still standing a house of logs without seats, window, door or chimney which formerly was used for a school.”

A brochure for Saluda Seminary in 1906 advertises instruction in writing, arithmetic, geography, health, physiology, history, composition, rhetoric, and music. The school was financed by selling used clothing and household items donated by supporters. Saluda graduate Brian Bollich became a Rhodes Scholar.

Dr. Phoebe A. Pollitt of Appalachian State University has written a thoroughly-researched account of Emily Prudden’s work. You can read the chapter about Saluda Seminary here. The entire dissertation (as a Google doc) is here.

Playwright, director, and producer Keith Smith of Wind and Woods Productions is writing an outdoor drama about Emily Prudden and her work to be presented in 2013. It will be called The Legacy of Lick Mountain, and you can read a synopsis here.


A Walk Down Main Street in the 1940s

Lifelong Saluda resident Willis “Bill” Holbert takes us (literally) on a trip down Memory Lane in this excerpt from his oral history interview. He recalls all of the businesses and merchants of the pre-World War II years, including barber Will Forrest and a family from Syria who ran a cafe. Also, did you know that there were once slot machines in Saluda? and that you could sled from the top of Greenville Street all the way past City Hall after a good snow? Bill shares these stories and more.

(Look for Bill’s complete interview coming soon to the Oral History page of this site.)