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

Posts tagged “Saluda NC History

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

Available from many downtown Saluda merchants.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.) 

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Walter “Tarzan” Stephenson: Saluda’s Pro Baseball Player

Walter McQueen Stephenson was born in Saluda in 1911 and died in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1993. He was the son of Joseph Hoge Stephenson and Minnie May Guice Stephenson. Walter, nicknamed Tarzan, went on to fame by becoming a professional baseball player. His stats are below. Pretty good for a Saluda boy!

Bats: Right, Throws: Right
Height: 6’0”, Weight: 180 lbs.
Pros: Catcher
Born: March 27, 1911 in Saluda, NC
Debut: April 29, 1935
Final Game: September 30, 1937
Died: July 4, 1993 in Shreveport, LA

Major Leagues:
1935 – 1936 Chicago Cubs
1937 Philadelphia Phillies

Minor Leagues:
1932 Winston-Salem/High Point – Piedmont League
1934 Lafayette – Evangeline League
1936 Los Angeles – Pacific Coast League
1937 Montreal – International League
1938 Shreveport – Texas League
1939 Mt. Airy – Bi-State League
1939 Knoxville – Southern Association
1941 Shreveport, Oklahoma City – Texas League

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Oral History Interview with Charlie Fears

Charlie Fears was a native of Virginia and came to Saluda in the early 1970s to work on Interstate 26.  When the job was finished and his company went on to the next job, Charlie decided to stay. He worked on several bridges in the area, including the railroad bridge in town.  After retirement he became a landscaper.

Charlie’s blue tractor and friendly face were familiar and welcome sights around Saluda. He was a regular at Ward’s Grill, which is where interviewer Scott Kinard caught up with him. We feel very fortunate to have this interview because we lost Charlie this past June.

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