A Brief History
The Grove Park neighborhood was designed and developed by St. Louis entrepreneur Edwin Wiley Grove with the help of Chauncey Beadle, landscape designer and later superintendent of Biltmore Estate and is a superb example of early twentieth century planned residential development. Grove wanted his development, like every other real estate venture he engaged in, to be exciting and innovative. Some of his ventures, such as the Grove Arcade and the Battery Park Hotel, were on the cutting edge of design and planning and his Grove Park Inn stands today as a monument to Grove’s vision and genius.
The early phases of Grove Park were laid out by Chauncey Beadle and have curvilinear streets, large tree canopies, stone retaining walls and a grand entry park. There are many architectural styles represented and these include Shingle, Neo-Classical, American Foursquare, Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, Georgian Revival, Bungalow, Italian Renaissance, Queen Anne and Chateauesque. Many nationally known and historically important architects worked within the Grove Park neighborhood. These included Richard Sharp Smith, Ronald Greene, Henry I. Gaines and James Gamble Rogers. Local Asheville developers E.A. Jackson and W.H. Westall also contributed to Grove Park’s growth, buying and developing many lots in the 1920s.
Especially notable in this lovely neighborhood are the large number of deciduous and evergreen trees. Stonework in retaining walls and stairs are found throughout and many of the houses are on terraced grounds.
A little more about our area
A tour of history
E.W. Groves Office (NRHP) 324 Charlotte St.
This building is a small one-story rubble rock structure with rough-faced ashlar covering. It features a tile-on-gable roof. It was constructed around 1909 and is said to have been used by Grove when he was building the Grove Park Inn and developing the Grove Park neighborhood. The building was designed by Richard Sharp Smith and is the only structure of its type in the area. Grove left the building and the adjacent park to the City of Asheville. Note also the handsome stone gates to the right, entrances into the park. Continue on Charlotte Street to 337 where you will see the beautiful St. Marys Parish Church just ahead on your right.
St. Marys Parish, Grove Park (NRHP) 337 Charlotte St.
Described in the year of her founding in 1914 as a Wayside Shrine in the Mountains of Western North Carolina, beautiful little St. Marys Church has attracted countless visitors over the years. Designed by Richard Sharp Smith and built in 1914, the church is English Gothic in style and cruciform in plan. Constructed out of red brick with steeply pitched gable roofs, the building is like those dotting the hilly landscape of County Durham, Northumberland and Cumbria in northern England. The English cottage-style Rectory, also designed by Smith, was built and set in beautiful landscaped grounds. The landscape architect was the famous Frederick Law Olmsted, architect for Biltmore Estate and designer of New Yorks Central Park. International attention was brought to St. Marys by the writer Gail Godwin when she immortalized the church in her novel Father Melancholys Daughter.
From St. Marys Parish, return down Charlotte Street and turn left onto Sunset Parkway. Continue on Sunset to the end where you will turn left onto Glendale Road. Look for 50 on your right, the Edgar Fordtran House. It is up on a hill at the intersection of Ridgewood Street, behind ivy covered stone walls.
Edgar Fordtran House (NRHP) 50 Glendale Rd.
This Tudor Revival style house was built in 1936 for Edgar Fordtran for $30,000. It is constructed of cut ashlar stone with stucco infill as part of the half-timbering in the front gable. This lovely building features outstanding chimneys and a decorative wrought iron front door. The landscaping is especially noteworthy and includes a winding drive, stone retaining wall and large wrought iron gates. This residence was the ASID Designer House for 1994. Continue on Glendale Road to the stop sign and turn left onto Macon Avenue. Look for the Ralph Worthington House on your left.
Ralph Worthington House (NRHP) 41 Macon Ave.
This handsome house was built in 1920 by Ralph Worthington and is a wonderful example of the quality of the houses that abound in the Grove Park District. The ASID Designer House for 1992, it is an excellent blend of Colonial Revival and Spanish Revival styles of architecture. It was operated as a boarding house from 1942 to 1959 but is now a private residence.
Continue on Macon to Charlotte Street and at the stop sign take a right onto Charlotte Street. Turn left onto Evelyn Place just beyond the park. Immediately on your left, just past the intersection of Gertrude Place, is the J.R. Oates House.
J.R. Oates House (NRHP) 90 Gertrude Pl.
Built in 1913 for J.R. Oates, a local banker, the house was designed by the architectural firm of Smith and Carrier. It is an excellent example of the Prairie style of architecture. A striking two-story house with smooth stucco and a cross gable roof with wide overhanging eaves. According to the portfolio of Richard Sharp Smith, the building was designated as fireproof. It is noteworthy also for the superb craftsmanship of the interior as well as the exterior spaces, including the beautifully landscaped grounds. Directly across the street on Evelyn Place is the Reuben Robertson House.
Reuben Robertson House (NRHP) 1 Evelyn Pl.
This elegant house was built for Reuben Robertson in 1922 and was designed by New York architect James Gamble Rogers. This is an excellent example of the Colonial Revival style of architecture.
Continue on Evelyn Place to 107, The William Bryan Jennings House, which will be on your right.
William Jennings Bryan House (NRHP) 107 Evelyn Pl.
William Jennings Bryan, famous orator, statesman, politician and presidential candidate spent many summers in this house. Built in 1917, it was designed also by Richard Sharp Smith, and is a refined example of a Colonial Revival style house. Exceptional details include paired columns and pilasters on front stoop and dentil molding beneath the roof lines. After viewing the Jennings House, turn right onto Kimberly Avenue and continue on up Kimberly.
Kimberly Avenue is one of the finer residential streets in all of Asheville, bordered on one side by the Grove Park Inn golf course and on the other by grand houses from the 1920s. The Avenue is a favorite for local walkers and joggers and the views of the Grove Park Inn and nearby mountains from the tree-lined street are outstanding.
Proximity Park Historic District
Asheville’s Proximity Park Historic District is located approximately two miles north of downtown Asheville, at the base of Sunset Mountain. Prior to its development as a residential streetcar suburb, it had been a rural dairy and open farmland. It was then laid out as a nine-hole golf course ca.1900 before being platted into home sites in 1907.