Asheville in the 1980s is the theme for a series of summer-long evening programs beginning in April. Each program covers a unique aspect of Asheville’s history from arts to business to architecture, and includes the “Save Asheville’s Downtown” grassroots campaign.
The 1980s were a time of uncertainty for many. A May 25, 1980 article in the Asheville Citizen Times by AP Special Correspondent Saul Pett compared Asheville residents with other Americans. Asheville residents were unsure about the direction their city leaders should take, confused by changes going on at home and in the larger world. “Turned off” was the phrase the writer used to describe the local attitude toward the 1980 presidential election. He notes that ambivalence: “Most people here seem to think that the identity of the next president won’t make much difference.” Yet decisions were made, and they helped shape the city we know today.
The accompanying image was selected to illustrate Pett’s article. It shows the Thomas Wolfe Memorial positioned beside the 12-story Inn on the Plaza, contrasting the sureties of history with the discomfort of the new.
Spring 2016 brings some of the same challenges Asheville has seen historically, short and long term. Pett notes, “Beauty here … brings mixed blessings. So does change.” Make plans to join your 21st century neighbors as the Friends of the NC Room hosts a look back at Asheville in the 1980’s and, if history is any indicator, a look into the future.
Post by Tammy Young
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