Photo Source: Steve Feingold (AVL So Highland Rsrch)
Built in 1927, the Bledsoe Building is the largest building along Haywood Road, the main commercial corridor of West Asheville in the area of town west of the French Broad River. West Asheville had once been a separate town that developed along Haywood Road, which served as the main western turnpike from Asheville into Haywood County and further west during the mid-19th century. West Asheville was incorporated in 1889, but its charter was repealed in 1897 for reasons that remain unclear. The town was incorporated again in 1913, and was annexed into the City of Asheville on June 9, 1917, on a referendum that passed by only eight votes, indicating the desire by many to keep the area autonomous. Even today, West Asheville remains a distinct community within the City of Asheville, with its own businesses and residential neighborhoods.
By 1910, trolley service had arrived in West Asheville, with streetcar lines running from downtown Asheville west to the 700 block of Haywood Road. Some commercial buildings were constructed in the 1910s and Haywood Road was paved in 1914, but the largest period of commercial growth occurred during the 1920s. Haywood Road became the center of community life for the western section of Asheville. Architects, surveyors, real estate agents, garages, barbers, bankers, physicians, building suppliers, restaurants, dressmakers, cleaners, photographers and bakers were among the many types of businesses, professions and services that lined Haywood Road. According to Asheville city directories, the Bledsoe Building was once occupied by plumbers, groceries, bakeries, beauty parlors, cafes, pharmacists, realty offices, furniture stores and dentists.
James T. Bledsoe, owner of JT Bledsoe & Company, a real estate and insurance firm, built the Bledsoe Building during the height of the commercial development of Haywood Road. Designed in a utilitarian Commercial style, considered a reaction to the more ornate Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival styles, the Bledsoe Building was erected as a two-story freestanding brick building with a modest pattern work of brick corbelling to divide the floors and form the cornice and a central parapet roofline.
The Bledsoe Building has undergone recent renovations and has once again rejuvenated Haywood Road with the West Village Market, Orbit Video Rental, the Westville Pub, Beauty Parade Salon, and the Center for Holistic Medicine. With its commanding size and central location along this corridor, the Bledsoe Building has been a catalyst for reinvestment and a commercial hub for the West Asheville community.
The Bledsoe Building is located on the north side of Haywood Rd. at the intersection of Mildred Ave.
Source:National Park Service