On Saturday, April 13, at 1 p.m., the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County (PSABC) will host Homeland Tourist Park & Rustic Revival Log Cabins at Beverly Hills Baptist Church. The program will discuss the history and preservation of Homeland Park, a 45-acre property created in 1930 featuring 65 furnished cabins and cottages, a restaurant, a pool and stables. “The history of Homeland Park is tied to so many other stories in Asheville, including the development of Kenilworth, the area’s transportation and recreation history, and even a regional racketeering scandal,” says Annie McDonald, who will present the program.
A preservation specialist for the western region of the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office (NC SHPO), McDonald holds a bachelor’s in art history and a master’s in history with a certificate in historic preservation. McDonald first learned of Homeland Park in 2012 and was surprised to find the property so intact. She is currently conducting research on the original developers of Homeland Park and learning more about “its evolution from a rustic tourist court in a bucolic setting to a summer retreat whose theme was rooted in cultural myths and caricatures of mountaineers that were promulgated in the mid-twentieth century,” she says. “It’s easy to drive through Asheville’s historic neighborhoods and just accept them at face value as we see them today. But every building, every neighborhood and every community has a deeper, more complex and nuanced history than is typically understood.” The presentation will also include an update from PSABC executive director Jack Thomson about restoration of the Thomas Wolfe Cabin in Oteen, where Wolfe stayed while writing one of his novels.
Beverly Hills Baptist Church is located at 777 Tunnel Road in Asheville. The presentation is free, but a $10 donation will help support local preservation efforts. For more information, visit PSABC.org.