Conservation Heritage

Preservation Society to Host Program on Dutch Influence in WNC

Enka Plant and Hominy Valley by moonlight. Photo by Asheville Post Card Co

On Thursday, January 24, the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County (PSABC) will host The Dutch Influence: American Enka and Enka Village. Presented by Carol Hensley, this program will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Enka Baptist Church Sanctuary. “American Enka provided several thousand jobs to residents of the area and helped to build a community of homes as well as the Enka Baptist Church,” says Hensley. “WNC has experienced a huge influx of people moving here from other areas of the country, and most of them don’t even know about the existence of this industry or the important role it played.”

Hensley is a multi-generation native of Western North Carolina and a former market analyst for the American Enka Company, once the country’s largest rayon manufacturer. She is also a board member for PSABC and president elect of the charitable Vetust Study Club, which is dedicated to conservation, restoration and preservation for civic and cultural advancement. Hensley’s presentation will explore the founding of American Enka and its impact on the surrounding Enka Village through WWII, as well as future plans for the company and community. “Hopefully, the audience will leave with an understanding of the economic impact of American Enka in WNC,” she says. “Additionally, people will also have a better appreciation of the role that abundant clean water has played in the development of industry in the area in the past as well as currently.” If schools are closed on the date of the program, it will be held at the same location and time on Thursday, January 31.

Enka Baptist Church Sanctuary is located at 1310 Sand Hill Road in Candler. For more information, visit

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