Plus, Buncombe County shares community survey results.
 
June 17, 2024 6AM-Top banner logo-small.png

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Today’s Forecast

84º | 50% chance of precipitation
Sunrise 6:14 a.m. | Sunset 8:48 p.m.

 
The Frank Lloyd Wright house that never was
Rendering of the exterior of the unbuilt Thomas C. Lea House
The concept mirrors the shape of two other unbuilt Wright designs.|Rendering by David Romero
Frank Lloyd Wright’s distinctive Prairie Style dwells in cities across the world: the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Fallingwater in Pennsylvania, the Tazaemon Yamamura House in Japan. But North Carolina is strangely devoid of Wright’s work — sort of. In the mountains near Asheville, the Thomas C. Lea house sits as a monument to a Wright design that was never built.

Rendering of interior of the Thomas C Lea House

Beyond the French doors was a triangular balcony.

|

Rendering by David Romero

A house designed

Wright designed the two-story house in 1949 for his son-in-law’s friend, Thomas C. Lea. Elaborate plans show a large hexagonal room with a fireplace at its center; a rectangular wing juts off the hexagon to accommodate four bedrooms. Similar to two other unbuilt designs, the Lake Tahoe Summer Colony and the E.A. Smith House, the partially conical roofline is striking, and even in the renderings created by David Romero of Hooked On The Past, the home is splendid.

But the remoteness of our mountains proved a challenge back in the midcentury, and the project was plagued with poor communications and delays. Wright was aware that he wouldn’t be present to supervise, the current owners told Romero, so the eventual adjustments seemed inevitable.

Rendering of the interior of the Thomas C Lea House

The main hexagonal room had a fireplace at its center.

|

Rendering by David Romero

A home constructed

The original design is extravagant, and despite having plenty of resources, Lea started scaling back as soon as he got into town. The eventual result removed the conical roofline and the wing, but it did stick to Wright’s signature style. It has a large fireplace, two bedrooms, and even a swimming pool (dug by hand, with a boulder remaining as part of the floor).

As with many of Wright’s unbuilt designs, the Thomas C. Lea house occupies a pretty obscure space in architectural history — but in some sense, Wright can still inhabit the pantheon of architects who contributed to the man-made beauty of Asheville.

There isn’t a lot about the house out there, but you can see how the design came to life and check out more of Romero’s renderings at the button below.
 
Asked
 
Which iconic Asheville building do you think is the most appealing?

A. The Jackson Building
B. The Basilica of St. Lawrence
C. Thomas Wolfe Memorial
D. Another structure entirely
 
 
Events
 
Monday, June 17
  • Imagination Monday | Monday, June 17 | 10 a.m.-12 p.m. | Weaver Park, 200 Murdock Ave., Asheville | Free | Let the little ones play the morning away with building blocks, tunnels, and games.
  • Summer Solstice Fire Circle | Monday, June 17-Saturday, June 22 | 8:30-10 p.m. | Verde Villa Sanctuary & Healing Center, 2001 Cane Creek Rd., Fletcher | Free | Gather around the fire with your instruments to share music + stories and to celebrate the season — donations are encouraged.
Tuesday, June 18
  • The Blood Connection Blood Drive | Tuesday, June 18 | 1-6 p.m. | Taproom at Highland Brewing Co., 12 Old Charlotte Hwy., Ste. 200, Asheville | Free | Raise a glass to saving lives with a blood drive at the brewery — donors will receive $50 worth of e-gift cards.
  • Western NC Music Community Meetup | Tuesday, June 18 | 5-7:30 p.m. | Citizen Vinyl, 14 O. Henry Ave., Asheville | Free | Network with other music industry pros, and hear about the work of Come Hear NC and the Confluence conference.
  • Trivia with Billy at The Funk | Tuesday, June 18 | 7-9 p.m. | The Funkatorium, 147 Coxe Ave., Asheville | Free | Win Wicked Weed gift cards at The Funkatorium in this weekly free trivia event.*
Wednesday, June 19
  • Introduction to Pollinators | Wednesday, June 19 | 10-11:30 a.m. | Reems Creek Nursery, 76 Monticello Rd., Weaverville | Free, RSVP | Get to know the lives of local pollinators, then join a conservation conversation.
  • Wine By the Vines | Wednesday, June 19 | 6-8 p.m. | Gemelli, 70 Westgate Pkwy., Asheville | $65 | Savor a five-course dinner with wine pairings from Umbria, a region of central Italy.
Thursday, June 20
  • “Style Wars” | Thursday, June 20 | 5-9 p.m. | Asheville Art Museum, 2 S. Pack Square, Asheville | Free with admission | Explore the hip-hop subculture of New York City in the 70s + 80s with a documentary focused on graffiti and breakdancing.
  • Antonia Lassar | Thursday, June 20 | 8-10 p.m. | Jewish Community Center of Asheville, 236 Charlotte St., Asheville | $20 | Laugh at the realities of Jewish life during “The Best Jew” with the queer comedian, actor, and co-host of the Yenta Podcast, as part of the J Art Fest.
Friday, June 21
  • PBR Tryon | Friday, June 21-Saturday, June 22 | Times vary | Tryon International Equestrian Center, 25 International Blvd., Mill Spring | $30-$480 | Experience the thrills of PBR (plus live music, a free Friday car show + more) this weekend — and save up to 30% on tickets with code DAD to give the gift that bucks.*
Click here to have your event featured.
 
 
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Wellness
 
🧠 Professional therapy, completely online
Laptop screen showing female, 30-something patient video chatting with her similarly-aged female therapist via BetterHelp.
Picture this: Professional therapy, done from the comfort of your home.|Image by BetterHelp
Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness — and BetterHelp makes starting therapy easy.

Whether you’re dealing with grief, work burnout, relationship problems, or you’re just feeling down, therapy is for you. Online therapy in the comfort of your own home? Even better.

Speaking of better, BetterHelp can custom-match you with one of their 30,000+ licensed therapists in as little as 24 hours. (No more waiting days, weeks, or even months to see someone.)
 
News Notes
 
Traffic
  • An unexpected utility discovery was made during work on the Carter-Ann-Patton stormwater project, so you might need to review your late-night route. From tonight, June 17 at 7 p.m. to tomorrow, June 18 at 7 a.m., a portion of Patton Avenue and connecting streets will be closed. Take a look at the affected area.
Festival
  • Bite Me AVL, the new food festival debuting in August, has started to whet our appetites. Last week, it released the round one lineup of chefs and restaurants who will be cooking up something cool later this summer. The lineup includes Ashleigh Shanti, Luis Martinez, Eda Rhyne, Cultura, and lots more.
Open
  • Last month, South Paw opened its South Asheville doors at 1996 Hendersonville Rd., which was previously occupied by Margarita’s Grill. Inside you’ll find cocktails, craft beer, and an elevated casual menu from former Early Girl Eatery chef Billy Green. Bonus: South Paw is open until midnight, so it’s another spot to add to our late-night eats list.
Transit
  • Renovations are reaching new heights. The US Department of Transportation presented Asheville Regional Airport with a $3.5 million grant for a new air traffic control tower, as part of the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Check out what else is expanding at AVL. (Asheville Citizen-Times)
Edu
  • UNC Asheville Chancellor Kimberly van Noort shared a proposal for removing several academic programs to confront a $6 million deficit. The proposal includes eliminating Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Drama, Philosophy, and Religious Studies and removing concentrations in French and German. (Blue Ridge Public Radio)
Closed
  • On Friday, June 14, Hummingbird Candle Co. announced its closing, citing some economic challenges and primarily a spiritual calling as the reason for the decision. In its five years of business, the company donated more than $40,000 to women in the community.
Civic
  • Get in on the ground floor of local development. The City of Asheville announced upcoming board vacancies for the Planning and Zoning Commission, which reviews zoning proposals and development applications, performs studies and surveys, and advises the City Council. Submit an application by Monday, Aug. 5.
Health
  • Buncombe County’s second ever cohort of Community Health Worker-Violence Prevention Professionals received their official certification last Friday. The 11 organizations, including My Daddy Taught Me That and Operation Gateway, were trained in public health and strategies for violence prevention. Learn more about the certification.
Finance
  • Did you know you could finance your fixer-upper with home equity? You could get up to $50K with a HELOC — calculate your payment.*
 
6AM City Drink Up Campaign
 
Civic
 
Asked and answered
Asheville skyline with mountains in the background
A new five-year plan is on the horizon.|Photo by @andre.daugherty.photo
There are some questions we’ll likely never get answers to (e.g. “Who let the dogs out?”) but last week, Buncombe County provided interrogatory satisfaction when it shared the results of the Strategic Plan 2030 community survey.

The survey was conducted to inform plan priorities, which will guide the county over the next five years.

Here are some findings from the 511 respondents:
  • The top four choices for future priorities were “providing equitable access to housing, addressing homelessness, providing equitable access to quality healthcare, and addressing gun violence.”
  • Sixty percent of respondents indicated that the county was a “good” or “excellent” place to live.
  • More than 60% of respondents were satisfied with library, EMS, emergency 911, election, and parks + rec services. Development, planning, and zoning received 16.8% satisfaction.
Is that your final answer? It doesn’t have to be. Commissioners will elicit more feedback in the fall, after the draft plan is released. Check out the full report and recommendations.
 
The Buy
 
These best-selling men’s swim trunks — they’re lined, quick drying, and come in any fun pattern you can dream up (we like the little sharks).
 
 
The Wrap
 
Molly Wilson.jpeg Today’s edition by:
Molly
From the editor
My evenings and weekends have been unbelievably busy recently — the last thing I need is a disruptive hangover. At the same time, this is summer and craft cocktails are awfully refreshing in the sun. Well, Devil’s Foot Beverage must have heard about my quandary and decided to respond with the release of its new Zero Proof Margarita (or at least I’ll pretend that this was directed at me personally).
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