For Immediate Release
April 9, 2013
Saluda Home and Garden Tour
Saturday, June 1st
Please mark your calendars for a tour along historic Henderson Street in Saluda, NC. Eight homes will be open for touring and four others will feature either gardens, art studios and in one, a rock and mineral museum. The Saluda Historic Committee is sponsoring this home and garden tour in an effort to raise money for several of their projects, one of which is to return historic tinwork to the front of Saluda City Hall.
Most of these homes were built in the late 1890s to early 1900s. Some have been restored, some remain almost as they were when built. This is a rare chance to see inside of some of Saluda’s history.
A special treat of this tour is a chance to see what used to be the Polk County Rock and Mineral Museum which opened in 1962 on main street of Saluda (in what is now, the Saluda Grade Café). William Crawford (W.C.) Ashley and his son, Allen Ashley, had been collecting rocks and minerals since the 1940s when they were mining mica along with many other part-time miners in the Spruce Pine, Little Switzerland, Cleveland County areas (all within 90 miles of Saluda). At that time, the US government paid $70 a pound for mica and gold sold for $6 a troy ounce. As of January 2013, gold prices have been between $1,628.00 USD and $1,693.00 USD per troy ounce. Miners were exempt from serving in the military during WW II, as their efforts were used to aid the war effort by providing materials to stockpile needed minerals. When the museum opened on March 25, 1962, the first-ever parade was held in Saluda. Over 1,000 attended and it was followed by a barbeque dinner sponsored by the Blue Ridge Coon Club. The following year, 1963, the Blue Ridge Coon Club, decided that the parade was what Saluda needed to bring folks to town to buy barbeque and bring in needed revenue. Thus began Coon Dog Day, which is held the first Saturday after July 4th and will celebrate its 50th year this coming July 6th, 2013. The museum closed in 1973 and got packed into boxes which stayed under Martha Ashley’s home for nearly thirty years. In the early 2000s, Martha’s son, Eric Ashley, helped his dad, Allen, re-assemble the museum in his parents’ house on Henderson Street. It is a special treat to get to view this museum collection during the garden and house tour on June 1st.
Tickets for the tour may be purchased prior to the tour at the following Saluda stores: Thompson’s Store, Heartwood Galley and Macon Bank. The $20 tickets will be sold at the beginning of the tour, which will be in the First Baptist Church parking lot, across the street from the Saluda Library. The tour starts at 1:00 p.m. and ends at 5:00 p.m.
The Historic Saluda Committee was formed by a group of concerned citizens who wished to preserve the historical integrity of the town. The grassroots effort spawned interest from Saluda City officials and in June 2010 the Saluda City Commissioners voted to make the committee an advisory committee to the city and committee members were appointed. The HSC meets on the second Friday of each month at 2:00 p.m. at the Saluda Public Library. The public is welcome. For more information go to www.historicsaluda.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the City of Saluda at 828-749-2581.