|Preservationists want building saved|
With a banner proclaiming "This Place Matters," historic preservationists gathered Saturday outside an old warehouse building that has a church dating from the late 19th century embedded inside.
The owner of the downtown Church Street structure, Central United Methodist Church, plans to tear it down for parking and other potential uses of the space, while members of the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County want the building saved.
"We want to illustrate to the public that this building does matter to the community," said Jack Thomson, the society's executive director. "Downtown Asheville is a historic district, and our historic buildings are a nonrenewable resource. "We feel that it's the Preservation Society's responsibility to advocate for the preservation and reuse of these important buildings."
About 25 society members toured the exterior of the building Saturday and listened to Thomson talk about its significance.
Thomson said the original structure was a church built around 1888. The church failed, and a steam-laundry business moved into the structure in the early 1890s.
"Then thereafter, the building began to evolve," he said.
Over the decades, structures were added around the 2,000-square-foot church, eventually covering 45,000 square feet. The site was home to Jarrett's Printing Press and Barbee-Clark Tobacconists.
The warehouse structure has been vacant since Swannanoa Cleaners moved out in 2001.
(The Asheville Citizen-Times, 4/1/13)