Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Asheville's Pack Square Park

We "hopped off" or tour trolley at Pack Square Park, a 6.5-acre park in the heart of downtown Asheville, NC. We began our walking tour of the park in front of the Asheville Art Museum.
Right across the street was one of the city's most popular sculptures.

"Artist Robert Gursky and co-worker John Ransmeier installed the sculptures, a mother pig and piglet, as well as a mother turkey and poult. Their tracks are seen in the concrete base representing the Buncombe Turnpike the route for drovers from Tennessee taking their turkeys, pigs and cattle to southern markets."
Pack Fountain, designed by Hoss Haley

Past and Promise

"Asheville's little girl in bronze (Childhood) drinks at a replica of a horsehead fountain on a gas lamp post that once stood on the square."

And then we came upon one of the more interesting sculptures we've encountered on our travels. I hope the next three photos give some idea of its uniqueness.
left of center, Julia C. Burr

"The tongue-in-cheek title of this railing suggests a bit about the nature of Asheville and its inhabitants and how people are drawn to Asheville both historically and in the present."

The Jackson Building

"This ornate building is perhaps the most beloved skyscraper in Downtown Asheville. The 13-story Neo-Gothic style skyscraper was designed by Ronald Greene and was completed in 1924.

"Real estate developer L. B. Jackson commissioned the Neo-Gothic style skyscraper to promote his faith in the continued strength of the 1920s local real estate market.
"This steel-framed brick and terra-cotta structure is adorned with dramatic stone gargoyles near the top" (romanticasheville.com/ jackson_building).

But an event that took place in this park in 1943 was one for the ages.

Asheville native Robert Morgan and his crew and his now famous B-17, which he named the Memphis Belle became the first to successfully complete 25 bombing missions in World War II. The Army Air Corps brought crowd-pleasing Morgan and his Memphis Belle home to inspire the American public and to raise money for war bonds. During his 1943 nationwide tour, Morgan visited 31 cities, lifting the spirits of Americans across the country with parades and programs honoring his accomplishment. One of his stops was in Asheville,
Ellington's Dream, granite etching shows Douglas Ellington's original architectural concept of a pair of complementing city-county buildings. The county decided to construct its courthouse (left, below) in the more formal Federalist style, but the city (right, below) stayed with Ellington's art deco design for the city hall. (One of our guides noted that the locals say the building on the left was the box that the building on the right came in.)
Although General Henry H. Hap Arnold had given Morgan permission to fly the B-17 as low as he pleased during their tour, it's almost certain that the general hadn't meant for the bomber to buzz rooftops as she made her way across the nation.

Nonetheless, when Morgan piloted Belle to an event in his hometown of Asheville, N.C., he brought the big bomber in low, barely skimming the roofs of downtown buildings and seemingly aiming for the city hall and courthouse.

The two buildings were 50 feet apart.

The B-17's wingspan was 103 feet.

With the buildings dead ahead, Morgan lowered his left wing in a 60 degree bank and flew vertically between the structures.

Needless to say, the attendance at the next cities was quite enthusiastic.
Splashville, located near the end of the park

Pergola, by Hoss Haley, rolling canopy stretching 120 feet, echoing the rhythm of the mountains in the background and appearing to connect the city and county buildings.

Relax, by Kathy Triplett, patterns of the ceramic wall relief reflects several art deco elements found on the City Hall building.

Energy Loop, by Dirk Cruiser, made of COR-TEN steel, the rust color is the natural patina.

Quoted material is from Urban Trail & Public Art Walking Tour brochure and asheville.com/news/bobmorgan


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adham said...

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adham said...

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