Sunday, November 11, 2007

Flat Iron Building, Asheville, N.C.

Click above for a larger image

Above is a photo of a square in Asheville, N. C., with the Flat Iron building on the right (6X9 cm, Tri-X). The sculpture, center left, is an upturned Flat Iron. At the time I took the photo, a woman, sitting in the handle of the iron, was singing opera to her child, who is hidden by the Iron. The Flat Iron building was inspired by the same named building in New York City, which is an unusual piece of architecture built to fit a confluence of angular streets.

I really liked Asheville. It was a bit like the Downtown in Charlottesville (in spirit), although without a large common area like the Mall in C-vlle. It has lots of Art Deco buildings, some of which are quite exotic, and surprising for a small city in the mountains of North Carolina. That’s where their unusual history comes in. It was misfortune that preserved the city.

The railroad was first built South, and then West, through the area. That made it the logical first stop for travelers going on the long route. This brought unprecedented capital and expansion. Many of the trademark buildings were built in that era. However, the railroads built other more efficient routes. Then, the Great Depression struck, and Asheville had the highest per-capita debt for a city. It chose to pay that debt, but it took 50 years.

So, these buildings stood, free of the wrecker ball and modernization. They stood long enough to become cherished examples of historic architecture.

I was getting around town by bus, and dragging a tripod and the Plaubel Pro Shift. I took this shot while waiting for the bus.

It was a summer visit, and the city had a outdoor showing of a silent movie, with live piano providing the musical score. I'd love to return and take more night shots.

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