When I Was 69

When I Was 69
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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Then and now downtown Black Mountain

More old buildings to post about today.

This is an early photo of a building which still stands today in downtown Black Mountain.


"Along the north side of West State Street is the Kaltman building, a series of eight similar store fronts constructed in 1928 by Samuel Kaltman, a clothing manufacturer from New York who came to the area in 1921 for his health. By 1926, along with his wife, Bessie, he was a leading developer in Black Mountain controlling about half of the real estate in Black Mountain’s downtown business section. Besides the Kaltman building he also built a garage and store building at the corner of State and Cherry Street. Kaltman died of a stroke in 1938 in his shop on Church Street where he made men’s trousers. These store fronts have been home to a wide variety of businesses since their construction including a drug store, hardware store, grocery, meat market, tea company, barber shop, cupcake shop, wine market, and running store.  (Source: Swannanoa Valley Museum and History Center post on Facebook, Jan 15, 2019.)

2018 view - The Merry Wine Market on left, the Vertical Runner, then Kitchen Emporium, then Hey Hey Cupcake...and I think a hair salon is next.  The Kaltman engraved stone is still visible on the edge of the center part of the building.  I'm also impressed that there are still trees in the background, and some may be the same ones that were there 90 years ago.  Obviously the canvass awnings have been replaced!

My photo of the shops in the same building in 2013.

In the postcard below, the same building is shown, and a white gas station at the far end, which is across Montreat Rd.  The 7up sign is on the wall of a taller building that abutts Kaltman's building. In the first photo (around 1928-30) Standard Oil was using that wall for its sign.
"In 1927, the gas station at the corner of Montreat Rd. and State Street, the site of Black Mountain's town square, pumped more gasoline than any other station in North Carolina. The New Theatre, just to the east on state Street was renamed the Pix, and was managed by Lee Hiltz's stepson Laddie Terrell.  It closed in the 1960s. (Source: Swannanoa Valley, by history museum.)

I admit to having no idea who Lee Hiltz or her/his stepson Laddie Terrell were.  That gas station was gone by the time I moved here in 2007...but there was just a parking lot where now a nice Town Square has been established. (And we haven't had a movie theater since I moved here either.)


In 2014 I took this photo looking south along Montreat Rd. The signal lights are at State Street, where if you turn right you'd see the Kaltman building on your right, and to the left in this photo all those blue awnings are part of Tyson Furniture.  But closer to where I was, you can see some greenery next to the sidewalk, and that was the early stages of the Town Square.

Below you can see the beginning of the Women's March in Black Mountain in January 2018.  It began in the Town Square, and I'm standing close to the bench in the foreground in a grey coat, hands in my pockets looking at the camera.


I'm sharing this post with Sepia Saturday this week.

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share history through old photographs.


We're always looking for others to share their old (or not so old) photos with the Sepia Saturday folks.  Come link to your post, give a comment and join us!

15 comments:

  1. Hello,

    I like to see the before and after photos of these buildings. The clock in the last photo is cool. Love the pretty rainbow too. I am just catching up with my blogging comments after being away. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day and the weekend ahead.

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  2. Welcome back Eileen...as I commented on your blog as well. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Wonderful before and after comparisons. I haven't done too much of that, but on occasion.

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  4. I enjoy before and after photos too. I belong to a FB group that posts Tallahassee "then and now" photos and it's always fun to see them.

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  5. William, I hope you do some "then and now" posts. I also volunteer at the Swannanoa History Museum, which is a source of many old photos of the area. I'm enjoying that I've been recording local scenes as well, so I'm ready for things like this.
    Lois, having lived in Tallahassee in the 70s, I look forward to seeing some of your posts. Can you give me a link to the other site?

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  6. Wonderful photos! Black Mountain is such a charming town!

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  7. I think I'd like to shop in that friendly-looking center - and a lovely rainbow would be a bonus! Nice post. :)

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  8. Vicki, I know, and remember meeting you here for coffee once!
    Gail - it certainly is a nice place to shop, lots of mom & pop type stores, as well as touristy ones, as well as specialties like knitting or quilting. Lots of good restaurants, but not much night life!

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  9. “Then and now” photigraohs have a special appeal to me. I am working with my local heritage group on producing similar images for an exhibition, and visitors seem to like them too.

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  10. I love to see Then and Now photos. Surprisingly, most of the shops look pretty much the same even though awnings and owners keep changing. Where I live, hardly anything looks like it used to.

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  11. Sue, that's great to hear that you all will soon have a similar photo assembly. I sure hope you share it with us!
    Wendy, yes, things here have that quality of little change. Unfortunatley (I think) our politicians have allowed a new development to purchase some prime land around the corner, which will supposedly keep some of this "old town" feel, but will be shops and condos. I'm not hoding my breath.

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  12. A wonderful post on small town history! It's proof that when urban preservation is done right these old shopping strips can retain their charm for many generations even though the shops and cafes change. Modern suburban big box malls can't do that. Sadly not every small town can achieve what Black Mountain has done. Maybe you should do a contrasting post on the decline of Old Fort, NC.

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  13. Thanks for the suggestion Mike, but I'm going to pass...not having many photos of Old Fort, nor access to the historic photos. There is already one big string of shops here in Black Mountain that are owned by one company (Tyson Furniture) which is a block long, and even goes around the corner. Many of us cringed when Starbucks built its own building near the interstate.

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  14. Like everyone else, I too, like before and after photos! Our town, now large city, had been very good about preservation of old buildings, but more and more old haunts are disappearing. The photo from the Women's March fits nicely on this weekend as well!

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  15. Hi Kathy...thanks for the comment and especially catching the Women's March anniversary. But I didn't march this year...the weather was not ok for me.

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Hi, I'm glad to publish your comments. Let's keep it civil, shall we?