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Discover Haywood Park, which was once the Bon Marché, the first high-end department store in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

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Haywood Park, a member of Historic Hotels of America since 2011, dates back to 1923.


A member of Historic Hotels of America since 2011, the Haywood Park is a celebrated landmark in downtown Asheville. This wonderful historic destination originally came to life as a renowned, upscale department store called “Bon Marché” after the Le Bon Marché in Paris. Bon Marché was already a fixture in Asheville at the height of the Gilded Age, solely owned and operated by local entrepreneur Solomon Lipinsky. And much to Lipinsky’s delight, the business greatly prospered since its grand debut during the 1890s. In fact, Bon Marché had expanded so much that it outgrew its original location in just a matter of years. As such, Lipinsky contacted his colleague, a well-known pharmacist named Edwin Wiley Grove, to help develop a new flagship storefront. Grove himself was known throughout the country for his famous “Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic,” which purportedly caused the immediate relief for malaria. He proceeded to construct the new department store on Lipinsky’s behalf, hiring the prestigious architect William Lee Stoddard to lead the project. Stoddard was reputed for his work on several other magnificent historic hotels, including the Winecoff Hotel, the Tutwiler Hotel, and The Georgian Terrace (also a member of Historic Hotels of America). At the corner of Battery Park Avenue and Haywood Street, Stoddard subsequently erected a magnificent four-story structure that displayed the best Classic Revival-style architecture. (Interestingly, Edwin Wiley Grove would later build another famous historic hotel in the area, The Omni Grove Park Inn. It, too, is a member of the organization.)

When the Bon Marché department store finally reopened in 1923, it was received with immense enthusiasm across Asheville. From its new building, Bon Marché directly ushered in a golden age of style and fashion throughout the city. Countless people flocked to Bon Marché in great numbers, making it one of the city’s most favorable social gathering places almost overnight. The store remained inside its new location for the better part of the next two decades, before moving across the street in 1937. By this point, Lewis Lipinsky—Solomon’s son— had assumed control over the department store and desired a more modern home for his family’s business. But the vacated building would not stay empty for long, as another retailer—Ivey’s Department Store—moved into the structure only a few months later. Ivey’s would occupy the old Bon Marché department store for many years thereafter, becoming a staple in downtown Asheville throughout most of the 20th century. Meanwhile, its neighbor, Bon Marché, constantly competed with it for the title of Asheville’s preeminent shopping center. But in 1978, Ivey’s Department Store left the structure, leaving it abandoned for some time. Fortunately, a group of aspiring hoteliers acquired the structure and initiated a series of renovations that transformed it into a boutique hotel called “Haywood Park.” The Haywood Park offers nothing less than the most luxurious guest experience. Its stylish past is also commemorated today in the form of many fashion displays that represent the products the historic Bon Marché would have sold many years ago.

  • About the Location +

    Asheville itself resides at the western edge of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains and is just a short drive away from Pisgah National Forest. The city dates to a small frontier settlement founded by John Burton during the 1790s. Burton decided to name the community as “Morristown,” in honor of American patriot Robert Morris. Yet, Morristown was renamed “Buncombe Courthouse,” before becoming “Asheville” after North Carolina’s governor, Samuel Ashe, in 1797. Many frontiersmen subsequently passed through the region shortly thereafter, including the likes of Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. But Asheville remained incredibly small, numbering only a few thousand residents for decades. And due to the mountainous terrain, only quaint sustenance farms dotted the countryside as opposed to the large plantations that hugged the coast. It even managed to avoid the destruction wrought by the American Civil War, with only a skirmish fought in the vicinity of the city in April of 1865. This all began to change at the onset of the Gilded Age, as the introduction of modern technology led to a prolonged period of industrialization. The spark that began Asheville’s cultural renaissance was the arrival of the Western North Carolina Railroad in 1880. Immediately sold to the Richmond and Danville Railroad Company, it subsequently brought unprecedented numbers of products and people into the region unlike ever before. Textile mills soon became a common sight in Asheville, as were plants that processed various raw materials. This economic growth slowed considerably due to the Great Depression when all the local banks closed, save for a business called “Wachovia.” The silver lining to the calamity was that many of the historic buildings in downtown Asheville remained untouched.

    Today, Asheville is one of the most popular vacation getaways in the South. It is currently home to a number of outstanding cultural attractions, like the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, the Historic Greenwood Village, and the Montford Area Historic District. But perhaps the greatest of these cultural landmarks is the Biltmore Estate. Constructed by the Vanderbilt family during the 1890s, the destination is a beautiful Gilded-Age mansion that is the largest privately-owned house in the United States. The project had specifically been commissioned by George Washington Vanderbilt II, who was a prominent railroad and steamboat magnate toward the end of the 19th century. Architect Richard Morris Hunt designed the structure to resemble a gorgeous French chateau, while the great Frederick Law Olmstead landscaped the 8,000 acres that surrounded the mansion. Measuring at 178,926 square feet, Vanderbilt required a massive workforce to tend to the building. To facilitate such a large body of employees, he constructed the “Biltmore Village,” which had been known at the time as “Best.” The nucleus of this community still exists today, as its sits adjacent to the mansion’s main entrance. The Biltmore Estate is now listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and is recognized by the federal government as a National Historic Landmark. Despite its status as a private residence, the mansion is open to tours for the general public.

  • About the Architecture +

    The Haywood Park features a wonderful blend of Classical Revival-style architecture. Also known as “Neoclassical,” Classic Revival design aesthetics are among the most common architectural forms seen throughout the United States. This wonderful architectural style first became popularized at the World’s Columbian Exposition, which was held in Chicago in 1893. Many of the exhibits displayed architectural motifs from ancient societies like Rome and Greece. As with the equally popular Colonial Revival style of the same period, Classical Revival architect found an audience for its more formal nature. It specifically relied on stylistic design elements that incorporated such structural components like the symmetrical placement of doors and windows, as well as a front porch crowned with a classical pediment. Architects would also install a rounded front portico that possessed a balustraded flat roof. Pilasters and other sculptured ornamentations proliferated throughout the façade of the building, as well. Perhaps the most striking feature of buildings designed with Classical Revival-style architecture were massive columns that displayed some combination of Corinthian, Doric, or Ionic capitals. With its Greco-Roman temple-like form, Classical Revival-style architecture was considered most appropriate for municipal buildings like courthouses, libraries, and schools. Yet, the form found its way into more commercial uses over time, such as banks, department stores, and of course, hotels. The celebrated architectural firm McKim, Meade and White produced some of the most noteworthy buildings that utilized Classical Revival architecture, with most of their work appearing during the early 20th century. Examples of their portfolio can be found throughout many of American’s major cities, including Philadelphia and New York City. They were later joined by many other prominent architects, including the creator of the Haywood Park— William Lee Stoddard.

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