This is the latest in a series of profiles highlighting the City of Asheville’s vibrant and diverse neighborhoods. The City of Asheville maintains a list of neighborhoods who have registered as official organizations. Each month we will invite one of these to tell you a little more about the place they call home. If you are not sure if your neighborhood is on our listing, please contact Neighborhood Coordinator Marsha Stickford at email@example.com.
Name of group: Malvern Hills Community Club
Established: November 17, 1949
Location: Malvern Hills neighborhood is located in West Asheville just off Patton Avenue. It is bordered on the east by Bear Creek Road, on the south by Wendover Road, and on the north by School Road.
What qualities make your neighborhood unique?
Our neighborhood history spans nearly a century and includes the construction of the luxury Belmont Hotel, Asheville’s first golf course, and the “medicinal waters” of the Sulphur Springs. Residences were made up of upscale houses that morphed into a middle class neighborhood with well over 200 homes, ranging from small bungalows with smaller yards to medium-sized to large homes with large yards. The architectural styles of homes are quite diverse, dating from the 1940’s all the way to new construction. Additionally, the Bear Creek Apartments on Bear Creek Road offer affordable housing. We have two long-established churches in our neighborhood and we have access to Malvern Hills Park and swimming pool only a couple of blocks away. Malvern Hills is located in an area that offers easy access to Public Safety offices, Vance Elementary School and the public library.
Who are the people that make up your neighborhood?
Our neighborhood is made up of different generations that share the values of community, friendship and stewardship of our area. Asheville natives as well as transplants from all over the country reside here. Retirees, empty nesters and young families with toddlers and school age children can be found at our neighborhood gatherings.
Several long-time and new Asheville business owners, professional and public service people, artists and musicians live in our neighborhood. Some of our residents ages 60 and over are life-long residents of Malvern Hills. We are exceedingly fortunate to have an active community club with excellent leadership.
What is some of your neighborhood’s history?
In 1827 Robert Henry discovered the “medicinal waters” of Sulphur Springs. He and Colonel Deaver built a hotel as an attraction for wealthy low-country planters. The hotel burned. Following the Civil War, the Belmont Hotel was built in the middle of what is now Malvern Hills. This hotel also burned and was never rebuilt. The residential development of Malvern Hills was done by LB Jackson (of the Jackson Bldg. skyscraper fame), Hilliard Greene and O.E. Starnes, Sr. The original residential development plat is on our web-page MalvernHills.Org. The neighborhood was started just before the crash of 1929 and the Depression, so there are two distinct ages of the homes in Malvern Hills: pre 1930 and post 1940. There was a time, back in the 1950’s, when Malvern Hills and the Malvern Hills Presbyterian Church presented one of the community’s first live Nativity scenes and residents decorated every home during the Christmas Season. These events were quite well attended with bumper-to bumper traffic and tour buses.
What role does your neighborhood play as part of Asheville’s community?
Members of our neighborhood play a vital role in the greater Asheville community by being engaged in political and social circles. Malvern Hills is a stable anchor for the west side and our residents are contributors to the overall economy in Asheville through various professions. We have several community leaders that live here and take part in many civic organizations. Many of our residents volunteer regularly in the greater community as well as serve on boards and commissions. Though our neighborhood roads have become “cut-throughs” to the interstate highways and to Patton Avenue, we have fortunately been able to get speed bumps and other traffic calming, which has made this a much safer situation for our residents and everyone using these streets.
What are some of the things you look forward to in the future of your neighborhood?
We look forward to even greater involvement in our neighborhood to work alongside our elected officials to set priorities as a community friendly body. A strong movement is underway to secure a greenway adjacent to our properties. This would preserve the history of our community, preserve the environment and ecosystems including a wetland area, provide enormous educational opportunities and wholesome recreational activities for future generations
Name something that you would like to see to make your neighborhood better.
Sidewalk maintenance, road repairs, and traffic safety controls should remain paramount in order to preserve livability in our neighborhood as well as zoning regulations that protect the family atmosphere here.
The left turn arrow at the traffic light at Patton Avenue and Bear Creek Road needs to be reconfigured to make it functional all the time. A crosswalk and landing pad at the north end of Bear Creek Road, connecting to a sidewalk along School Road, would increase public safety and make a safe walkway for pedestrians who are crossing the large, five-way intersection with Patton Avenue.
We would also like to see more participation from homes in the neighborhood with the Community Club and community events and to connect with families through electronic access.