(Editor’s note: History buffs Ann Melton and Alex McKay teamed up to look at Waynesville’s Main Street and offer photos of how the buildings used to look decades ago.)
Some buildings are still standing, while other buildings, including the grand historic hotels that once lined the streets where businesses are now, are long gone.
Here’s a look at the west side of Main Street and how it used to be.
16 S. Main St. — On the corner of Church Street is Waynesville’s Town Hall. It was once the post office built in 1917. The original street lamps of the period are still at the front and east side of the building.
114 Church St. (ca. 1927) is the beautiful brick Neoclassical Revivla style Masonic Hall, a full three stories in height with a mezzanine above the third floor. Designed by William H. Peeps of Charlotte, North Carolina, it was constructed by W.C. Phillips, a local builder.
The third floor is now The Grand Ballroom or event center.
In an adjoining building that is now a parking lot, was the office of Dr. Guy Abbate. In this building a security guard, Mr. Setzer, who found that a window was broken, went into the building to investigate and was struck with a paint can and killed. Dr. Abbate went to the office later that morning to review surgical charts and discovered Mr. Setzer’s body draped with the American flag.
Dr. Guy Abbate is still living and is in Haywood County.
11 N. Main St. (ca. 1924) is located on the corner of Church Street and built by Dr. Smathers. In the 1940s, this building was in use as Alexander’s Drug Store, which was a hangout for Waynesville’s youth the telephone office, doctors’ offices and a jewelry store.
This building was known by locals as Gunn’s corner. Today it is in use as The Kitchen Shop and Green Hill Gallery.
55-63 N. Main Street (ca. 1937) was the former home site of Dr. H. M. Rogers. After his death, the building was purchased by the Massie family, who built the block of buildings. Today it is in use as Mast General Store.
Where shoes are now sold was once the concession stand for the Park Theatre, which was run by Roy Moseman, a blind man. In the 1940s and 1950s the Toggery was located here.
The building at 101 N. Main St. was built in 1894 by J. Reece Lewis and C. S. White. Mr. White was one of Waynesville’s first plumbers. He lived in a large house behind the store. Today it is in use as Burl Furniture Gallery.
At the turn of the century the building was divided and half of it became a hardware store; the other half Boone’s Grocery. Mr. Boone started the Waynesville Courier in the storeroom in the back. It later became The Mountaineer.
At some point one half of the building became the Victory Theatre. There was a contest to name the theater, and because the war had just ended it was named the Victory.
111 N. Main St. was built in the late 1800s by Birchwood as D.A. Howell’s General Merchandise Store. In 1938 it was leased to Smith’s Drug Store. Today a restaurant named Birchwood Hall occupies the space.
113 N. Main St., built by William H. Lord, is one of the most unusual buildings on Main Street. The Romanesque Revival style one-story river-rock building was opened in 1903 as the First National Bank. In 1916, it merged with The Commercial Bank.
Later, the Waynesville Library raised money to buy the building by issuing stock. Today it is the home of Wildflower Blue bakery.
143 N. Main St. is a small red brick building, now L. N. Davis. It was designed by renowned Asheville architect Richard Sharp Smith for Dr. Rufus Allen’s medical office. Dr. Allen practiced medicine in Waynesville for 45 years and was the county coroner. The building is the first and last surviving early commercial building on Main Street. To the right of this building was Dr. Allen’s colonial-style mansion.
The current Haywood County Historic Courthouse was completed in 1932. The first courthouse was built in 1812. The semi-circular sidewalk at the front of the building is original. Where the new Justice Center now stands once stood the LeFaine Hotel, previously known as the Windsor Hotel.
On the corner of Walnut Street now stands the First Presbyterian Church established in 1895 and built in 1907. It replaced an 1882 Victorian-era frame church. The current church has paired leaded-glass side windows flanked by narrow buttresses and a rear porch entry that has detailed wooden Gothic arches, which provide a sheltered walkway.