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Beaucatcher Mountain Cut

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PSABC plans an informative talk on the Beaucatcher Mountain Cut … at a renowned Beaucatcher estate: Zealandia. Two longtime Asheville preservationists, Robert Griffin and Betty Lawrence, will discuss the bumpy road that led to the open cut through the mountain and the foundation for an Interstate Highway. The story involves progress and preservation, and an engineering feat that had a huge impact on a place … in fact many places, one being Zealandia Castle, built atop Beaucatcher in 1908 and the venue for this special lecture.

Without doubt, the Beaucatcher Cut on the mountain’s signature eastern edge required give and take on all sides. What was a two-lane tunnel in the 1920s had become a bottleneck as Asheville boomed, and road expansion called for new tunnels. These plans evolved into a huge open-road cut which halved the mountain and eventually became today’s I-240. The project removed 300 million cubic yards of mountain granite, Asheville’s first Art Museum and the original entrance to Zealandia. Griffin and Lawrence will discuss the how and why’s of this often discussed and debated chapter in Asheville’s history.

“The Beaucatcher project was an enormous endeavor, and there were two themes at play here, progress and preservation,” says Kieta Osteen-Cochrane, Education Committee Chair. “Both big, important ideas then and now.”

This lecture is scheduled Saturday, November 7th at 2pm at the Zealandia Estate, 40 Vance Gap Road on Beaucatcher Mountain (south of the cut). Attendance is open to all. Generous sponsors include Terry and Ted Van Duyn, Festiva Hospitality Group, Butch & Kathy Patrick and Clark Communications.

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