Life Under The Magnolia


Clare Hanrahan, a.k.a. mariahsage, continues to chronicle the Magnolia vigil at her blog, Asheville on the Ground.  I love reading her daily tales of who’s come down there to support the vigilant.  A couple of fun excerpts:

“We have allies in many unexpected places and many are outside the usual circle of folks in the “activist community.” A man wearing a “juror” tag around his neck had heard about the Magnolia Watch and wanted to sign the petition.

“I don’t like the idea that it [the sale of parkland] was done on the quiet,” he said.


“A young and much tattooed woman came over. After a while she identified herself as a member of the Downtown Commission. That body voted in favor of the Parkside development, so I was somewhat surprised when she told us, “Saying thank you doesn’t seem like enough.”

She was obviously conflicted about her role on the commission. She excused her vote in favor of the condominiums by saying, “When you become a member, you agree to play by the rules.”

If you haven’t been down to the park land to sign the petition, you ought to go and sit for a while in the shade of that old tree. The conversation is always sparkling, and the cause needs you.

Categories : Action, Local, Parkside


  1. Gordon Smith says:

    In the frenzied days of July, I must have missed this excellent piece at Jennifer Saylor’s blog:

    Why I Oppose Parkside


    “1. I oppose the Parkside development because it involves the sale of public parkland to a private developer, with no input from the public.

    Low-profile sale of public property is a bad practice I will not support or ignore.:

  2. Gordon Smith says:

    This just hit the wires:

    Urgent Press Conference: Magnolia Tree, Noon, Thursday, August 7th In Front Of Asheville City Hall

    Parkside Condominiums opponents will hold a press conference tomorrow at noon, Thursday August 7th in front of Asheville City Hall to release the contents of a letter threatening to kill the magnolia tree and demolish the nearby historic Hayes & Hobson building within a newly specified time period. The letter was hand-delivered to Coven Oldenwilde on Tuesday by Parkside developer Stewart Coleman.

    Magnolia tree watchers will respond to the letter by outlining their new plans to reject Coleman’s ultimatum and save the tree and the building.

  3. Jennifer S. says:

    Hey Gordon, thanks for the link!

    I’ve spent a few afternoons under the magnolia during the Coleman reign, and it really is a good time. There’s an ever-changing cast of characters there from people on the fringes of society to dog-walking yuppies to old-timers with a wealth of downtown history to share. I learned a lot about Asheville just from hanging out and listening.

    I really recommend a visit to the magnolia, not so much to protest as to check out an eclectic scene. It’s not a hippie campfire. It’s a mix of many kinds of Asheville elements, beliefs and people.

    As we sat under the magnolia one day I told Clare that Scrutiny Hooligans was the brain of the anti-Parkside movement and she and her writings were its heart. It made her smile. It’s true.

  4. Jennifer S. says:

    RE: Comment #2 — WHAT?????? Will you please post that to Blog Asheville?

  5. Jon Elliston says:

    The text of Coleman’s letter about the timeframe for the tree removal is now up on the Mountain Xpress site:

  6. Jennifer S. says:

    Jon, thanks for the prompt and thorough coverage; it’s really appreciated.

  7. bobaloo says:

    What are they going to do, chain themselves to it?
    Unless they file suit, which I can’t imagine they have the grounds for, whatever their “response” is will be meaningless.

  8. shadmarsh says:

    Framing this issue as though it is Lady Moonpie and et al (or whatever it is that she goes by–and I know they mean well) Vs Coleman obfuscates the real issue(s): bad government.

  9. Gordon Smith says:

    Misfeasance by the County government is a real issue and so is Mr. Coleman’s contempt for the broad opposition, Shad. So far these groups + 7,000 petition signers oppose this project:

    The Asheville Downtown Association
    The Asheville Tree Commission
    Asheville’s Democracy For America
    People Advocating Real Conservancy
    Mountain Voices Alliance
    Buncombe County Democratic Party
    The Editorial Board of the Asheville Citizen-Times
    Buncombe County Green Party
    Asheville City Council
    Buncombe County Commissioners in a recent resolution
    Western North Carolina Alliance
    The Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County
    Pack Square Conservancy
    and… Coven Oldenwilde.