Chamber of Commerce Building

Erle Stillwell, architect


Hendersonville, Henderson County
Street Address:

5th Ave., Hendersonville, NC





Images Published In:

William Mitchell, Buildings as History: The Architecture of Erle Stillwell. A Descriptive Catalogue of His Drawings in the Henderson County Public Library (2006).


At the apex of the real estate boom, Hendersonville’s chamber of commerce commissioned plans for a grand skyscraper that epitomized the town’s success and prospects. Stillwell’s drawings show a sequence of ever taller designs, the last of which reached more than 10 stories. Working drawings were made, and the basement was excavated and foundations were laid before the Florida land boom collapsed and with it the boom it had fed in western N.C. towns. Construction on the ambitious building stopped before it rose any higher; eventually some small buildings were erected atop the basement. Another ambitious scheme in the area ended by the Florida crash was the Fleetwood Hotel at nearby Laurel Park, a still taller building planned by architects Henry Irvin Gaines and Beacham and LeGrand of Asheville, had reached a full 13 stories in height before construction stopped, and it was torn down in 1936 and its plumbing fixtures and other materials reused throughout the area.