Asheville City Auditorium

Lindsey M. Gudger, architect; Zeb V. Robinson, Robinson Brothers, contractors


Asheville, Buncombe County
Street Address:

87 Haywood St.






The Art Deco-influenced auditorium, which made extensive use of structural concrete, was built with the assistance of the federal Public Works Administration. The front was a solid monolith of concrete and the remaining walls were of Etowah brick. At its dedication, the Asheville Citizen-Times of January 6, 1940, carried a long, illustrated, front-page article about the building, which was deemed “the last word in municipal auditorium development” with special attention to acoustics. Planned to seat about 3,500 people, it had cost $247,000, of which the PWA had contributed $102,000, citizen fundraising $70,000, and the rest from the city treasury. It resulted from a long campaign for such a facility, a special achievement in a city hard hit by the Great Depression; the report emphasized that the building was debt-free. A photograph showed the architect, the contractors, and PWA officials inspecting the new building, with Gudger on the extreme left.

Elements of that auditorium were retained as part of the Asheville Civic Center (1970-1974), designed by architect John Cort, who in 1967 joined the firm Gudger had established.