Walk of Fame markers in; nominations open for ’18


Nominations are due in over a month, on Sept. 8. They opened last week. Already, by last week’s end, a half-dozen applications were filled and submitted and many more people called organizer Tom Orr, the historian and retired teacher said.

Contributions need to have “lasting impact on the quality of life” of locals. Fields include agriculture, business, cultural arts, education, government, human services, industry, medicine, and religion.

Essays are crucial to getting a nominated person chosen by the Selection Committee. The nominator should write up to three double-spaced pages of information about the nominee and his/her local impact.

This should include what the “significant contributions” are to local residents’ “quality of life,” and how it is significant and long-lasting. This involves making “major investments of time, energy, expertise or resources for the public good,” according to nomination guidelines.

The 2017 inductees’ immense and sustained impacts were each chronicled in the May 11 Hendersonville Tribune, after the banquet in their honor May 7 at Carolina Village.

Earlier that day, a ceremony dedicated the markers’ site off by the Azalea public parking lot of King Street between Third and Fourth Avenues. Sticks were in the ground, in lieu of the markers. Families of honorees and the public attended.

The commemorative granite markers were spread out along the sidewalk, earlier this month. They are embedded into the ground, extending horizontally. The marker for each honoree has the person’s name, date of birth and death if deceased, and a one-word classification such as “government” for elected officials or “communications” which is for radio personality Kermit Edney.

Walk of Fame Steering Cmte. Chr. Tom Orr, the force behind the project, told The Tribune he foresees flowers to further beautify and “embellish the area. We want to make the Walk of Fame so interesting and charming, that people want to take that walk.” Orr hopes as budgeting permits, the City of Hendersonville puts up a sign or banner and historic preservation marker to identify the landscaped area as the Walk of Fame.

This would also clarify that the honorees are not buried beneath those markers. “We don’t want someone to stumble onto that walk, and think they’re in a graveyard,” Orr said. “We want to present the stones in a way to educate about these people to come alive to future generations,” and to spark interest among people walking by or who find out about the outdoor exhibit.

The Walk of Fame will likely be promoted and explained in rack cards in the Visitor’s Center, and can be a traveling exhibit and video/slide show in schools and civic clubs, Orr envisions.

A major plan is to have a Q.R. chip embedded into each marker, that on a smart phone can activate a link to a biography about the person, Orr noted. Such chips are becoming more prevalent in cemeteries. Dr. Amy Pace, among other early project organizers, pointed to the chip as a supreme feature. The steering committee will discuss the chips and decide whether to authorize them, at its meeting in August.

There is room for the second Walk of Fame class, at Azalea. After that, the sites may be at various points across Downtown. Generally, markers will be embedded within new sidewalk as it is put in across the downtown area. This substantially saves costs to wait for the next sidewalk project, rather than tear up existing sidewalk. But at the Azalea lot, there was room to put them in beside and along the existing sidewalk.

“We’ll learn as we go along,” Orr said. “We won’t be chained to an approach, if we find a better way.”

Markers were purposely not placed in alphabetical. Nor were they grouped together by profession. Placement was more random and left up to City Public Works Dir. Tom Wooten, Orr noted.

“We’re searching ways to give life to the name on the stone, for generations to come,” Orr said. “Most don’t know who (Judge) C.M. Pace was. Even someone as popular as Kermit Edney” might become less familiar in time “unless we remind people why he and others are so outstanding. We established a base, for a very wonderful living history experience for people who come to Hendersonville or already live here.”

The initial class was extra-large in part to gain more visual impact, Orr reasoned. However, the committee’s guideline is to limit choices to five to 10 more honorees each year.

Orr said this is his last year on the steering committee. Dr. Pace has stepped down as planned, after the crucial first year. She was the catalyst in getting Carolina Village to put on the banquet at no charge, so proceeds could fully benefit the historical project, Orr noted. He said, “We have a superb committee. They all carried their load.”

Madeline Royes takes Pace’s place. She joins Virginia Gambill, commissioner Mike Edney, Orr and Kaye Youngblood. Edney is expected to announce at the Aug. 7 county meeting if he continues.

“We accomplished a lot,” Orr said of the steering committee, which planned the project last year. The initial class was announced last December, during Orr’s benefit historic play. Orr is proud the play then banquet raised enough money so the project ended the fiscal year June 20 with about $5,000. That is $2,000 beyond the $3000 seed money, split evenly from city and county government.

Walk of Fame nomination forms can be obtained online at Or people can get them in person, from City Hall (clerk’s office, first floor) or the Henderson County clerk’s office on the Historic Courthouse’s first floor.

They should be emailed or mailed. They can go either to City Clerk Tammie Drake ( at 145 Fifth Ave. E. or to County Clerk Terry Wilson ( at 1 Historic Courthouse Sq., Suite 1. Both addresses are Hendersonville, N.C. 28792.

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