Saluda creates new historic committee

Published 1:02 pm Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Following a public outcry from residents, the City of Saluda has formed a historic committee that plans to lead preservation efforts beginning with the restoration of city hall.

The committee has established a survey to get input from residents regarding what they want for the citys future.

The historic committees logo is preserving Saludas past for its future, and the committee includes Chair Lynn Cass, co-chair Cindy Tuttle and members Martha Ashley, Jack Coates, Charlene Pace, Greaton Sellers and Gloria Testerman.

The committee was formed following a meeting called for by Tuttle in April. Tuttle, a part-time resident who is a descendant of a few of Saludas founding families, including her great-great grandfather, Ransom Woodruff Pace, says she was concerned after hearing that Thompsons Store and Wards Grill were closing and met with the Saluda Business Association, elected officials and a few others to see what could be done.

Another meeting was held in May that was more widely publicized and open to the public.

The Saluda Board of Commissioners approved the historic committee in June. The committee has met a few times and established a city hall restoration committee to begin efforts to restore city hall. Immediate needs at the city hall/police department include window and floor repairs.

The Saluda City Hall/Police Department building was built between 1897-1906, which was once the Carolina State Bank.

Following is an article submitted by Tuttle about the committee.

The Historic Saluda Committee was formed as a direct result of a public outcry from part-time Saluda resident, Cindy Stephenson Tuttle. Tuttle indicated her motivation stems from being a descendant of a few of Saludas founding families, including her great, great grandfather, Ransom Woodruff&bsp; Pace, once active in Saluda affairs, who was the grandson of Burrell Pope Pace who settled Paces Gap, which later became Saluda. Tuttle is also the granddaughter of the late Joseph Raymond Stephenson, Sr., State Senator representing Polk County in the 1950s and 60s, who was also active in civic affairs in Polk County and Saluda in many capacities. &bsp;

When it was announced that Thompsons Store and Wards Grill were closing, out of concern Tuttle called a meeting in April 2010 of the Saluda Business Association and elected officials to see what could be done. It became apparent that the potential threat to preserving Saludas historical integrity expanded beyond Thompsons. Tuttle called a second meeting in May 2010 that was more widely publicized and open to the public. At this meeting, Tuttle asked for support from the community and elected officials to address historic preservation issues. Since Tuttle is a part-time resident and works full-time in another city, she asked that someone who resides in Saluda full-time take the lead. In June 2010, the Saluda City Commissioners formally embraced the request by forming a Historic Saluda Committee and appointed a seven member panel. Lynn Cass of Saluda was appointed to chair the committee.

Luckily, within a couple of months of that meeting, Clark Thompson, a Saluda native and cousin of Charlie Ward (the original proprietor who is now deceased) and Judy Ward, Charlie Wards widow, bought back the store and grill. With the realization that the situation with Thompsons Store and Wards Grill could have gone very differently, city officials and committee members agreed that steps need to be put in place to protect the historical integrity of Saluda. Though the business district of downtown Saluda is already on the National Register of Historic Places, this does not ensure protection of the individual historic structures. According to Tuttle, We were fortunate that Mayor Baisden and the City Commissioners saw the need for a committee to make recommendations and carry out historic preservation initiatives. It looks like the restoration of Saludas City Hall and an oral history project may be the first items on our agenda.

The appointed committee members are Lynn Cass, Chair; Cindy Tuttle, Co-Chair; and members Martha Ashley, Jack Coates, Charlene Pace, Greaton Sellers, Gloria Testerman.

Lynn Cass and her husband Mike started vacationing in Saluda in 1988. In 2000, they purchased a home and moved there permanently from Macon, Georgia in 2009. While in Macon, Lynn was the co-founder and publisher of Macon Magazine for 15 years and was the Executive Director of the Macon Arts Alliance the last six years she was in Macon.&bsp; She served on the boards and as chairman of Historic Macon Foundation and Hay House and was on the Design Review Board for the Planning and Zoning Commission for the City of Macon.

Cindy Tuttle, a lifelong visitor and part-time resident of Saluda since 2008, has been the Executive Director for Stokes Partnership for Children, a non-profit Smart Start organization in King, NC, for the past 8 years and previously was the Executive Director of the Stokes County Arts Council. She currently serves on the Appearance Commission for the City of King. Tuttle is a contributing writer for Saluda Lifestyles, an e-magazine published by Cathy Jackson Realty.

From the committee meetings that have been held thus far, many project ideas have been suggested. In order to narrow the focus of the committee, a survey has been created to receive public input. Anyone that that resides in Saluda full-time or part-time or anyone that visits Saluda may complete the survey.

It can be accessed at www.saludalifestyles.com. Any questions or ideas may be sent to Cindy Tuttle at cindystuttle@gmail.com.