Main Street In Hendersonville

By: Dan Gibbs

Most towns, no matter how large or small, have a Main Street. Main Street in Hendersonville has a unique appearance that has undergone a few reincarnations since the city of Hendersonville was laid out in 1841. 

Henderson County was formed in 1838 and the city of Hendersonville came to be in 1841-1842. Judge Mitchell King, a native of Charleston and a resident of Flat Rock donated 50 acres of land for the county seat of Hendersonville. The site was originally known as “Chinquapin Hill” because of a large grove of Chinquapin trees that grew on the hill. Judge King did not think the land was worth much, but it had a central location in the county, and it was near the Buncombe Turnpike. 

Charles de Choiseul, a native of France and a resident of Flat Rock, was elected to be the first surveyor of Hendersonville. The only stipulation that King made on the donation of the land was that Main Street be 100 feet wide so a horse and buggy could turn around without having to try to back up. 

The most dominant feature of Main Street today is the Historic Henderson County Courthouse with its golden dome (built in 1904-1905) but there are several other historical structures that will catch your attention. Most of the buildings have historical markers on the fronts of the buildings detailing what businesses they have housed for over the past century. Many of the buildings were built before the Civil War and have passed the test of time.  

The former Justus Pharmacy which is now Mike’s on Main with the big Coca-Cola advertisement on the side of the building, the Skyland Barbershop has a 90-year history of cutting hair on Main Street, and McFarland’s Bakery has been in business since 1930. The Justus Pharmacy had the first soda fountain in Hendersonville. My father worked there as a “soda jerk” back in the 1950’s. 

Take a couple of hours and explore the history and the variety of shops and restaurants along Main Street today. Make sure you stop and read the historical markings on the building fronts and take a step back in time. 

The Main Street Historic District was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988 and the application for that can be found online.