University of North Carolina at Asheville
D. Hiden Ramsey Library
Special Collections/University Archives

Oral History Register

Katharine Bynum Shepard

Interview Two

Voices of Asheville Oral History Collection
D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNCA


Katharine Bynum Shepard Oral History - Two


Dorothy Joynes for Voices of Asheville Oral History Collection


Shepard, Katherine Bynum
Asheville (N.C.) -- History
Depressions -- 1929 -- North Carolina -- Asheville
Dairy farms -- North Carolina


:Longchamps Apartments ; Girl Scouts ; AAUW ; Junior League ; Dairy farms ; Sinking fund ; VA Hospital ; St. Genevieve's of the Pines ; Rhododendron Festival ; Grove Arcade ; Tuberculosis


Abstract: Shepard discusses her education and her involvement with the Girl Scouts.  She describes her work with Junior League projects. Her mother was active in AAUW projects, and Mrs. Shepard describes her own activities in the organization. She was president of the AAUW in Aurora, Illinois, for two years, and a fellowship was given in her name. Her father owned a dairy business, and she describes dairying, Valkerie Farms, Hans Pondoppidan (also known as Hans Broby), and the connection between the local milk supply and the Veterans Administration Hospital in Oteen outside Asheville. She discusses her father's involvement with the Sinking Fund in the 1930s, and other aspects of city finances both then and during later periods. Her father's membership in other organizations is also discussed. The construction of the family's Norman-style house on Macon Avenue is described, along with the subsequent building of the Longchamps Apartments. Various aspects of tuberculosis treatment and local sanitariums are discussed. She describes the tenure of her great-grandfather, William Preston Bynum, as Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, and discusses her grandfather, William Shipp Bynum, who was rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in Fletcher, N.C. Her father was the author of a book titled, Destiny, and the Curtis Bynum Memorial Collection at the UNC Asheville library was established in his name.


D. H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville, NC, 28804


Katharine Bynum Shepard


Electronic Record Issued: 2002-05-14


Sound ; Text ; Image


Physical Description: 1 6-page abstract ; 2 90-minute audiocassettes and 2 copies ; CD copies; 6 color photographs ; newspaper articles and brochures, TRANSCRIPT







References: none


1930's-1992 ; Asheville, NC
Rights No restrictions: Copyright retained by the authors of certain items in the collection or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.


Donor number: 146 ;  Date of acquisition: 1998

Processed By

Dorothy Joynes, Ruth Beard and staff

Interview Date


Interview Location

81 Horizon Hill Road, Asheville, NC


Mrs. Shepard attended school on Charlotte Street [in a building which later became the Jewish Community Center until its demolition in February 1993], St. Genevieve's, and Asheville High School. Mrs. Shepard became interested in scouting while at summer camp in Brevard, and worked with a troop in Asheville for three summers. She started a scout group again in 1931 when she returned from college, and has maintained a life-long interest in the Girl Scouts. She has maintained membership since 1924. She was in the court of the Rhododendron Festival, and joined the Junior League and the American Association of University Women (AAUW) in September 1931. She was president of the AAUW in Aurora, Illinois, for two years, and a fellowship was given in her name.

List of names

[1/203] Battle, Dr. S. Westray
[2/423] Bynum, Curtis
[2/355] Bynum, Florence
[1/251] [2/207] Bynum, William
[2/125] Coolidge, Calvin
[1/335] Green, Ronald
[1/227] Grove, Dr. Edwin W.
[1/12] James, Mrs.
[1/436] Ketcham, Arabella [?]
[1/113] Marcellus
[2/93] McClure, James (Jim)
[2/385] Monk, Mother
[1/335] Rogers, Stewart
[1/1] Snap, Norma
[1/203] Watson, Mrs.

Side 1:

[1/4]  This is the anniversary of her engagement.  She was interviewed by Norma Snap in 1989 (see photo).

[1/12]  She graduated in 1931 and joined the Junior League, working in the Baby Home on Merrimon Ave (later home for Asheville Biltmore College).  A grant of $15,000 was given to build the home but this was lost due to the Depression.  A request was made and another $15,000 was given from a trust.  The first baby was named for Mrs. James.  Later when Katharine was in Florida she learned that some "adopted" babies were being sold.  The policy was changed. [Mrs. James]

[1/100]  The Arcade is described with its gift shops and business offices.

[1/113]  She started to work with Girl Scouts while in college and revived it when she returned (see enclosure).  A pet show was held on the top of the Arcade.  The renewed city interest is described. [Marcellus]

[1/203]  The old Battery Park Hotel drew local residents as well as vacationers.  People let their servants go and closed their houses and spent summer months.  Later people went to Maggie Valley. [Dr. Battle treated Mrs. W. H. Vanderbilt for malaria. As the area fascinated her son, he returned to build the Biltmore House.  The street in front of the new Battery Park Hotel was named, by Grove, in his honor - see Asheville: The Tuberculosis Era by Irby Stephens M.D. 9/85 North Carolina Medical Journal] [Dr. S. Westray Battle, Mrs. Watson]

[1/227]  It is said that the Battery Park Hill was lowered in order to build a "skyscraper" as a memorial to Dr. Grove who was flattered at the prospect.  The dust from scooping dirt covered areas of the city for a year. [Dr. Edwin W. Grove]

[1/251]  Her brother was drawn to the fire which consumed the partly demolished building and the man he was with was killed. [William Bynum]

[1/298]  Because of bank failure the arcade was not completed as planned.

[1/318]  The George Vanderbilt and Battery Park Hotels were once the center of social and business life.  They are now used for older residents.

[1/335]  When it was proposed that an apartment building be constructed on Macon Ave. residents signed petitions to stop the plan.  It was only after it was agreed that the architectural plans follow the design of the Bynum house that it went through [Longchamps Apartments].  People do not realize that there were sleeping porches on the front (the enclosed picture shows a woman shaking a rug out) and most of the houses had outside porches.  Even after patients were cured of TB they did not dare move to lower altitudes. [Ronald Green, Stewart Rogers]

[1/436]  Outdoor schools are described. [Arabella Ketcham: In Eleanor Stephen's abstract, the teacher's name is spelled Arabelle Kitchin.  Unable to verify.]

[1/514]  Sanatoriums were not allowed inside city limits.  Doctors came in on stretchers, recovered, and remained to practice.

Side 2:

[2/7]  She reviews story about her father's dairy which was ultimately responsible for the situation of the Oteen Hospital (see tape I, side 2 #158 by Norma Snap).

[2/93]  The Farmers Federation was formed and the system her father instituted was continued.  Her father sold his farm to the National Dairies in 1927.  At the Valkyrie Dairy on Leicester Highway "the people were pasteurized rather than the milk" (see enclosure). [Jim McClure]

[2/152]  The Bynums became and remained Republicans because their grandfather was Chief Justice of North Carolina who was determined to have a two-party state.  She voted Republican in 1932. [Calvin Coolidge]

[2/207]  The effect of the Civil Rights Act on Asheville is discussed. [William Bynum (her brother)]

[2/231]  Household help during the Depression (also see tape 1, side 2 #303) and today described.

[2/329]  The National Education Fellowship Fund in Aurora was given in her name.  She was president of the AAUW there for 2 years.  

[2/355]  Her mother was the 2nd president of the AAUW in Asheville.  The city wanted to name the Claxton School for her as she was the first woman in NC to be on a school board. [Florence Bynum]

[2/385]  She attended St. Genevieve's. [Mother Mabel Monk]

[2/423]  Her father died in 1964 before the city bond-burning ceremony in 1976 but is given credit (see enclosure) for his leadership.  He also wrote Destiny, and books are given in his name to the UNCA Library (see enclosure). [Curtis Bynum]


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