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Ask Matt ... about The Cedars

The Cedars. The Cedars.

Q. Do they use the upper floors of The Cedars? I’ve only seen the first floor.

I am told by Tommy Shipman, who operates The Cedars and the Chariot next door, that the last residents of the upper floors of the old hotel were...raccoons.
The Cedars is a four-story meeting and banquet hall that occupies the corner of Buncombe Street and Seventh Avenue East in downtown Hendersonville. It has 30 bedrooms on the upper floors but none are used. The fourth floor has five bedrooms but only one bath. There is an old elevator that Shipman says is about four feet-by-four feet. It may still work but it won’t meet today’s building code.
Built in 1914 by the wife of Southern Railway President J.W. Bailey, the old hotel has been in the Shipman family since 1976. During the 10 years before the Shipmans bought it, the structure was unheated and suffered significant deterioration. It took two years to refurbish the first floor, which was opened as a private catering house in 1980. Today the facility can seat a wedding party of 100 and with the porch and grounds it can accommodate 300 guests.
When I asked Tommy Shipman about the future of the Cedars he smiled and said, “If I had the wherewithal, I would keep the Cedars but clear the rest of the site that includes the Chariot meeting place and the one-story office building. I would then build a new 75-room hotel that would physically connect to the Cedars.”
Oh, about the raccoons. With the help of some bait, they were “relocated” from the Cedars second floor to an undisclosed squirrel refuge in Mills River. Shipman said the job was made easier with bananas. Who knew?

Q. How did the primary election results here in Henderson County compare with the state?

For president, the top four Republican finishers in order here in Henderson County were Cruz, Trump, Kasich and Rubio. Statewide it was Trump, Cruz, Kasich, and Rubio. Henderson County Democrats chose Sanders over Clinton while statewide Clinton beat Sanders in a close race. In Henderson County, incumbent Sen. Richard Burr garnered 53 percent of the vote among four candidates but fared better statewide, collecting 61 percent. Sixty-three percent of county voters supported the public improvement bonds, which was slightly less than the 66 percent that voted for the bonds statewide. A link on the county Board of Elections website shows all primary election results.

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Send questions to askmattm@gmail.com.