Pack Square is situated at the intersection of ancient trading paths and has been a central feature of Asheville since 1797. Surrounded by important public and commercial buildings in the early 1800s, Pack Square established a focal point for Asheville’s future growth.
Named after George Willis Pack (1831-1906), a wealthy lumber merchant, who after retiring in Asheville in 1884, offered land for a new courthouse on the condition that the former site became part of the public square. He also donated ⅔ of the cost towards the construction of the Vance Memorial, which was erected in 1896.
The new courthouse, which is no longer standing, was completed in 1903 and the city commissioners renamed the newly enlarged square in George Pack’s honor.
The art deco styled Asheville City Hall is considered one of Douglas Ellington’s best designs. According to John Nolen’s master plan for Asheville, the City Hall was supposed to be paired with the Buncombe County Courthouse. An intense battle between the county commissioners, who preferred a neo-classical design, and the city officials, who favored Ellington’s art deco style, led to a deep rift between these two commissions and finally to two differently designed buildings.
During the building boom of the 1920s, William Westall’s business prospered, as he supplied many of the building materials to the construction sites. The Westall Building is very narrow and shares an elevator with the adjacent Jackson Building. But there was also an interesting family connection.
Trying to cash in on Asheville’s building boom of the 1920s, 28 year old real estate developer L. B. Jackson commissioned architect Ronald Greene to create a unique and fascinating building on just a tiny lot. Thirteen stories high, the neo-gothic design of the Jackson Building was certainly an eye catcher back then and still stands out to this day.