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

Oral History Register

James W. (Red) Hoyle Sr.

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


James W. (Red) Hoyle Sr. Oral History


Dorothy Joynes for Voices of Asheville Oral History Collection


Hoyle, James W. Sr.
Politics and government -- North Carolina -- Asheville
Asheville (N.C.) -- History
Lions Club -- North Carolina -- Asheville
Motion pictures -- North Carolina -- History


Lions Club ; S&W ; Asheville City Council ; Better Business Bureau ; Asheville Merchants' Association ; Asheville Chamber of Commerce ; Thunder Road


Nicknamed "Little Red," Hoyle kept the name "Red" throughout his life.  A salesman from the age of nine, beginning with newspapers and chewing gum, Hoyle opened his own business in 1945. He joined the Lions Club soon after, and remained an active member throughout his working years. He was a member of the Asheville City Council from 1970-1976. He describes the city as it was during his childhood and as it progressed over the years, with many details concerning the downtown area. He discusses several of his long-term involvements in detail. The evolution of the Chamber of Commerce is described, and its relationship to the Better Business Bureau and Asheville Merchants' Association. He discusses his tenure on the City Council, including issues and projects such as annexations, the Asheville airport, finances, the French Broad River, water quality, and the Asheville Civic Center. He describes the growth of his business and the acquisition of its current site on Market Street, formerly a car dealership, with drive-in parking. In the Carolina Senior Citizen article which accompanies the oral history, he describes the use of this store in the film, Thunder Road. Other aspects of the business, including the involvement of his family and employees, are discussed.


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


Hoyle, James W. Sr.


Electronic Record Issued: 2002-05-09


Sound ; Text ; Image


Physical Description: 7-page abstract ; 1 90-minute audiocassette and 1 copy ; 7 color photographs ; newspaper articles and brochures







References: VOA Leo Finkelstein Oral History ; VOA Barbara Keleher Oral History


1920's-1992 ; Asheville, NC
Rights No restrictions: Copyright retained by the authors of certain items in the collection or their descendents, 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

21 N. Market St., Asheville, NC


Hoyle began his career as a salesman at age 9, selling newspapers. He describes spending much of his time at the fire department as a youth. He sold chewing gum for a number of years. He worked for a dry cleaners and an engineering firm [in a clipping which accompanies this oral history, he describes Walt Disney's employment with the same firm at that time]. He entered the military in 1941. After the war he worked for Talman's Office Supplies and also drove a fire truck for the city.  He started his own business in 1947.  He has never had to fire an employee. He was particularly active with the Merchants' Association for many years. He has held a number of prominent positions in the Lions Club on a state and national level. He discusses his wife of 54 years, his children, and their occupations. He is also a member of a dance band.

List of names

[1/299] Adams, Junius
[2/612] Albertson, Fritz
[1/375] Azile, Boody
[1/58] [1/500] Blomberg, Harry
[2/342] Brown, Oscar
[2/45] Bynum, Curtis
[2/612] Coe, Jack
[1/282] Dalton, Mrs.
[1/375] Enwright, John H.
[2/228] Feldman, Mr.
[2/612] Finkelstein, Leo
[1/375] Hall, Jimmy
[1/7] Hawkins, Mr.
[2/342] Hoyle, Cathy
[2/342] Hoyle, Christine
[2/342] Hoyle, Jimmy
[2/342] Hoyle, Mickey
[2/342] Hoyle, Tommy
[1/282] Keleher, Barbara
[2/116] Keller, Helen
[1/152] Lipinsky, Louis
[1/152] Lipinsky, Morris
[2/612] Long, Charles
[1/58] Manley, Leo
[1/282] Marshall, Calvin ( Cal) W.
[1/282] Moore, Bill
[1/375] Morgan, Clarence
[2/342] Orr, Ed
[2/228] Parker, Charlie
[2/116] Philips, Ray
[1/375] Redmond, Anthony
[1/201] Ryan, Florence
[1/500] Sluder, Mr.
[1/117] Stokes, T. Furman
[2/228] Talman, W. Fleming
[1/58] Ulysses
[1/500] Weir, Weldon
[1/375] Williams, Bob
[1/58] Wolfe, Thomas
[2/26] Young, Mr.
[1/58] Zageir, Coleman

Side 1:

[7] His father called him "Little Red" and the name stuck throughout his life. As a salesman for Beachnut Gum (10 years) his boss said he liked salesmen called "Mack" or "Red" because customers remembered them. [Mr. Hawkins]

[34] He sold the state edition of the paper on Pack Square in front of Johnson Drug, earning 25-30 cents a day. In the afternoon he delivered the Asheville Times up through the Grove Park Area.

[58] He describes downtown - the street cars in Pack Square and Ford touring cars. The elevator man in the Jackson Building is still in town. There was a food stall in the center of the city. He describes the Fire Department, Racket Store [a haberdashery], Furniture Store, The Man Store, Ottis Green Hardware and Thom McAnn. [Tom Wolfe, Ulysses, Leo Manley, Coleman Zageir, Harry Blomberg]

[117] For years the same crowd ate lunch at the S&W. [T. Furman Stokes]

[125] He was elected to the City Council in the early 70ís. He had hoped that some buildings would be torn down so there would be enough parking to accommodate the S& W customers. Instead they moved to the Asheville Mall and didnít make it.

[152] Louis Lipinsky was head of the Asheville Merchants Association and spent some of his own money on salaries. [Louis and Morris Lipinsky]

[169] He saw people moving into the city for its "livability" even before the 1920ís boom.

[201] In 1970 he was asked to run for City Council and covered about 50 miles going door to door campaigning. [Florence Ryan]

[235] When he explained to the people the need for their annexation there was no trouble.

[282] In order to include the people in West Asheville in decision making the mayor was alternately elected from both areas. [Bill Moore, Mrs. Dalton, Cal Marshall, Barbara Keleher]

[299] Woodfin and Biltmore Forest are not part of the city. [Junius Adams]

[329] Because of tax increases there is always a problem in annexing.

[368] The airport was called Asheville/Hendersonville but Hendersonville didnít want to pay part. It now belongs to the county.

[375] The Merchants Association put on the Christmas parade for 30-40 years. He was in charge of decorations. This is now done by the city. The Association is separate from the Better Business Bureau. The Chamber of Commerce is another spoke in the wheel. It started right after the war and plans were formed over luncheons in the S and W. A glass office for the Chamber of Commerce was built in the lobby of the Langren Hotel. The old Chamber of Commerce had been disbanded during the war. [John H. Enwright, Bob Williams, Boody Azile, Jimmy Hall, Anthony Redmond]

[476] He was in minstrel shows which played in the old Civic Center. Black face was an ok joke then. [Clarence Morgan]

[500] He gives credit to the city manager for building the new Civic Center. The old center was torn down and the hole left for many years. One million dollars was given by the government for urban renewal but the center had to be within a 1/4 mile of the City Hall. Many places were discussed. Because of his long association with Blomberg he was able to secure the land for the parking garage. [Weldon Weir, Harry Blomberg, Mr. Sluder]

Side 2:

He continues his discussion about securing property from Blomberg because of his long association - since 1925.

[2/26] He felt that integration caused no problems in the city because blacks and whites had always been close. The City Council worked with the YMI when they burnt the mortgage. [Mr. Young]

[2/45] Asheville indebtedness, the water system and annexation are discussed. "If there hadn't been a city there wouldn't have been a county" and services had to be paid for. [Curtis Bynum]

[2/81] The French Broad River is cleaner than it was many years ago but still needs the injection of chemicals.

[2/92] His parents dated by the river before the 1916 flood. They went there on the street car from Montford Avenue. When he drove the fire truck he filled up at the river.

[2/116] He wanted to join the Lions Club in the 40's but had to have a title. He was baseball coach at Oakley and the Lions needed him to coach their team. When he became an owner of a store and had a title he was invited. He worked up the "steps." The Lions became dedicated to helping the blind in 1920's. Lion District 31-A built a cottage for the Eliada Home. [Helen Keller, Ray Philips]

[2/228] As a young boy he was mascot for the fire department and after the war he worked for 2 years at night in the Merrimon Ave. Department. He coached the Talman Team and clerked in the store for 2 years. When he borrowed $3,000 from the bank to open his store on Walnut Street, Talman said he would spend $5,000 to break him. He moved to Wall Street and then to the present location (see enclosure). [Mr. Feldman, W. Fleming Talman, Charlie Parker]

[2/342] His store used to be an auto sales room and garage. He left the drive-in entrance and served from 100-150 customers a day. Mothers could park in back and safely leave children in the car while shopping. He has never fired anyone in 35 years. All his children are in the business and his wife of 54 years retired from doing books but is now helping their daughter who is working in Hendersonville. [Ed Orr, Oscar Brown, Christine, Mickey, Jimmy, Tommy, Cathy]

[2/612] Shows a picture of his band (enclosed). [Leo Finkelstein, Jack Coe, Fritz Albertson, Charles Long]

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