week’s featured photograph dates to the second decade of the 20th
century and was likely taken around 1915. Although the image does not include
enough of the building to definitively identify where it was located the
architectural details around the door and windows are very similar to the
section of the McMinn building where the Lily T Clothing Company is today.
search of the Sylvan Valley News revealed the first mention the Royal Café in a
paragraph on May 24, 1912. However, the business
actually got its start 17 months earlier when Spurgeon Osborne opened the Royal
Lunch Room in the McMinn building on W. Main St. The menu included oysters, fish, steak with
eggs and ham with eggs. The café, which
catered to those attending court or conducting business downtown, also carried
groceries, fruits, confections, tobacco and cigars.
1912 H.C. Aiken and J.H. Pickelsimer opened the Royal Café in the old
Pickelsimer Drug storeroom and bought out Osborne. Oysters and fish continued to be the
specialty of the café but they also prepared lunches for picnics and driving
parties. In addition they sold ice
cream, fountain drinks, green groceries and fruit. Aiken managed the business.
just a year-and-a-half Paul Smathers purchased the café. He continued to operate it for a couple of
years but by the summer of 1915 F.N. Nicholson was running the café. No further mention of the café was found
after an April 21, 1916 announcement that Nicholson would manage it under the
name of Nicholson & Brother.
Sylvan Valley News from 1903 through 1916 is available and searchable on
digitalnc.org. It is a great resource to
learn all about Brevard and Transylvania County during this time period.
and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina
Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the NC Room during regular library
hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see additional
photographs. For more information, comments, or suggestions contact Marcy at