Asheville NC is the seat of Buncombe County, located in the western part of the state of North Carolina.
August 19, 2016
Asheville is situated with the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina near the Swannanoa River and French Broad River. With a population of 88,000 Asheville represents the largest city in western North Carolina. It rests at 2,134 feet in elevation and consists of about 45 square miles.
The area was originally inhabited by the Cherokee. Hernando de Soto explored the area in the mid 1500's, making his tour the first Europeans to set foot here. Disease brought by de Soto nearly wiped out the natives.
The town of Asheville was first settled by Colonel Samuel Davidson, who arrived and set up a homestead in Swannanoa Valley. He was given the land grant for his services in the Revolutionary War. Davison erected a cabin at the edge of Christian Creek. He was killed by the local Cherokee a short time later.
Davidson's death was avenged by his twin brother and brother-in-law, who led an incursion to retrieve his body and kill as many natives as they could.
By the late 1700's, more than 1,000 people lived in the area of Asheville NC. Following the founding of Buncombe County in 1792, Morristown as named its seat in 1793. It was renamed Asheville, in honor of then state Governor Samuel Ashe and incorporated in 1797.
Asheville was not damaged during the Civil War. Most of those who served were Confederate States soldiers, yet some fought for the Union Army.
The Battle of Asheville, a small skirmish centered around the University of North Carolina at Asheville in early April 1865, ended when the Union forces withdrew to Tennessee. A couple weeks later, however General Stoneman captured the town. Known as Stoneman's Raid, it resulted in a treaty that saw the Union troops leave after burning several dozen residences of pro-Confederates.
Asheville grew slightly through the 1800s. There were about 2,500 residents in 1880. The Western North Carolina Railroad was completed in late 1880 with a line from Salisbury. As with other towns throughout the country when the railroad arrived, a population explosion occurred in Asheville over the next 25 or 30 years.
The Southern Railway took possession of the railroad in 1894 to provide transport services to the growing wood, mica, and foodstuffs industries. It also provided passenger service through the 1960s.
An electric street car line was established in 1889 and lasted until the 1930s, when buses replaced the city's passenger service.
The Vanderbilt family built the prominent Biltmore House and Estates in the late 1890s. It is America's largest private residence and is open to tourists year round.
The Grove Park Inn, a historic resort hotel along the Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville, opened in 1912.
By the 1920's, Asheville had grown to nearly 20,000 residents in population, making it the third largest city in the state.
Asheville suffered during the Great Depression as all but one bank failed at the start of the 1930s.
It has since repaid its huge pre-Depression debt and is a thriving city that has made countless Top-10 lists for best places to live, work, view art, drink beer, etc.