Nestled in a valley and surrounded by mountains, Asheville was settled after the revolutionary war mainly by Scotch-Irish immigrants from northern Ireland. By 1785 there was a permanent settlement known as “Eden Land”. During the early years Asheville was also known as Morristown (1794) and Buncombe Courthouse. In 1797 the town was incorporated and officially named Asheville in honor of North Carolina Governor Samuel Ashe of New Hanover County.
As roads and the railroad through the mountains were developed, Asheville became a focal point for commerce and obtained a growing reputation as a health resort. In the early 1900s, George Vanderbilt began construction of his mansion and created the Biltmore Estate on his 45000 acres.
The greatest boom period in Asheville history came during the 1920s with the development of residential subdivisions and new buildings such as the Jackson Building, City Building, Buncombe Courthouse, Grove Arcade, Battery Park Hotel and the Flat Iron Building. More art deco architecture built in the late 1920s and early 1930s can be found in downtown Asheville than any other southeastern city except Miami Beach.
The 1930s saw development of two great natural attractions – the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway which have since made Asheville one of the most visited recreational areas in the nation. Asheville’s favorite native sons include writers Thomas Wolfe and O. Henry.
Today Asheville is not only a major tourism center but is known for medical care, the arts, education and business in Western North Carolina. Asheville’s unique natural and architectural beauty, moderate climate, strong job market, and outstanding educational and health care facilities make it one of the most attractive locations in the United States. Asheville is consistently ranked high among the best places to live, work and retire. The City’s long-range planning is directed to maintain and improve the quality of life in the area, so that it shall remain one of the “best places.”
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