Asheville is a city in and the county seat of Buncombe County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 68,889 at the 2000 census. It is the largest city in western North Carolina, and continues to grow. As of 2006, the Census Bureau estimates that Asheville's population is 72,789 . Asheville is a part of the four-county Asheville metropolitan statistical area, the population of which was estimated by the Census Bureau in 2006 to be 398,009.
The history of Asheville, as a town, begins in 1784. In that year Colonel Samuel Davidson and his family settled in the Swannanoa Valley, redeeming a soldier's land grant from the state of North Carolina. Soon after building a log cabin at the bank of Christian Creek, Davidson was lured into the woods by a band of Cherokee hunters and killed. Davidson's wife, child and female slave fled on foot to Davidson's Fort (named after Davidson's father General John Davidson) 16 miles away.
In response to the killing, Davidson's twin brother Major William Davidson and brother-in-law Colonel Daniel Smith formed an expedition to retrieve Samuel Davidson's body and avenge his murder. Months after the expedition, Major Davidson and other members of his extended family returned to the area and settled at the mouth of Bee Tree Creek.
The United States Census of 1790 counted 1,000 residents of the area, excluding the Cherokee. The county of Buncombe was officially formed in 1792. The county seat, named “Morristown” in 1793, was established on a plateau where two old Indian trails crossed. In 1797 Morristown was incorporated and renamed “Asheville” after North Carolina Governor Samuel Ashe.
An engagement was also fought later that month at Swannanoa Gap as part of the larger Stoneman's Raid, with Union forces retreating in the face of resistance from Brig. Gen. Martin, commander of Confederate troops in Western North Carolina, but returning to the area via Howard's Gap and Henderson County. In late April 1865 troops under the overall command of Union Gen. Stoneman captured Asheville. After a negotiated departure, the troops nevertheless subsequently returned and plundered and burned a number of Confederate supporters' homes in the town. The years following the War were a time of economic and social hardship in Buncombe County, as throughout most of the defeated South.
The Asheville area was subject to severe flooding from the remnants of a tropical storm on July 15-16, 1916, causing over $3 million in damage. Heavy rains from the remnants of Hurricane Frances and Hurricane Ivan caused major flooding in Asheville in September 2004, particularly at Biltmore Village.
Asheville has adopted at least two nicknames over its history:
In 2007, Asheville was named one of the top seven places to live in the U.S. by Frommer's Cities Ranked and Rated, #23 of 200 metro areas for business and careers by Forbes, and the best place to live in the country by Relocate-America. It was also named one of the world's top 12 must-see destinations for 2007 by Frommer's travel guides.
Mayor Terry Bellamy (the city's first African-American female mayor) is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, a bi-partisan group with a stated goal of "making the public safer by getting illegal guns off the streets." The Coalition is co-chaired by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In 2005, Mayor Charles Worley signed the U.S. Conference of Mayors Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, and in 2006 the City Council created the Sustainable Advisory Committee on Energy and the Environment. In 2007 Council became the first city on the East Coast to commit to building all municipal buildings to Gold Leed Standards and to achieve 80% energy reduction of 2001 standards by 2040. In 2007 signed an agreement with Warren Wilson College stating the intent of the city and college to work together toward climate partnership goals.
The city operates the Asheville Transit System, which consists of several bus lines connecting parts of the city and surrounding areas.
The Norfolk Southern Railroad passes through the city, though passenger service is currently not available in the area.
The city is known for the lavish Biltmore Estate, the largest privately owned home in America, which attracts over a million visitors each year. Other notable architecture in Asheville includes its Art Deco city hall and other unique buildings in the downtown area such as the Battery Park Hotel, the Neo-Gothic Jackson Building, Grove Arcade and the Basilica of St. Lawrence. The S&W Cafeteria Building is also a fine example of Art Deco architecture in Asheville.The Grove Park Inn is an important example of architecture and design of the Arts and Crafts movement. The Montford neighborhood and other central areas are considered historic districts and include Victorian houses. On the other hand, Biltmore Village, located at the entrance to the famous estate, showcases unique architectural features that are only found in the Asheville area. It was here that workers stayed during the construction of George Vanderbilt's estate. Today, however, as with many of Asheville's historical districts, it has been transformed into a district home to quaint, trendy shops and interesting boutiques. The YMI Cultural Center, founded in 1892 by George Vanderbilt in the heart of downtown, is one of the nation's oldest African-American cultural centers.
Asheville is the larger principal city of the Asheville-Brevard CSA, a Combined Statistical Area that includes the Asheville metropolitan area (Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, and Madison counties) and the Brevard micropolitan area (Transylvania County), which had a combined population of 398,505 at the 2000 census.
As of the census of 2000, there were 68,889 people,30,690 households, and 16,726 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,683.4 people per square mile (650.0/km²). There were 33,567 housing units at an average density of 820.3/sq mi (316.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 77.95% White, 17.61% African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.92% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 1.53% from other races, and 1.58% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.76% of the population.
There were 30,690 households out of which 22.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.1% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.5% were non-families. 36.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.14 and the average family size was 2.81.
In the city the population was spread out with 19.6% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 28.7% from 25 to 44, 23.1% from 45 to 64, and 18.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 87.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $32,772, and the median income for a family was $44,029. Males had a median income of $30,463 versus $23,488 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,024. About 10.3% of families and 15.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.9% of those under age 18 and 10.1% of those age 65 or over.
Apart from Asheville, the MSA includes Hendersonville and Waynesville, along with a number of smaller incorporated towns: Biltmore Forest, Black Mountain, Canton, Clyde, Flat Rock, Fletcher, Hot Springs, Laurel Park, Maggie Valley, Mars Hill, Marshall, Mills River, Montreat, Weaverville, and Woodfin.
Several sizable unincorporated rural and suburban communities are also located nearby: Arden, Barnardsville (incorporated until 1970), Bent Creek, Candler, Enka, Fairview, Jupiter (incorporated until 1970), Leicester, Oteen, Skyland, and Swannanoa.
Asheville is also part of the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson-Asheville Designated Market Area (DMA), a grouping corresponding to TV and radio markets.
Public Asheville City Schools include Asheville High School, Asheville Middle School, Claxton Elementary, Hall Fletcher Elementary, Isaac Dickson Elementary, Jones Elementary, and Vance Elementary. Asheville High has been ranked by Newsweek Magazine as one of the top 100 high schools in the United States. The Buncombe County School System operates high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools both inside and outside the city of Asheville.
Asheville has one of the only Sudbury schools in the southeast, Katuah Sudbury School. It is also home to several charter schools, including Francine Delany New School for Children, one of the first charter schools in North Carolina.
Two private residential high schools are located in the Asheville area: the all-male Christ School (located in Arden) and the coeducational Asheville School. Each offers a rigorous college preparatory curriculum and enrolls boarding students from around the world in addition to local day students. Several other private schools, including Rainbow Mountain Children's School, Asheville Christian Academy, Hanger Hall School for Girls, The New Classical Academy and Carolina Day School, enroll local day students. In addition, New City Christian School is a private school whose stated mission is to educate low-income students.
Asheville and its surrounding area is home to several institutions of higher education:
DJ music, as well as a small, but active, dance community are also components of the downtown musical landscape. The town is also home to the Asheville Symphony and the Asheville Lyric Opera and there are a number of bluegrass, country, and traditional mountain musicians in the Asheville area. A residency at local music establishment The Orange Peel by Smashing Pumpkins in 2007 brought national attention to Asheville.
|Name||Sport||Founded||League||Venue||Years in Asheville|
|1991||1998 - 2002|
|2001||2001 - 2005|
Area colleges and universities, such as the University of North Carolina at Asheville, compete in sports. UNCA's sports teams are known as the Bulldogs and play in the Big South Conference. The Fighting Owls of Warren Wilson College participate in mountain biking and ultimate sports teams. The College is also home of the Hooter Dome, where the Owls play their home basketball games.
The North Carolina Stage Company is currently the only resident professional theatre in the downtown area. Although there are several independent professional companies, none of them have a permanent venue.
The Diana Wortham Theatre is a neoclassical theatre. It serves as the home to, among other companies, the Asheville Lyric Opera, and the Terpsicorps dance company.
In 2004, the Asheville Arts Center opened. It is a theatre, dance, and music studio designed for arts education. The Grand Hall of the Arts Center also is a regular venue for local bands as well as the Asheville Movement Collective.
The Montford Park Players, founded in 1973, is the longest running Shakespeare Festival in North Carolina. Typically presenting three plays every summer in the Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre, this company is the fastest growing outdoor theatre group in America.
The Asheville Citizen-Times is Asheville's daily newspaper which covers most of Western North Carolina. The Mountain Xpress is the largest weekly in the area, covering arts and politics in the region. Take 5, a separate weekly put out by the Citizen Times, is also focused on local arts and media in the region. However, there are numerous independent weekly and monthly newspapers in this vibrant politically active community. Several underground or alternative newspapers are produced in the city of Asheville.
Asheville: living high in the west. (Special Advertising Section: Regional Focus).(a discussion of the development of the city of Asheville, North Carolina)(Advertisement)
Nov 01, 2002; Twenty years ago, the federal General Services Administration made public its plans to spend $8 million to renovate the massive...