WNC HISTORY

On this Day

January 20, 1964 – Martin Luther King Visits WNC

January 20, 1964 – Martin Luther King Visits WNC

Though Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made many public visits to central North Carolina in the 1950s and 1960s, including to Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro, and Rocky Mount, he only made two known visits to western North Carolina – in January 1964 and August...

read more
January 7, 1922 – Bicycle Trip for the KKK

January 7, 1922 – Bicycle Trip for the KKK

One hundred years ago today, two women - Florence Deering and Evelyn Morey - and their dog, Buddie, left Asheville pedaling across western North Carolina and into eastern Tennessee on their way to Nashville. The women were on a transcontinental bicycle (and hiking)...

read more
January 4, 1839 – Cherokee County Established

January 4, 1839 – Cherokee County Established

Just a few short months after the last forced Cherokee removal to Oklahoma, North Carolina established its westernmost county—Cherokee—on this day in 1839. Formed from lands “lately acquired” from the Cherokee, the new county comprised the western portion of Macon...

read more
December 14, 1804 – The Walton War Turns Deadly

December 14, 1804 – The Walton War Turns Deadly

On this day in WNC history: Simmering tensions in the Walton “War” between North Carolina and Georgia finally turned deadly on this day in 1804. Following the American Revolution and the loss of their British alliance, the Cherokees were forced into a series of land...

read more
November 23, 1893 – Waldensian Arrivals in Valdese

November 23, 1893 – Waldensian Arrivals in Valdese

On this day in WNC history: After a rough ship crossing of the Atlantic and a lengthy train ride from New York, a group of 161 immigrants arrived in the WNC foothills in 1893. This group travelled from Italy to Burke County, joining nearly three hundred fellow...

read more
November 14, 1972 – TVA Drops Dam Plans

November 14, 1972 – TVA Drops Dam Plans

On this day in WNC history: After years of concerned citizens input and activism, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) dropped its plans to construct fourteen dams on the French Broad River watershed in 1972. In the early decades of the 1900s, many dams were built in...

read more
November 5, 1827 – The Vance-Carson Duel

November 5, 1827 – The Vance-Carson Duel

On this day in WNC history: In a previous post, we discussed a reported WNC duel which was simply a rumor. On November 5, 1827, however, a famous duel did, in fact, leave a famous resident dead as the result of a political feud. Robert Brank Vance (uncle of Zebulon...

read more
October 31, 1919 – Pandemic and Halloween

October 31, 1919 – Pandemic and Halloween

On this day in WNC history: After a year disrupted by war and the 1918 flu pandemic, Ashevillians returned to their traditions and parties to celebrate Halloween in 1919. Halloween has been celebrated in the U.S. likely since the 1800s. Washington Irving famously...

read more
October 21, 1898 – Senator Pritchard’s Letter

October 21, 1898 – Senator Pritchard’s Letter

On this day in WNC history: As the contentious and pivotal election of 1898 drew near, Senator Jeter C. Pritchard sent two private letters to President William McKinley and his cabinet on October 21, urging them to send federal marshals to protect African American...

read more
October 13, 1976 – O’Henry’s Opens in Asheville

October 13, 1976 – O’Henry’s Opens in Asheville

On this day in WNC history: Popularly known as Asheville’s oldest gay bar, O.Henry’s (initially called the Skylight Room) opened on this day in 1976 at 59 Haywood Street. The bar and restaurant, the first to stay open past midnight downtown, was also one of the first...

read more
October 7, 1780 – Josiah Brandon at Kings Mountain

October 7, 1780 – Josiah Brandon at Kings Mountain

On this day in WNC history: With lead balls and cries of war filling the air around him, the young Josiah Brandon took part in the pivotal Battle of Kings Mountain, Oct 7, 1780. He was one of several hundred western North Carolinians fighting on this day when British...

read more
October 2, 1929 – The Marion Mill Massacre

October 2, 1929 – The Marion Mill Massacre

On this day in WNC history: On October 2, 1929, deputies fired into a crowd of striking workers in Marion, North Carolina. Six were killed and even more wounded at the Marion Manufacturing Company in one of the deadliest acts of strike-busting in the South. This year...

read more
September 25, 1933 – Black Mountain College Opens

September 25, 1933 – Black Mountain College Opens

On this day in WNC History: During the midst of the Great Depression, the Black Mountain College opened to students for the first time in 1933. Based on the principle of progressive education, this college offered a new model of learning, particularly in the liberal...

read more
September 18, 1924: The 2nd Battery Park Hotel Opens

September 18, 1924: The 2nd Battery Park Hotel Opens

On this day in WNC history: The second hotel to stand on this prominent hill, Asheville’s new Battery Park Hotel opened on this day in 1924. In 1886, Frank Coxe financed construction of the first hotel, a sprawling Queen Anne-style structure with 270 rooms and...

read more