The region that is now known as Asheville was first inhabited by Cherokees. The European explorer Hernando de Soto first arrived in 1540 and brought diseases which killed many of the natives. The region was primarily used for hunting by these visitors.
In 1784, Asheville was settled by Colonel Samuel Davidson after redeeming a land grant. However, he was killed, and his wife, child, and slave fled. His twin brother and his brother-in-law returned to retrieve the body and avenge the murder. At the end of the expedition, the men and their extended family settled in the area. The nearby county seat was incorporated with the land and renamed as Asheville after the governor of North Carolina.
It was during the 1880s that the Western North Carolina Railroad constructed a line running from Salisbury to Asheville. It was at this time that the population began to increase, although it was quite slow. Industrial plants were being erected during this time, attracting more residents.
By 1900, Asheville was the third largest city in North Carolina. The city was quite prosperous in the decades that followed. It was during the early 1900s that the Burton Street Community for African Americans was developed and a sanitary district was established in West Asheville, which later incorporated within Asheville’s borders. As with other cities around the nation, the Great Depression had a significant impact on Asheville, with eight of its banks closing and the city debt reaching the highest in the nation. The city didn’t default on its obligations that were used to build infrastructure and buildings but instead paid it off. Because of this, economic growth was, and much of the downtown area was left as it originally was.
The positive thing about this is that the city has retained much of its buildings constructed in the Art Deco style, including its city hall. There is other noteworthy architecture located throughout the city, including the Grove Park Inn, which is a luxurious hotel and spa situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Today, Asheville is a beautiful mountainous city that offers modern attractions, many restaurants, and hotels, as well as historic landmarks and sights, including the popular Biltmore House, the largest private residence in the country that draws in visitors from all around the world.