Asheville's first horse-drawn fire hose carriage was purchased in May 1887.  The first hose company was formed in 1884, after the first city water lines were installed.  With 1,500 feet of hose, firemen were usually worn out by the time they reached the scene.  By 1888, there were three hose carts and 40 volunteers. Asheville Fire Department photo,  reprinted by permission from "Firefighting in Buncombe County" by Brian Lawrence. Available by publisher online at arcadiapublishing.com or  by calling 888-313-2665.

Book looks at history of ‘Firefighting in Buncombe County’

Firefighting has played a big role in Brian Lawrence’s life. His father was a firefighter and he grew up around the firehouse outside Decatur, Illinois. His fascination with firefighting followed him through his teen years, through college and into his current role as an engineer with the Asheville Fire Department. Lawrence’s keen interest in history complements […]

Illustration courtesy of Joshua Warren

Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

Crowdfunding platforms make it possible for individuals and organizations of any size to harness social networks and raise start-up capital for projects that might otherwise fail due to lack of funding. Each week, Xpress highlights notable WNC crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd. STEVE SHELL POETRY Steve Shell, […]

SingintheMorning_CryatNight copy

Smart bets: Barbara J. Taylor

Barbara J. Taylor’s debut novel, Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night, is “an evocative story of family tragedy and healing set in coal-mining Scranton, Pennsylvania.” As a native and current resident of the Electric City, where the story is set, Taylor draws inspiration from a haunting family story to blend real-life incidents with historical […]

Allan Wolf at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Southern Fried Poetry Slam. Photo from Wolf's Facebook page.

Poetic injustice: Locals respond to N.C.’s poet laureate debate

Poetry has long been an action-packed artistic genre in Western North Carolina. Here, it’s not merely written but spoken, slammed and taken into schools (thanks to Poetry Alive! — which celebrates its 30th anniversary with an event at The White Horse on Aug. 15 — and LEAF in Schools & Streets, among other initiatives). In […]

FAMILY-FRIENDLY: Even though Secret Agent 23 Skidoo is based on the West Coast, he plans to continue collaborating with Asheville artists. “We have a shared history, and I love the flavor,” he says. "That’s the staple of my whole thing, a mutated genre thing." Photo courtesy of the musician

Weirdos R Us: 23 Skidoo celebrates the Year of the Weird with a book and album launch

In the Chinese zodiac, 2014 is the Year of the Horse. For the United Nations, it’s the Year of Family Farming and Crystallography. And, as designated by Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, it’s the Year of the Salamander. No stranger to celebrating diversity and creative thinking for all ages, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo honors […]