Happy Birthday Xpress: Seeking your views on Asheville in the ’90s

Do you remember Asheville in the the ’90s, when Mountain Xpress was launched 20 years ago this summer?


  • There wasn’t a parking problem downtown?
  • Xpress‘ weekly issues were just 24 pages?
  • Area club listings took about one page, compared to four pages nowadays?
  • The only place to get a bite to eat downtown after 10 p.m. was Vincent’s Ear?
  • Just four area restaurants made it into Xpress’ first guide to international cuisine?
  • Over 300 ardent Green Line supporters — in a pre-Kickstarter effort — helped launch Mountain Xpress in 1994?
  • A crack-smoking rabbit graced Xpress’ inaugural cover?
  • Xpress covered Gannett’s purchase of the Asheville Citizen-Times in 1995?
  • The 1995 “Best of WNC” winners included Laughing Seed, Hot Shot Café, Be Here Now, Beanstreets, Chocolate Fetish, Barley’s, Liquid Dragon, Cissy Majebe, Julian Price, Leni Sitnick?

If  you were around back then, send us your recollections, and help celebrate Xpress’ 20th anniversary in its Aug. 27 issue.

Send your memories — in the comment field below or by email to iremember@mountainx.com.


About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism. Follow me @fobes

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

One thought on “Happy Birthday Xpress: Seeking your views on Asheville in the ’90s

  1. Jeff Fobes

    Early proposed slogan: “No democracy without local dialogue.” (1993)

    “Used to be City Council meetings were seen as dry, dull affairs. Who could have known they were the stuff of drama? Obviously Mountain Xpress did. … Anyone who regularly reads [its reports] knows that while these meetings may run long, they’re rarely boring.” — December 1995 Blue Ridge Business Journal article by Carrie A. A. Frye

    Early financial report: Cash value of the five weekly issues in March 1995 was $25,559.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.