Asheville Archives: Top views for 2018

HOT HISTORY: See the historical events that piqued readers interest this year.

This week’s Asheville Archives looks back at the feature’s most popular articles of 2018 based on online views.

Photo courtesy of North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Public Library, Asheville
  1. Topping the list is “‘White Supremacy made permanent,’ 1900.” Published in our Jan. 31 edition, the online version appeared on Feb. 6 and reached 5,800 viewers. The article examines North Carolina’s 1900 vote on an amendment to its state constitution. Literacy tests were among the additions proposed. A clause in the law excused a majority of the state’s white male voters from being subject to the test; the same did not hold true for African-American male voters. To show support of the amendment, Asheville residents formed the Young Men’s White Supremacy club. On July 30, three days before Election Day, a torchlight procession was held in downtown Asheville. An estimated 1,500 people marched the streets holding signs and shouting chants of white supremacy. On Aug. 2, 1900, voters approved the amendment. (avl.mx/4m7)

 

 

Photo courtesy of North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Public Library, Asheville

2. This year’s runner-up fell 300 clicks short of a first-place finish with 5,500 online views. “Beaver Lake opens with a splash, 1924,” was published in our May 2 edition, with its online debut the following Tuesday, May 8. The story traces the two-year endeavor to turn Baird’s Bottom into present-day Beaver Lake. The trolley system proved an early obstacle, threatening the project’s launch. But on July 17, 1924, Asheville residents finally celebrated the lake’s completion. (avl.mx/4xj)

 

 

Photo courtesy of North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Public Library, Asheville

3. “Residents debate the demolition of Battery Park, 1922,” captured 4,700 views with its Oct. 2 online debut. Many residents were outraged over E.W. Grove’s plans to raze the 1886 structure, along with the hill it stood atop. Others, however, argued Grove’s intentions were a sign of the city’s growth and progress. The following year, both the hotel and hill came down. (avl.mx/5cc)

 

 

Photo courtesy of North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Public Library, Asheville

4. Two stories tied for fourth place with 4,300 views: “Rumors abound in 1889 over George Vanderbilt’s arrival to the mountains” and “The Lost Cause narrative.” The former appeared online on Jan. 30. The article highlights the local news coverage during the earliest days of the Biltmore Estate (avl.mx/4la). “The Lost Cause narrative,” which debuted online on May 22, examines the concerted effort in the South to reimagine the Confederacy’s 1865 defeat as an act of heroism in the face of great odds. The campaign also sought to reframe slavery as a benign and beneficial institution. (avl.mx/4ze)

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Public Library, Asheville

 

5. Readers were hot for “The formation of the Asheville Fire Department, 1882,” published online on July 31. After decades of fiery outrage and concern over conflagrations, city officials finally listened to its residents, forming Asheville’s first fire department on May 2, 1882. The article received 4,000 views. (avl.mx/56b)

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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. He has worked with several publications, including Gulf Coast and the Collagist.

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