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. (



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. (



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. (



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 ( “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. (




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. (


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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.

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.