A FINE PLACE TO RELAX: Built by Col. Frank Coxe, the original Battery Park Hotel opened on July 12, 1886. With a fireplace in each room, modern steam radiators and electric lights, it was considered among the finest and most modern resorts of its day.

Tuesday History: Seeking rest at the Battery Park Hotel, 1886

The 1880s marked the start of Asheville’s urban growth. The decade began with approximately 2,600 permanent residents.  Advances in transportation, communication and the health industry would contribute to the city’s population increase. On Oct. 2, 1880, the first train pulled into town, offering visitors greater access to the mountains. A few years later, the arrival of two […]

UNION DAYS: Approximately 90 workers and organizers of the Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railway Employees of America, Local Div. No. 128 pose for a picture in April 1913. Despite North Carolina’s status as one of the least unionized states in the country, current-day local union chapters such as ATU 128, have a long history of organizing and advocating for workers’ rights in the Southern Highlands. Photo via the Norh Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Library, Asheville North Carolina

Labor pains: WNC unions at a crossroads

In Western North Carolina and across the country, labor unions seem to be a dying breed these days, and many local residents don’t seem overly concerned about it. Yet WNC’s complex history of unionization stretches back to the late 19th century. From high-profile labor disputes and the emergence of “right to work” laws to the […]

LOST IN THE FLAMES: Catholic Hill School operated for 25 years, opening in 1892. A fire destroyed the property in 1917, claiming seven lives.

Tuesday History: Catholic Hill School and the fire of 1917

Catholic Hill School — Asheville’s first school building constructed to serve the African-American community — was built in 1892. The three-story brick building held classes for students in the first through ninth grades. On Friday, Nov. 16, 1917, the school’s furnace malfunctioned. Fire consumed the building, and seven students perished in the flames. In 1923, Stephens-Lee […]

EXPLORING THE PAST: Interns at Xpress will research Asheville's rich history.

Calling (college) students of history for new summer internship

Put on those latex gloves, we’ve got primary source material to look into! Mountain Xpress has announced a summer internship for college students interested in local history. Summer interns will have the opportunity to research Asheville’s historic citizens, buildings, events, triumphs and tragedies. In addition, you will learn of, and develop contacts with, local historians and […]

BUILDING CULTURE: From the ancestors of the Ani Katuah to the first European settlers and later tobacco farmers, the evolution of human settlement and existence in the Southern Appalachians can be traced through the structure and buildings they erected to support their ways of life. The Rural Heritage Museum at Mars Hill University documents the evolution of built structures in its latest exhibit, Shelter on the Mountain, on display through May 28. Photo of an open cathedral-like hayloft of the 1951 gambrel-roof barn built by Delbert and Charlie Shelton in the Shelton Laurel community. By Earthsong Photography/ Don McGowan

Rural Heritage Museum highlights history of WNC barns

From the Ani Katuah to white settlers and tobacco farmers, barns and buildings have played a central role in defining the culture of the Southern Appalachians. Shelter on the Mountain: Barns and Building Traditions of the Southern Highlands traces the evolution of local building practices.