Throughout 1955, local and national newspapers praised Wilma Dykeman’s debut book, The French Broad. A work of nonfiction, it earned the inaugural Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literature Award in October of that year.
The route through the Swannanoa Gap — where present-day Old U.S. 70 and Mill Creek Road intersect — was first carved out by Archaic Indians as they came up out of the Appalachian foothills and followed Swannanoa Creek on the way to hunting and gathering opportunities in the mountains. Later, Buncombe County’s first white settlers climbed through the gap as they moved into the area. Historian Dan Pierce shares the gap’s history and culture, as well as suggestions for exploration.
On Sept. 6, 1951, thousands of dead fish floated down the highly polluted French Broad River.
In the Center for Cultural Preservation’s latest documentary, Guardians of Our Troubled Waters: River Heroes of the South, filmmaker David Weintraub investigates the history of figures such as French Broad crusader Wilma Dykeman and the roles they played in fostering environmental change.
“There is still time for bureaucratic bungling to derail these developments. I urge the leaders of our little kingdom not to stifle this impetus and dam the amazing flow of the River District by imposing needless barriers in the name of enforcing the mantra of St. Wilma Dykeman.”
“The newcomers worshipped at the feet of the Right Rev. Wilma Dykeman, a local deity whose writings took on the prominence and influence of the Holy Grail.”
This week, Xpress looks at the network of agencies and organizations working in Buncombe and Madison counties to improve water quality and position the French Broad as the region’s next great tourist attraction.
Kathy Ackerman will be discussing Olive Tilford Dargan as part of a new female-author series sponsored by the Wilma Dykeman Legacy. The program features lectures on five writers — Dargan, Ellen Glasgow, Zora Neale Hurston, Julia Peterkin and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings — and three film showings.
From the Get It! Guide: Long before the age of Internet lists and online travel magazines, people came to Asheville and Western North Carolina for the intrinsic natural beauty. In fact, the beauty of our environment is what many say makes this place so special. But are we protecting what we have? What initiatives are underway to help ensure that the region remains a respite and a haven for generations to come?
For those who know the name Wilma Dykeman but don’t know much about one of Asheville’s most famous daughters, an upcoming lecture series will explore her life as an historian, journalist, environmentalist, teacher, novelist and traveler. ” (Photo of Wilma Dykeman at Carmel, Calif. in 1936 from the Wilma Dykeman Collection at D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections)