Feverish economic development is not new to Western North Carolina.  The arrival of the railroad in Asheville triggered a boom that resulted in the construction of over 65 new commercial buildings in the 1920s.  By 1927, the real estate market was slowing down.  Local banks were overextended and the boom finally turned bust with the arrival of the Great Depression in 1929.  Bank closings, bankruptcies, and evictions were widespread and the city government faced enormous debts that took almost 50 years to pay off.  On the other hand, the dramatic economic decline that hindered construction for several decades, ensured the survival of many historic buildings that are now hailed as architectural gems and that have contributed significantly to the revival of downtown Asheville as a popular tourist destination.


Below is the Digital Heritage Moment as broadcast on the radio: