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[graphic] Asheville, North Carolina: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary
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Asheville, North Carolina

Photo courtesy of City Development, City of Asheville, North Carolina
The National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places in partnership with the City of Asheville, Buncombe County, Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau, Thomas Wolfe House, North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), proudly invite you to explore Asheville, North Carolina. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, Asheville is perhaps best known as the location of George Vanderbilt's Biltmore Estate and the home of major American novelist, Thomas Wolfe. Asheville is also a thriving and eclectic city, dubbed the “Paris of the South” in the early 1900s for establishing itself as an artisan city with unique style and architectural talent. This travel itinerary highlights 45 historic places listed in the National Register of Historic Places that explore the development of Asheville and Buncombe County as an area of world-class resorts and mountain retreats.

[photo] Pack Square in Downtown Asheville
Photo courtesy of North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Public Library, Asheville, North Carolina

Established in 1797 as the trading center and seat of the newly created Buncombe County, Asheville grew steadily through the 19th century. Following the arrival of a railroad connection in 1880, Asheville became increasingly cosmopolitan and grew rapidly as a tourist destination known for its beautiful natural setting and cool mountain air, a pleasant contrast to the unbearable summer heat of the lowlands. The clean mountain air was also believed to have healing qualities benefiting sufferers of consumption and other respiratory diseases, and numerous health retreats were established including the Ottari Sanitarium, Brexton Boarding House, Highland Hospital and the Oteen Veterans Administration Hospital. Asheville's growing reputation promoted the development of luxury inns, resorts and associated cottages such as the Manor and Cottages and Grove Park Inn. While staying at the original Battery Park Hotel, George Vanderbilt decided to build his Biltmore Estate here. To complement his manor house, Vanderbilt established an English-style manorial village surrounding the house, including All Souls Episcopal Church and Parish Hall, the Southern Railway Passenger Depot (Biltmore Depot) and the Biltmore Estate Office. The success of these retreats and the Biltmore Estate fostered the growth of Downtown Asheville, and many picturesque residential neighborhoods such as Chestnut Hill and Montford.

Grove Park Inn, one of Asheville's many resorts

Photo courtesy of the Grove Park Inn
The Asheville, North Carolina, travel itinerary offers several ways to discover the places that reflect the city's history. Each highlighted site features a brief description of the place's historic significance, color photographs, and public accessibility information. At the bottom of each page the visitor will find a navigation bar containing links to four essays that explain more about Asheville's Architecture, Resort Destination, Health Retreat and Preservation. These essays provide historic background, or "contexts," for the places included in the itinerary. In the Learn More section, the itinerary links to regional and local web sites that provide visitors with further information regarding cultural events, special activities, and lodging and dining possibilities. Visitors may be interested in Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, located in the Asheville area, including the Grove Park Inn. The itinerary can be viewed online, or printed out if you plan to visit the Asheville area in person.

Asheville, North Carolina, is the latest example of a new and exciting cooperative project. As part of the Department of the Interior's strategy to promote public awareness of history and encourage tourists to visit historic places throughout the Nation, the National Register of Historic Places is cooperating with communities, regions, and Heritage Areas throughout the United States to create online travel itineraries. Using places nominated by State, Federal and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the itineraries help potential visitors plan their next trip by highlighting the amazing diversity of this country's historic places and supplying accessibility information for each featured site. Asheville, North Carolina, is the 35th National Register travel itinerary successfully created through such partnerships. Additional itineraries will debut online in the future. The National Register of Historic Places hopes you enjoy this virtual travel itinerary of Asheville, North Carolina. If you have any comments or questions, please just click on the provided e-mail address, "comments or questions" located at the bottom of each page.

[graphic] Asheville Essays
   [graphic] Link to Architecture Essay  [graphic] Link to Health Retreat Essay
[graphic] Link to Resort Destination Essay  [graphic] Link to Preservation Essay

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Essays: Architecture | Resort Destination| Health Retreat| Preservation |

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