Monday, December 27, 2010

Mount Pisgah 1933

Mount Pisgah is a mountain in the Appalachian Mountain Range and part of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The mountain's height is 5,721 feet, and it sits approximately 15 miles southwest of Asheville near the crossing of the boundaries of Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, and Transylvania counties. It is located on the border of Buncombe and Haywood counties, close to the point where Henderson and Transylvania meet them, but not actually within the latter two counties. The mountain is easily accessible by a hiking trail from Blue Ridge Parkway.



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Asheville Fire Truck

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Notice the chains on the back tires. At the top of the archway that can be seen above the truck reads Asheville City Market but the word Asheville is not very legible.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pack Memorial Library (Asheville, North Carolina)

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This page sheet for the Pack Memorial Library (Asheville, North Carolina) from the out-of-print first edition gem "Cultural Gems: An Eclectic Look at Unique US Libraries." The highly followed critical review, "The Bloomsbury Review Booklover's Guide wrote, "A pictorial architectural survey of . . . interesting libraries. The accompanying text provides a patchwork-quilt history of the growth of libraries in the United States, with insights into how different communities decided to provide public library service . . . every kind of library is represented."


Community Cannery (Asheville, North Carolina) 1910-1920

                                        (for larger image, click on photograph, then click "Actions/View all Sizes")


Monday, December 6, 2010

Sheriff Jesse James Bailey

Jesse James Bailey was born 14 June 1888 in Madison County, North Carolina, to Rasmus Bailey and Sarah Hensley Bailey. He lived to be ninety-two years old, and died 21 December 1980 in Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina. Jesse James Bailey served as sheriff of Madison County, 1920-1922, and of Buncombe County, 1928-1930. Much of his career as sheriff was spent enforcing Prohibition laws. In addition to his work as sheriff, Bailey worked for 58 years as a telegrapher and a detective for the Southern Railroad.

The magazine The State: Down Home in North Carolina in its 8 February 1958 issue published an article titled "The Saga of Sheriff Jesse James Bailey." Successor publication Our State kindly authorized use of that article and its images, with Our State retaining all rights. To read the article go to: Sheriff Jesse James Bailey. You will need Adobe Reader.

Monday, November 15, 2010

These Storied Mountains by John Parris

These Storied Mountains, John Parris (1972).

From the dust jacket:

Here is a rich, new collection of mountain folk tales and mountain folkways, traditions and legends mined from the hills of Western North Carolina by the mountains' special chronicler. This is John Parris, mountain born himself, writing with skill and sympathy and the ease of familiarity about a people of great dignity and simplicity of character, and a land of almost magical and intoxicating beauty.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Liberty Ship SS Zebulon B. Vance (1941)

As the United States entered World War II, the military found itself ill prepared for large-scale naval operations. By 1941 German submarines were sinking American and British ships at a rate far exceeding their production. The government asked certain large shipbuilding companies, including Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia, to produce on government contract much needed cargo ships for the war effort. Newport News Shipbuilding initially declined the government’s request, but in January 1941 announced that it would build the ships in Wilmington, North Carolina, creating a subsidiary company, the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company, for this purpose. This emergency shipyard in Wilmington, along with eight others, geared up to produce 260 ships in 1941—a tall order with a desperate purpose.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"Carolina Special"

The pinnacle of dramatic railroading in the eastern United States was the cresting of the Saluda grade by Southern Railway's Carolina Special, powered by a green and gold trimmed locomotive with a helper on the rear. This train, which ran from Charleston, South Carolina to Cincinnati, Ohio was a typical passenger train of the steam era. It consisted of mail and baggage cars, coaches, a diner and Pullmans. It once boasted an observation car marked "Carolina Special."

Text Source: Southern Steam Trains

Click on photograph for a larger image.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mitchell's Peak: Above the Clouds (1893)

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Mount Mitchell is the highest peak of the Appalachian Mountains and the highest peak in the eastern United States. It was the highest point in any state of the United States until Texas joined the union in 1845. The nearest higher point east of the Rocky Mountains is Harney Peak in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Mount Mitchell is located near Burnsville in Yancey County, North Carolina, in the Black Mountain subrange of the Appalachians, and about 32 miles (51 km) northeast of Asheville. It is protected by Mount Mitchell State Park and surrounded by the Pisgah National Forest. The mountain was named after Elisha Mitchell, a professor at the University of North Carolina, who determined its height in 1835 and fell to his death at nearby Mitchell Falls in 1857, having returned to verify his earlier measurements.

Source: Wikipedia


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Asheville Farm School

In 1894, the Asheville Farm School officially opened with twenty-five boys attending and a professional staff of three people. It was not until 1923 that the school had its first graduating class. In 1936, the first post high school programs in vocational training were begun. It was hoped that this type of training would give the students more prospects in the job market. In 1942, the junior college division was established. The Asheville Farm School continued as a boys unit in high school studies. The Dorland-Bell School of Hot Springs was joined with the Farm School, which brought high school age girls to campus. The Warren Wilson Vocational Junior College was joined with them under our one administration.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Manor (Asheville, NC) 1920s

The Manor and Cottages compose a picturesque small historic district, evocative of Asheville's dramatic turn-of-the-century resort town boom era. The Manor, a resort with an English inn atmosphere conceived by Thomas Wadley Raoul and his father William Greene Raoul, was begun in 1898 on a 32-acre tract of land acquired by the elder Raoul, a railroad magnate. To compete against the lucrative hotels and numerous boarding houses in Asheville, the Raoul family also developed a village of individually designed cottages adjoining the Manor, one of the Nation's earliest planned residential parks. Suffering from tuberculosis, Thomas Raoul moved to Asheville and oversaw the development of Albemarle Park, the dignified name his mother chose for the complex.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Asheville Postcard 1940s

Asheville, North Carolina
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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Drhumor Building (Asheville, NC)

Drhumor Building
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The Drhumor (pronounced "drummer") Building purportedly is the oldest standing commercial building in downtown Asheville. It was built in 1895 by William J. Cocke, an attorney who studied at the University of North Carolina and at Harvard. The building was named for the ancestral Irish island of Cocke's Scots-Irish grandfather and rests on the land where Mr. Cocke's childhood home and birthplace once stood. Architect Allen L. Melton designed the grand Romanesque Revival building, and Biltmore Estate English stone carver Frederic Miles was commissioned to carve the limestone frieze above the first floor exterior.


USS Asheville

USS Asheville
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USS Asheville (PG-21) (Photo #: NH 91411): At Hong Kong, 1924, while serving as flagship of Commander, South China Patrol. The donor served as a radioman in this ship at the time, and has written her radio call letters, "NELV", on the print. Collection of Henry J. Poy. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

USS Asheville (PG-21) was a gunboat that served in the United States Navy during the early days of America's participation in World War II. She was sunk by Japanese forces on 3 March 1942, south of the island of Java, in what was then the Netherlands East Indies.

Monday, August 23, 2010

OBCGS Annual Fall Genealogy Workshop

Old Buncombe County Genealogical Society
2010 Fall Genealogy Workshop

Family History in Your Pajamas: Genealogy on the Internet


September 18, 2010 (Saturday)


Registration and Socializing: 9:00 - 9:30AM
Morning Workshop: 9:30 - 12 Noon
Lunch: 12 Noon - 1:00 PM
Afternoon Workshop: 1:00 PM - 3 PM

Biltmore House Christmas (Asheville, NC)

The television station WRAL-TV (Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, NC) produced a video segment called "Tar Heel Traveler." Below is a link to the piece done on the Biltmore House Christmas decorations:

Biltmore House: Christmas


The Conquest of Canaan

Released by Paramount Pictures in August of 1921, this 35 mm black and white silent film is based on the Booth Tarkington (1869-1946) novel The Conquest of Canaan, written in 1905. The story follows the life of a small-town lawyer, Joe Louden, who endures alcholism and social exclusion, and public ridicule, only to prevail after he earns a law degree, inherits a fortune, and takes on corrupt city officials. [Also based loosely on the John Martin moral treatise, The Conquest of Canaan, (1811), which explores the natural and moral state of individuals in a small town who are both conquerors and conquered in a series of letters from a father to his son.]

The story was filmed in downtown Asheville, N.C., in and around Pack Square, the old Courthouse facing College Street and near the First Baptist Church at the corner of Spruce and College Streets. The old Swannanoa-Berkeley Hotel, later the Earle Hotel, was used as a backdrop and renamed the "Canaan City Hotel" for the film. Streetcars, signs, and other landmarks were re-named for the film and hundreds of extras were hired for the large scenes, particularly the mob-scene on Pack Square.

Tar Heel Traveler (WRAL-TV): Buncombe County, NC

The television station WRAL-TV (Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, NC) produced a video segment called "Tar Heel Traveler." Set forth below are links to those installments relevant to Buncombe County, North Carolina. Note that at times the WRAL video database may be unavailable, perhaps for maintenance purposes. Just check back later.

1. Biltmore House: Christmas

2. Ella Swain

ABC Weblog: New Appearance and Functions

Please note the changes made to the appearance and functionality of the Asheville and Buncombe County Weblog.

In addition to the freshened appearance, functional modifications are:

(1) "Read more" button.
(2) Ability easily to email a link to an article.
(3) Ability to send an item to your own blog.
(4) Ability to share via Facebook and Twitter.
(5) Expanded comment capability.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Western North Carolina

Asheville and Buncombe County has added a new book to its library:

A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Western North Carolina, Catherine W. Bishir, Michael T. Southern, Jennifer F. Martin (1999).

From the Preface:

"This book, a guide to historic architecture in Western North Carolina, is the second in a three-volume series that includes a volume on Eastern North Carolina (1996) and a forthcoming [now published] volume on Piedmont North Carolina. The series is part of the educational and outreach program of the State Historic Preservation Office, North Carolina Division of Archives and History. Each book is intended as a field guide and reference for the traveler, resident, student, and preservationist with an interest in North Carolina's historic architecture. Although too large for a coat pocket, it is meant to fit in a knapsack, glove compartment, or bike basket, for it is intended to accompany the traveler and visitor in the field as well as to rest on a bookshelf."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

UNC Stereograph Collection: Buncombe County

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A collection of miscellaneous stereographs made in North Carolina from circa 1870 to circa 1904. The stereographs are arranged geographically by county, followed by a separate non-geographic group. Stereographs by the photographer Rufus Morgan are in a separate collection (P57: Rufus Morgan Collection).

UNC Sterograph Collection

The stereograph shown above is titled: "Mountain View from Fernihurst or Connally's." The Fernihurst mansion is on the campus of A-B Tech in Asheville.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cherokee Genealogy

Rootsweb posted a tutorial on conducting Cherokee genealogical research. Go to:

Cherokee Genealogy Tutorial

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Trolleys in the Land of the Sky

New acquisition for our library:

Trolleys in the Land of the Sky: Street Railways of Asheville, N. C. and Vicinity, David C. Bailey, Joseph M. Canfield, Harold E. Cox (2000).

The history of street railway development in Asheville, North Carolina, dates from about 1880. However, the true trolley era did not begin until 1889 when an overhead electric trolley system was placed in operation by the Asheville Street Railway.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Descendants of Captain Edmund Sams of Buncombe County, North Carolina

The Descendants of Captain Edmund Sams of Buncombe County, North Carolina (2010)

For more information on this book see: DJM Writer's Group.

Edmund Sams (1750-1845)

John Jarrett was for many years a resident of Buncombe County. In later life he lived on the western bank of the French Broad River, at the place where once the old Smith Bridge and now a concrete bridge at Asheville crosses. There had never been a bridge across that river near Asheville at that time, however. Many years before a ferry had been established at that point by Edmund Sams.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Life of Zebulon B. Vance by Clement Dowd (1897)

This book on the life of Zebulon Baird Vance (1830-1894) can be read online at:

Life of Zebulon Baird Vance

The book contains photographs of Vance we had not seen before.

See also: YesterYear Once More


Monday, June 21, 2010

Zebulon Baird Vance (1830-1894) Marker

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Inscription: In Honor of Zebulon Baird Vance, Confederate Soldier, War Governor U.S. Senator, Orator, Statesman. May 13, 1830 [Wreath and Flag Emblem] April 14, 1894. This tablet is placed by Asheville Chapter U.D.C. 1938. Location. 35° 35.702? N, 82° 33.089? W. Marker is in Asheville, North Carolina, in Buncombe County. Marker is on Biltmore Avenue (U.S. 25) near Patton Avenue (U.S. 74E), on the right when traveling north. Located at Pack Square. Marker is in this post office area: Asheville NC 28801, United States of America.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Asheville (North Carolina) Newspapers

The Asheville Citizen-Times is a Gannett newspaper based in Asheville, North Carolina, U.S.A.. It was formed on July 1, 1991 as a result of the merger of the morning Asheville Citizen and the afternoon Asheville Times.

Founded in 1870 as a weekly, the Citizen became a daily newspaper in 1885. Writers Thomas Wolfe, O. Henry, both buried in Asheville, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, a common visitor to Asheville, frequently could be found in the newsroom in earlier days. In 1930 the Citizen came under common ownership with the Times, which was first established in 1896 as the Asheville Gazette. The latter paper merged with a short-lived rival, the Asheville Evening News, to form the Asheville Gazette-News and was renamed The Asheville Times by new owner Charles A. Webb.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Robert E. Lee Dixie Highway Marker (Asheville, North Carolina)

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Erected and Dedicated by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and Friends In loving memory of Robert E. Lee and to mark the route of the
Dixie Highway “The shaft memorial and highway straight attest his worth — he cometh to his own.” — Littlefield — Erected 1926 by United Daughters of the Confederacy and Friends.

Davidson's Fort: A Day of Marching and Arms Drill (26 June 2010)

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

David L. Swain Historical Marker

David L. Swain Historical Marker

David Lowry Swain (4 Jan. 1801-29 Aug. 1868), lawyer, governor, and educator, was born in the Beaverdam area near Asheville in Buncombe County. His father was George Swain, a Massachusetts native who settled in the Georgia frontier, married, and served in the legislature and the constitutional convention of 1795 before moving to the North Carolina mountains for his health. His mother, Caroline Swain, was the daughter of Jesse Lane, member of a well-known North Carolina family, who moved first to Georgia and then farther west. Her first husband, by whom she had four children, was David Lowry, who was killed during an Indian raid in Georgia. She and George Swain had seven children, of whom David Lowry Swain was the youngest.

Source: Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, William S. Powell, Editor (1994) (Volume 5, P-S).



Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Davidson's Fort Spring Muster 2010

Davidson's Fort Spring Muster 2010

While Davidson's Fort is in McDowell County, North Carolina, the family for which the fort is named was among the earliest settlers of Buncombe County, North Carolina. See: Davidson Family.