Asheville has a rich and interesting history. Founded in the late 1700s, it has been a town of fairly steady growth, with a couple of periods of "adjustment." As a result, the growth periods tended to tear down and rebuild in the current styles.
Asheville Before the Great Depression
The last big "boom" was in the roaring 1920s, when Asheville experienced a 300% growth rate. Much of downtown Asheville and the existing Victorian homes were demolished to make way for new buildings and homes and roads. Along with that growth came infrastructure projects and new construction that left the town in tremendous debt when the stock market (and the boom) crashed in 1929. The ensuing Great Depression left Asheville reeling, and rather than declaring bankruptcy, the city and the county decided to do the honorable thing and pay the debts. The last of these debts was finally cleared in 1976.
Asheville’s Economic Recovery
Due to the massive debt left from the pre-Depression expansion, the mid-twentieth century saw little growth and development in the struggling town and county. Urban renewal projects were rare, and 1920s Asheville survived (largely) intact. The city that stands today boasts more Art Deco Architecture than any city other than Miami Beach. We have a beautiful, historic and vibrant downtown.
How History has Shaped Housing
Because of the massive development in the early 1900s and subsequent depression and slow growth years, housing in Asheville proper is heavy with homes from the early 1900s, with some in-fill from the mid-century (ranchers). These wonderful historic homes are – like Asheville – eclectic and range in size. They are primarily the bungalow and Arts & Crafts style of the early 20th century. They tend to have nicely sized rooms, lots of windows, and simple details. Further from downtown Asheville, you find more homes from the 1960s and 70s. Newer homes tend to be on the outskirts of town or out in "the county" as except for the few in-fill lots still remaining in town, the city is built out. The new construction of this century is reflective of our past and is predominantly done in "neo" bungalow style.
Asheville’s Historic District
Despite its growth, Asheville has preserved many of its older and "historic" homes. These are primarily in-town bungalows and old farmhouses. The mid-century ranch is also becoming popular, and we have an abundance of ranchers – a few of which are good examples of "mid-century modern." The Montford Historic District is Asheville's most cohesive historic neighborhood, boasting some late Victorian, Victorian transitional to Arts & Crafts, and many Arts & Crafts style homes. Other designated historic districts are Chestnut Hills and Albermarle Park.
Historic Homes for Sale in Asheville, NC
If you are an old house lover, there are some great options for you in Asheville. Keep in mind, styles and inventory may be limited. Truly special examples are rare, so if you find a historic home for sale that you really love, act quickly. Feel free to contact Margaret Vestal for help along the way.