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The name Swannanoa derives from a Cherokee word meaning "beautiful river." The beauty and abundance created by the river and surrounding mountains drew Native Americans for hunting. In the 19th century, the Davidson and Alexander families developed Swannanoa's infrastructure, establishing farmsteads, gristmills, lumber mills, and general stores. Families soon flocked to the area, traveling west from the coast and piedmont to escape the sweltering summer heat. The arrival of the railroad in 1879 funneled tourists and permanent residents into the town. One of these, E.W. Grove, who built the well-known Grove Park Inn in nearby Asheville, also designed America's first planned community, Grovemont-on-Swannanoa. Industry came as well; the Beacon Blanket Manufacturing Company was built in 1925. The mill was the center of community in Swannanoa, providing employee housing and many other amenities as well as sponsoring sports teams, music gatherings, and holiday celebrations for over 75 years. Swannanoa showcases the rich history of this North Carolina mountain town; it truly is the "land of the sky."
ISBN: 9780738599403
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing
State: North Carolina
Series: Images of America
Images: 218
Pages: 128
Dimensions: 6.5 (w) x 9.25 (h)
Author Anne E. Chesky Smith is the executive director of the Swannanoa Valley Museum, Buncombe County's primary museum of general local history. These vintage photographs, taken from the museum's extensive collection, document the development of a mill town and the people who made it great.
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