tv Tour of Asheville North Carolina CSPAN April 21, 2018 1:33pm-1:46pm EDT
to keep up with the latest news. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] announcer: this weekend, american history tv is featuring asheville, north carolina. the blue ridge mountains, it is over 100 miles inland from the coast. learn more about asheville all tv.end on american history post: we took a driving tour of the city with asheville by foot tour operator kevin. kevin: i am thrilled you are in asheville today. >> we are driving through downtown now. give me a sense of the city. what should we know? kevin: it really is an anchor for this part of the state. it goes back to the early the earlyand i mean
frontier. we are talking 1700s. not cowboys and wagon trains, but early european settlers right when the revolutionary war was coming to a close. and that willide bring us to pack square. this is the central square of town. the civil war governor was from nashville -- from asheville. it is the geographic center of the city today. >> so, that is your city hall, right? built,when they were this was the largest city hall in the northeast. asheville was a boom town, on its way to being a major city and spending to make that happen. by the time the stock market aashed, asheville had amassed
municipal debt of 780 million dollars in today's money, but it was building for the future, preparing for what was to come, and had the people and the money coming into town to merit that kind of planning for the future. when the economy went bust ,ecause of the great depression asheville refused to declare bankruptcy and decided to repay all of those bonds. americae only city in that ever repaid all of its depression era bonds. it did not do so until 1976. it had an old-fashioned bond burning days later to celebrate making those payments. but what it did was that it meant there was no money to invest even after world war ii as the rest of the south was growing by leaps and bounds.
asheville was struggling because it didn't have the money to invest in sidewalks, water systems, sewage systems, and the basic things that allow growth. so it not only didn't grow, there was a time after world war ii when it receded in population , and then things fall apart in the 1970's with suburbanization, as happened all over the country, not unique to asheville. saiduickly, asheville let's turn misfortune from the great depression into our fortune. we have all of this historic fabric. let's don't tear it down. mid-80's we started to see the emergence of what became known as the asheville renaissance. >> everything is kind of a time capsule downtown. were: exactly, because we too broke to tear anything down. people used to move livestock
from appellation down to south carolina. after the civil war, this became a tourist destination. biggest economic driver? kevin: no, medicine is. the populationgs to about 200 and 50,000. with the metro, it's about $450,000. >> what is the asheville vibe today? super chill has a vibe. it's kind of that whole appellation live and let live. appellation --
appellation. i know that. something i know is important to you is southern music. >> asheville has a great music scene. we have not reached the austin stage where we have live bands in walmart and target, but we are getting close. gets -- it plays above its size when it comes to music. on any given night, 70 different live venues around town, from small celtic jam sessions to full on full orchestras and .verything in between >> we have toured downtown. where should we go next? >> let's go to the vanderbilt estate.
entrance.e it was meant to foster curiosity along the way. it's a 3.5 mile road. it was considered one of frederick olmsted's greatest pieces. it was over farmed land that he turned into an enchanted forest. one of the sayings when i mention asheville that everybody responds with is that you have to go to the biltmore. tell us about biltmore estates. biltmore came in 1888 with his mom who was from malaria. you came to asheville for your health. that was the touring -- tourist base in the late 1800s. beautifulto this vista. and we all joke that he turned to his mom he turned
and said i love asheville so much i'd like to build a little summer place here. it is four and a half acres of her floorspace. staff of 80 and another 400 to operate the estate. it was a massive operation. we going next? kevin: this is the river arts district. see art start to popping up. riverrst part is our main . not surprisingly the area where early industrial and major agricultural operations came about. this district, that is what it has been for years. but in the past 20 years, once, ,rankly, everything moved out there began to be some effort to
rethink the district and what it could look like. one of the key things was to turn these old warehouse spaces into great studio spaces that were affordable for artists. today, there are over 400 artists just in this district of town. ew grove was a patent medicine manufacturer in st. louis. he came on holiday to asheville in 1888 along with all the other folks coming to asheville at the time. he thought he would build factory here, but then realized that the real money was in hospitality. he decided to anger with a great view to the western range, and as the citigroup, there would be a great view of the city as well. city grew, there would be a great view of the city as well.
>> one thing i was fascinated by .as the cities literary ties kevin: s scott fitzgerald spent a lot of time here while his wife was in the mental hospital across town. the parkway almost ends in asheville. there were great deal of politics about where the parkway was going to be. end, frankly, the north carolina politicians wanted it in north carolina. it was a works project during the new deal, the roosevelt administration, and because of that, it didn't get a lot of use until the end of the world war, but it is one of america's great scenic drives. >> what are some things that people will see as they drive
the blue ridge parkway? >> they will see stunning this .oes -- vistas >> we have been all over. what would you really like people to know about your city? kevin: asheville is still an old , but a cityd ways of innovation and art that loves to welcome folks to come hang out. there is a grittiness to it, but at the same time, there is a true elegance to it as well. >> thank you so much for showing us around your city. >> my pleasure. >> learn more about asheville and other stops on our tour at .org/city tours.
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