For two centuries, people have traveled through the mountains of North Carolina to the city of Asheville. Early visitors came on foot, driving animals to market down the Buncombe Turnpike. Later, stagecoaches brought wealthy planters out of the heat of low-country summers. The railway brought an influx of visitors from all over the country, including Northerners escaping cold winters and patients looking for health cures. The advent of the automobile made travel even more accessible, and people flocked to the mountain town for scenery and entertainment. Tourism became central to Asheville's growth and industry, with many of the towns' prominent citizens taking part in the hotel trade and building iconic hotels like Battery Park and Grove Park Inn that attracted famous guests from all over the world. From simple hotels to large grand inns, economical boardinghouses, and accessible motels, Historic Inns of Asheville showcases the city's abundant history of accommodation.
Amy C. Ridenour started exploring Asheville history through volunteer work with the Western North Carolina Historical Society. Historic Inns of Asheville draws primarily from photographs in the North Carolina Collection at Pack Memorial Library and D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections at UNC Asheville.