Asheville History: 1920 - 1930
The 1920’s brought to Asheville a time of extreme growth and a feeling of impregnability. Like many American cities at the time, Asheville had three important ingredients to its successful equation, an impressive boom, unprecedented confidence, and rapid expansion. Blissfully ignorant of doom that loomed right over the horizon, consumer confidence soared, and Asheville quickly became known as the hub of WNC. Downtown flourished, a new Pack Memorial Public Library found its home in sparkling white Georgia Marble, and beautiful Tennessee limestone helped to mold the new courthouse which was dedicated on the first of December in 1928.
When one visits the mountains and feels the fresh mountain air caress them, it is healing. During the early 1920s, many from around the globe found respite and revitalization in the valley town. Doctors from around the country recommended the WNC Mountains to those ailing from respiratory problems, as well as those who suffered from tuberculosis.
In 1926 and the two years following the most exemplary example of Art Deco was brought to the downtown area by internationally known architect Douglas Ellington. Ellington erected a stunning statuesque symbol of the development boom of the twenties in the form of the Asheville City Hall. Its physique is colorful and powerful, rising a full eight stories defining the Asheville skyline. The octagonal roof and ziggurat tower have come to represent the city as centerpiece of the official city seal. The materials chosen for this exemplar of Art Deco include brick, terra cotta and marble all close in color to the local Asheville soil. The cost of the new City Hall was reported by Asheville Mayor H. Cathey to be upwards of a staggering $750,000 yet an, “attraction to visitors and a pride to residents.” Not all shared Mayor Cathey’s enthusiasm for the project and it was met with much resistance and debate.