History Timeline

Asheville History: 1980 - Present

Asheville Sunset West Asheville Graffiti Girl with the Sun in the Palm of Her Hand

Until 1977, Asheville was devoid of the funds to invest in “urban renewal,” but come the early 1980s there was a referendum to tear up downtown and put new convention centers and a mall from Biltmore to Lexington Avenue. This was a defining moment where the citizens of Asheville voted towards what would become a downtown preservation movement. A few years later, for approximately $14 million dollars, a project to renovate Wall Street, Downtown Patton, and Pritchard Park areas was instituted. Regardless, throughout the 80’s, Downtown Asheville was largely vacant of businesses as suburban malls put the economic squeeze on the few shops that remained. Asheville’s nightlife was pretty much non-existent, and the restaurants, bars, pubs, bistros, and shops that abound today were nowhere to be seen.

In the early 90's, downtown development began take form again, transforming metropolitan Asheville into the lively community that exists today. Where boarded up buildings stood devoid of life, fresh businesses began to take firm root and flourish.

By the millennium and especially today, downtown Asheville hosts an eclectic melting pot potpourri of artisans, merchants, restaurants, taverns, offices and some of the best people watching this side of the Mississippi. Today visitors from all over the world sojourn in Asheville to satiate their curiosity of what makes “The Land of the Sky” so extraordinary. Asheville is consistently ranked high among the best places to live, work, and retire in the US. Whether this stems from Asheville’s unique natural and architectural beauty, moderate climate, outstanding educational and health care facilities, indigenous arts and crafts, or “awesometastic” festivals, only the curious explorer can make that distinction. The City’s long-range planning is directed to maintain and improve the quality of life in the area, so that it shall remain one of the "best places” on this planet earth.

Pack Square with Vance Monument in Downtown Asheville Mother and Son Atop a Waterfall Hippies Holding Hands on Lexington Avenue, Downtown Asheville
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1940 - 1980
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1980 - Present: Asheville History - About Asheville, NC