Friday, June 23, 2006

A History of Asheville: Part VI of X

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usPart One and explanation
Parts Two and Three
Part Four
Part Five

Asheville 1930-1940

Asheville's financial boom was silenced abruptly on Nov. 20, 1930, when the Central Bank and Trust Company, major holder of county funds, became insolvent. The great depression descended on Buncombe County as holdings plummeted from nearly $180 million in 1927 to $80 million in 1933. Massive debt for the city and county loomed as schools and sanitary districts were deprived of much-needed funds.

It is no wonder this area gave birth to the Appalachian Park Movement, resulting in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1934, and in 1939 the Blue Ridge Parkway. That tradition thrives with the greenway movement and RiverLink's preservation of the French Broad River for recreation and health.

Asheville retained the highest per capita debt of any city in the country, yet the city officials vowed to pay every cent the city owed. Creditors received their payments and Asheville struggled until 1977—the year the city finally reached the black on the books and all bonds were paid.

Contrasting the lavish atmosphere surrounding the city in the early 1900s, the Great Depression of the early 1930s sent Asheville on a downward spiral economically and psychologically. The depression brought financial devastation to Asheville from which it was slow to recover.

In the mid 1930s, Asheville struggled to recuperate from the Depression and plans were made for two projects which would add someday to Asheville's reputation as a tourist destination throughout the world. Under the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration, construction of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Blue Ridge Parkway gave much-needed employment to members of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

Despite Asheville's suffering, the Land of the Sky reaped unrivaled architectural benefits from the Great Depression. After the Stock Market Crash in 1929, many cities chose to default on Depression-era bonds and liabilities. Asheville city fathers decided to pay back every dime of the city's debts. Many generations paid the price for this decision until the slate was cleared in 1977.
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1 comment:

Edgy Mama said...

More please. How did we reap "unrivaled architectural benefits" by paying our debt?