Asheville in the Roaring ’20s talk by Kevan Frazier

HUNGRY FOR HISTORY  Brown Bag Lunch Series Continues: Bring a bagged lunch and join us.

Wednesday September 30, 2015

12 noon to 1 pm: Kevan Frazier: “Asheville and The Roaring 20’s”

In celebration of the Allied Victory in World War I, the 1920s ushered in an era of what some believed would be permanent prosperity. The Roaring Twenties were a period of tremendous change in United States, in general, and Asheville, in particular, as the city’s population nearly doubled to over 50,000 in only a decade. The boom could be seen in the dramatic physical transformation of the city, from Asheville’s first skyscraper, to its many Art Deco masterpieces. At once, the city’s “Program for Progress” moved Asheville closer to being one of the South’s great cities while at the same time it plunged it into a mire of debt that crippled the city for some 50 years.

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Photos showing the Jackson Building, Asheville’s first skyscraper, built 1924 for Lynwood B. Jackson by Ronald Greene. Photo circa 1925-26 by George Masa.

Frazier is the Executive Director of Western Carolina University at Biltmore Park in Asheville and has been a History professor and higher education administrator for some 20 years. A native, Kevan is also the owner/operator of Asheville by Foot walking tours, and recently published a new book, Legendary Locals of Asheville, a collection of 150 biographical shorts of folks who have shaped the city over the past 200 years.

A library patron and fellow historian recently told us she had taken one of Frazier’s tours and that he had such a depth of knowledge about Asheville’s history that she found herself taking notes, and was going to go on the tour again, so she could take notes on what she missed the first time. As a professor of history, he’s earned high praise over the years from his students for making history relevant, accessible, and enjoyable through his great storytelling. The North Carolina Room staff is grateful to Kevan for his work and passion and we are all lucky to have him share his knowledge with us.

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