52 Weeks, 52 Communities: A Journey Through Buncombe County

Buncombe County has historically been one of the largest counties in North Carolina (Currently we rank number 19 of 100 in land area). In its earliest days, the county was nicknamed “The State of Buncombe” because its borders encompassed an enormous portion of western North Carolina straight to the Tennessee line (and for a short time G983-4

beyond, before Tennessee became a state. Some of Buncombe County’s earliest settlers helped to survey the NC/TN border).

Besides its size, Buncombe County’s rambling, mountainous terrain, bisected by a large, though mostly slow-moving river, made transportation difficult in the earliest days of settlement. What might be a five-minute drive by car today could have been a half a day’s journey by wagon and ferry 175 years ago. These factors have lent themselves over time to the formation of a surprising number of individual communities, each with their own distinct personality and flavor.

The character of each of these neighborhoods can often be defined by architecture, the traditional occupations of residents, geography, or some other factor. That’s why this year, we’re going to take a look at 52 of Buncombe County’s unique communities. That’s right, one a week, for the entire year, to unravel some of the history behind names like “Jupiter” and “Sandy Mush.” We’ll dive into details like the first female mayor of Kenilworth (I bet you didn’t know Kenilworth ever had mayors!) And we’ll aim to answer questions like just where are all the chickens on Chicken Hill?!?

Road Map of Buncombe County, ca. 1903

In alphabetical order, from Albemarle Park to Woodfin, we will spend the year exploring some of Buncombe County’s communities and what makes them special. Sometimes we’ll write an entire blog post, other times we’ll feature the community on Instagram throughout the week. Keep an eye out on all our platforms to stay up to date with the project.

Here’s the list of neighborhoods you can look forward to learning more about in the upcoming year:

  1. Albemarle Park
  2. Alexander
  3. Arden
  4. Avery Creek
  5. Azalea
  6. Barnardsville
  7. Beaverdam
  8. Bent Creek
  9. Beverly Hills
  10. Biltmore
  11. Biltmore Forest
  12. Black Mountain
  13. Broad River
  14. Burton St.
  15. Candler
  16. Cane Creek
  17. Chicken Hill
  18. Deaverview
  19. Democrat
  20. Dillingham
  21. East End
  22. Emma
  23. Enka
  24. Fairview
  25. Five Points
  26. Flat Creek
  27. Glady
  28. Grace
  29. Grovemont
  30. The Hominies
  31. Jackson Park
  32. Jupiter
  33. Kenilworth
  34. Kimberly
  35. Leicester
  36. Limestone
  37. Malvern Hills
  38. Montford
  39. Montreat
  40. Newfound
  41. Oakley
  42. Reems Creek
  43. Ramoth/Woolsey
  44. Riceville
  45. Ridgecrest
  46. Sandy Mush
  47. Shiloh
  48. Southside
  49. St. Dunstan’s
  50. Swannanoa
  51. West Asheville
  52. Woodfin


    1. We wish we could cover every community, too! But we had to narrow it down! We post other things all the time, though, and we’ve started another list of communities. We’re not sure what we’re going to do with it just yet, but be on the lookout!

    2. Hi Stacy,

      Thanks for letting us know. We’ll try to cover it some other way in the near future, or wrap it up into one of these other posts. We tried to pick communities we had the most material to work with. If you have some resources about Haw Creek to share, we’d love to check it out!

    1. Hi June!

      Democrat is on the list! We’ll be talking about it soon! Katherine is excited to dig up tales about this interesting community.

    1. We’ll be talking about “Upper Hominy” and “Lower Hominy” and how to distinguish the two! And We’ve already begun another list that has a lot of the “bygone” communities like Glen Inglis, Alice, Proviso, etc. We might continue this for another year. 🙂

    1. We’ve got a list going for next year, too! We might do this again. When we started brainstorming communities, we were amazed at how many there were!

    1. Hi James! We got started on the very first week of the year! So far, we’ve covered Albemarle Park, Alexander, and Arden. Check out our Facebook and Instagram pages for even more. Arden is the 1st one we haven’t done an initial blog post for, but we ended up with one anyway to answer a question. Thanks for being interested in the series!

    1. We’ll keep it in mind for next year! 😉 We were really surprised at just how many we could come up with!

    1. Hi Suzy,

      We couldn’t cover everything this year! We chose these communities based on the resources in our archives, and began narrowing things down so that there was a semi-even number going through the alphabet. We do have sources on Beaver Lake here, though! We plan to continue this in some way or another in 2020, and we cover communities in different ways throughout the year, too. Be on the lookout!

  1. My grandma was Ethel Dillingham Carson and lived in Big Ivy her entire life. I recognize these names because she talked of relatives lots of times. Of course I never listened wish I had documented

  2. when will Reems Creek information be given. Have I missed it and if so how can I get a copy of the information.

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