An 1892 Insiders' View of Asheville 
In 1812, Asheville, an old and picturesquely located mountain city, was simply a trading post. In 1833 the place was incorporated and for years was known as Morristown. This name gave place later to that of Asheville, in honor of Samuel Ashe, of New Hanover. Its growth has been phenomenal. While it stands pre-eminent as a resort for health and pleasure, in both summer and winter, it deserves high rank as a city of great business resources and importance. ... There are 16 manufacturing and lumber establishments within the city limits, with an aggregate capital of $800,000, doing an annual business of $1,100,000. Real estate transactions are very extensive.
The inducements to visitors and residents are all that could be desired. The best of educational advantages are offered. There are sixteen churches representing all denominations. In Asheville, the Sabbath is honored, the people attend church and a sensation of restfulness may be enjoyed which is not often found at so popular a resort. Some of the finest hotels in America are here. Those most popular are, Kenilworth Inn, Batter Park, Hotel Belmont, Oakland Heights, Swannanoa, Grand Central, Oaks, and Glen Rock. To those wishing less expensive accommodations, are offered many fine boarding houses — among which Mr. McCapes takes high rank. There are also facilities offered at reasonable rates for light housekeeping.
The markets are always well supplied with all the best things which the seasons bring, and at low prices. Large appropriations have been recently made for street improvements, which are rapidly progressing. Those particularly fond of mosquitoes must look elsewhere for a habitation, as this very musical and social, although not altogether popular element is not found in Asheville.
Mr. Geo W. Vanderbilt, the great millionaire, has selected Asheville in which to locate and develop what promises to be the grandest of American homes. "Vanderbilt Park" is composed of 8,000 acres of most charming variety and beauty, lying between the Swannanoa and French Broad rivers. Upon the summit of this vast area is being constructed the Vanderbilt mansion. Its erection will require years of time and millions of money. The grand approach to the residence is through an avenue two miles and a half in length. Mr. Vanderbilt is doing the work through his agent, Mr. McNamee, and only makes occasional visits to note its progress. There is a force employed of 300 hands, and 50 teams. Plans are being developed for costly residences, outbuildings, farm houses, stables, etc., besides the laying out of extensive drives, and roads; planting of orchards and forming of plantations of evergreens, or other trees. This surely is indicative of the popularity and progress of Asheville. Other gentlemen of New York and Philadelphia are also building splendid homes here.