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There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are preparing for a road trip or just out to look at your own town in a new way.

Each walking tour describes historical and architectural landmarks and provides pictures to help out when those pesky street addresses are missing. Every tour also includes a quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on American streets.

The history of Asheville, as a town, begins in 1784. In that year Colonel Samuel Davidson and his family settled in the Swannanoa Valley, redeeming a soldier’s land grant from the state of North Carolina. Soon after building a log cabin at the bank of Christian Creek, Davidson was lured into the woods by a band of Cherokee hunters and killed.

In response to the killing, Davidson’s twin brother Major William Davidson and brother-in-law Colonel Daniel Smith formed an expedition to retrieve Samuel Davidson’s body and avenge his murder. Months after the expedition, Major Davidson and other members of his extended family returned to the area and settled at the mouth of Bee Tree Creek.

The United States Census of 1790 counted 1,000 residents of the area, excluding the Cherokee. The county of Buncombe was officially formed in 1792. The county seat, named “Morristown” in 1793, was established on a plateau where two old Indian trails crossed. In 1797 Morristown was incorporated and renamed “Asheville” after North Carolina Governor Samuel Ashe.

Nestled between the scenic Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains in Western North Carolina, Asheville provides visitors with abundant natural beauty as well as historic and cultural diversity. Since the late 19th century, famous architects, landscape designers, and entrepreneurs have recognized Asheville as an area of great promise.

In the early part of the 20th century, Asheville’s pristine environment and clean mountain air became known for its ìhealingî qualities. Tuberculosis hospitals and other places of healing brought many famous Americans to our city including Edwin Wiley Grove and George Willis Pack. Often times they fell in love with the mountains and the city and decided to stay. Much of their early influence can still be seen in the buildings and green spaces around our community including the Grove Park Inn and Pack Square.

Today downtown Asheville, which is known for its early 20th-century architectural treasures is one of the nation’s better small cities for strolling around and gazing at buildings. We will start our walking tour in Pack Square, the public square has been a central feature of Asheville since the town’s creation in 1797...

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