This Art Deco masterpiece sits prominently in the heart of Asheville, North Carolina. It’s the City Hall building, and like many of the architectural gems in Asheville, it was built in the late 1920s … right before the Stock Market crash of 1929.
Asheville was a boom town at the time, and its economic success was expressed in beautiful buildings. Architecture buffs marvel at Neoclassical, Romanesque Revival, Art Deco, Beaux Arts, Gothic and Spanish Renaissance style buildings.
Historians point out that the primary reason this remarkable collection of buildings has survived is that the city had so much debt after the crash, it couldn’t afford to tear them down. In fact, it took the city 47 years to pay all its debts! These buildings are the classic “Lemons to Lemonade”.
There’s a similar tale for Charleston, South Carolina. While the rest of the country was recovering from the Civil War, Charleston was so destitute that its buildings had to stand. And what remains today is one of the best collections of 18th and 19th Century architecture in the country.
We’ve lived in both these cities and thoroughly enjoyed the historic buildings. It’s amazing to realize that they’ve survived in spite of catastrophic human disasters.