The Story: Asheville Groundbreaking


"Robinson said that Parkway travel continued to increase in 1966. It drew a record 8,011,616 visitors as compared to 7, 997, 354 in 1965. Of this number, 3, 094, 572 visitors were counted last year on the Parkway's Asheville district, which covers 155 miles of Parkway from Beacon Heights to Cherokee."

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Other Industries
But as the historical census data demonstrates, there were other factors involved in Asheville's resurgence. Other popular industries for Asheville's employed population included hospitals (5%), food and dairy product stores (3.5%) and educational services (4.5%) (U.S. Bureau of Census 1961). Also, only a year after the Blue RIdge Parkway link was completed around Asheville, Interstate 40 was finished through western North Carolina, enabling highway travel from across the state to the Asheville area. While the Blue Ridge Parkway certainly had a lasting and significant impact on Asheville, it was not the panacea that the early promoters had imagined or the only factor that would determine Asheville's future.

Unanswered Questions
This leaves numerous unanswered questions: What was the construction-related employment generated by the Parkway and what impact did it have on Asheville? What were the indirect effects of tourist travel on the Parkway on Asheville's economy? What other spin-off effects can be attributed to the Blue Ridge Parkway? What was the true effect of the Blue Ridge Parkway on Asheville, N.C.?