Appalachian Baptism: The Asheville Flood Of 1916

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Anthony Sadler (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Timothy Silver

Abstract: The Southern Appalachian flood of 1916 was no act of God. The actions of a few powerful white men added to the severity of the disaster. It ignited broad social discord and challenged the hegemony of Asheville’s elites. The socio-economic priorities of city leaders shifted. Tourism received the full support of Asheville’s government leaders as river-based industries declined. As a result, hundreds of laborers, both black and white, lost their jobs, homes, and places in society. This story is about class, race, and the rise of industrial capitalism in America. It also adds to historiography detailed analysis of the natural disasters that shaped regional societies.In 1916, Asheville boasted a balanced economy supported by industrial pursuits. Yet, by the 1930s, Asheville suffered immensely during the Great Depression because of that period of unwarranted speculation from which the city never recovered. This study discusses the futility of the belief in the boundless potential of the environment, wealth, and social power structures in early twentieth century capitalist societies. Asheville’s leaders responded conservatively to the flood, which led to further marginalization of vulnerable segments of the population and industries.

Additional Information

Sadler, A. (2016). "Appalachian Baptism: The Asheville Flood Of 1916." Unpublished Master's Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2016
Asheville, Flood , 1916, Appalachia, Environment

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