Tent city proposed for Asheville tourists

“A housing shortage was a top concern for Asheville at the start of 1920 — imagine that! But unlike today, the emphasis was on how the scarcity  would damage the city’s reputation as a summer resort.

“ ‘People will not return season after season if there is no assurance of a place to sleep,’ The Asheville Citizen warned. ‘Let word gradually go out that in summer Asheville is uncomfortably crowded, and Asheville will be condemned through her own negligence to the position of a third-rate resort.’

“Heeding the warning, the paper continued, the Board of Trade adopted plans to send ‘the estimated cost of Kiosk shacks … to boarding houses and others who might be interested in building these small tent-like structures near places where board can be secured. In addition, it was suggested that a tent city be formed with larger tents for dining rooms, recreation and rest centers [which] could have electric lights, water and the usual conveniences.’

“On June 18, 1920, The Asheville Citizen again reported on the dire need for housing tourists, but at this point talk of tents and kiosk shacks appear to have dropped from the conversation.”

— From “City faces housing shortage for summer tourists, 1920” by Thomas Calder at Mountain Xpress (Oct. 24, 2021)