“Asheville was already in a slide when the stock market crashed in October 1929. The coup de grace came when several major banks in town failed in November 1930….
“The city, county and public schools had nearly $8 million in deposits in the failed Central Bank & Trust. Its closure exposed politicians’ bad bet for all to see.
“Criminal indictments followed, and at least two officials committed suicide, including former Mayor Gallatin Roberts.
” ‘My soul is sensitive, and it has been wounded unto death,’ Roberts wrote in a suicide note addressed to the people of the city. ‘When I went into office nearly four years ago I found millions of dollars of the people’s money in the Central Bank, and I tried with all my soul to protect it. … What would you have done?’ ”
— From “Some thought ’20s boom would endure” by Mark Barrett in the Asheville Citizen-Times (Sept. 6, 2009)
“Asheville suffered a greater financial hardship than all others from the 1929 Crash, shouldering a per capita debt burden that was the greatest in the country. Today, the liability that city carried for almost 50 years has turned it into an American architectural treasure….
“During those years the city stayed much as it was before that black day in 1929. The tax base was small enough that growth was slow, and what tax monies were generated funded more pressing needs than the destruction of old buildings….”
— From “Asheville’s Architecture Treasure Chest” at Romantic Asheville