“The heyday of alcohol drinking began in the 1790s and lasted until the first prohibition efforts in Asheville in the 1830s — an effort backed by women and ministers alarmed by alcohol’s effect on work habits, church attendance and marriage.
“In the 1790s, Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury had just come to North Carolina to start the Great Awakening. He noted how liquor consumption led to excess and distracted from a different kind of spirit; but he could only be cautionary in this regard.
“Whiskey was not only considered a social amenity and a health-giving potion, but also an economic necessity in the mountains.
” ‘A mule could carry about four bushels of corn on the long journey to market,’ Bruce Stewart writes in his book, ‘Moonshiners and Prohibitionists.’ ‘After it was distilled into whiskey, however, a mule could haul the equivalent of twenty-four bushels of corn.’ “
— From “Eavesdropping on an Asheville committee in 1792” by Rob Neufeld in the Asheville Citizen-Times (April 1, 2013)
“When, in the 1920s, Route 10 became Highway 70 (now Old U.S. 70), Point Lookout, just east of Ridgecrest, became a major tourist stop, with a view of Royal Gorge. The site was fully developed in the 1930s by H.A. Ragle of Old Fort, with a retail shop, gas station and motel. Motorists came up from Old Fort and stopped to rest their engines and nerves and visit the stop’s most famous attraction, Sally the Bear, also called ‘Prohibition Sally,’ chained to a cage and enjoying soda pop.
“ ‘Presumably, the Point Lookout viewpoint and parking area became the model for overlooks built along the Blue Ridge Parkway,’ Mary McPhail Standaert and Joseph Standaert write in ‘Swannanoa Valley.’
Ragle sold Point Lookout in 1947. The section of Old U.S. 70 between Old Fort and Black Mountain was closed off when Interstate 40 was constructed in 1968. In 2008, public and private partners created Point Lookout Trail for hikers and bikers, without any tourist attractions, except for the view.”
— From “Portrait of the Past: Point Lookout” by Rob Neufeld in the Asheville Citizen-Times (Feb. 9, 2016)
“In 1861, [Dan] Sickles organized militia for the Union effort, and the next year was appointed brigadier general under Gen. Joseph Hooker in the Army of the Potomac. He rose to major general… and notoriously defied his commanding generals’ instructions at key battles. At Gettysburg, a cannonball mangled Sickles’ right leg, and it had to be amputated.
“Sickles donated his leg, soaked in whiskey as a preservative, to the Army Medical Museum in Washington, D.C., where it became exhibit No. 1335.
“ ‘For years afterward,’ Reid Mitenbuler writes in his book, ‘Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of America’s Whiskey,’ ‘on the anniversary of the amputation Sickles would visit his leg at the museum to remind everyone of his heroic sacrifice, using it to revive a political career that lasted until he’d died at the age of ninety-four.’
“This is the man who ran Reconstruction in North Carolina….”
— From “African-American news reflected 1860s Asheville” by Rob Neufeld in the Asheville Citizen-Times (Feb. 25)
And then there’s Stonewall Jackson’s arm….