Ridgecrest in Buncombe County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
on railroad between
Old Fort and Asheville.
Constructed by convict
West entrance 300 yds. S.E.
Erected 2008 by North Carolina Office of Archives and History. (Marker Number P-46.)
Location. 35° 37.309′ N, 82° 16.32′ W. Marker is in Ridgecrest, North Carolina, in Buncombe County. Marker is at the intersection of Yates Avenue and Royal Gorge Road, on the right when traveling north on Yates Avenue. Click for map. Located where Old US 70 changes to Royal Gorge Road, at Yates Avenue. Marker is in this post office area: Black Mountain NC 28711, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Swannanoa Gap Engagement (within shouting distance of this marker); Swannanoa Gap (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Stoneman's Raid (approx. 0.4 miles away); Mount Mitchell Railroad (approx. 1.6 miles away); Andrews Geyser (approx. 2.7 miles away); Montreat College (approx. 2.8 miles away); André Michaux (approx. 2.8 miles away); a different marker also named Andrews Geyser (approx. 3.1 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Ridgecrest.
Regarding Swannanoa Tunnel.
By the beginning of the Civil War, all but seventy miles of the route into Asheville was complete. During
Reconstruction, the state secured four million dollars in state bonds for the completion of the railroad. However, George W. Swepson, in his capacity as president of the western division of the Western North Carolina Railroad (WNCRR), and Milton S. Littlefield embezzled the bonds, further delaying the railroad’s completion. Construction of the railroad did not resume until
James W. Wilson, who became president, superintendent, and chief engineer of the WNCRR, oversaw its completion. The hazardous construction involved drilling holes in the mountains of solid rock, blasting the rock, and removing the rubble. Wilson hired an engineer who introduced nitroglycerine as an explosive to replace black powder. The explosive paste that the engineer created using nitroglycerine, sawdust, and corn meal dislodged larger rocks. One hundred and twenty-five men lost their lives during the construction of the Swannanoa Tunnel. The tunnel was holed through on March 11, 1879. By October of 1880, the tracks were clear and the first train from Salisbury entered Asheville. Asheville was not the end of the line for the WNCRR, but rather it pushed farther down the French Broad River to Paint Rock and ended in Murphy in 1891. ( North Carolina Dept. of Cultural Resources)
Categories. • Railroads & Streetcars •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 552 times since then and 26 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. 4. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. 5. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.