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Haw Creek "Country In The City"



10/5/2007 - Haw Creek "Country In The City"

HAW CREEK For most of its history, this farming communitys residents lived a mountain apart from city dwellers in Asheville.

Those wanting to get from the isolated valley to downtown first had to go in the opposite direction, following the Swannanoa River south and west to Biltmore Village and then taking Biltmore Avenue north into downtown. They might have taken a stagecoach from Millers store, which served as a stop for travelers for 80 years.

That changed when road builders blasted a tunnel through Beaucatcher Mountain in the late 1920s, creating Tunnel Road. The first subdivisions in the valley sprang up in the 1950s, said Realtor and Haw Creek resident Chris Pelly.

But the biggest change came 50 years later, when workers cut a swath for Interstate 240 in Beaucatcher Mountain in the early 1980s, Pelly said.

The change set off a development boom which continues to this day, with Haw Creek averaging about one new subdivision a year, he said.

But Pelly, who has lived with his family in Haw Creek for more than 15 years, and other longtime residents say the valley maintains much of its character and charm despite the influx of new construction, including many pricey homes.

Pelly said Haw Creek has a country-in-the-city feel. The main downside to the influx, he said, is that some amenities such as sidewalks havent accompanied new residents, though he is working to change that.

As president of the Haw Creek Community Association, I see a big part of my role as advocating for these improvements, he said.

Bob Jolly, 63, has lived in the valley since he was 18 months old, but he chuckles at being called a native.

The only thing a native is, is when someone kicks a rock over, we slide out, Jolly said.

His grandparents came to Haw Creek from Brevard in 1937 so his grandfather could find work as a carpenter. Jolly, who has worked in heating and air conditioning and real estate and development, said the area has changed, and he admits the changes are not always to his liking. The important things remain the same though, he said.

We havent really changed the climate. We still have the four seasons and weve always got the mountains to climb and the valleys, he said.

by Asheville Citizen Times

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