Beaverdam Valley starts at the corner of Merrimon Avenue and Beaverdam Rd., about 2 miles north of downtown Asheville. The Valley is approximately three miles long and one mile wide (see boundaries for specifics). The original community included the bottomlands now covered by Beaver Lake, built in 1929 by the city of Asheville. Beaverdam Road was once a narrow unmarked concrete road curving between Beaver Lake Golf Course and the Beaverdam Baptist Church. During the 1950s, the city limits ended at the Methodist Church on Beaverdam Rd. In the 1960s the city extended to Spooks Branch Road and in the 1990s the city limit was extended to the end of Beaverdam Road.
The area was named Beaverdam Creek by early English explorers because of the numerous beaver dams along the main stream from the French Broad River to the upper valley. The headwaters, once more fast flowing, are where the creek divides, at the intersection of Lynn Cove and Webb Cove Roads.
Prior to the arrival of the first European white settlers in the 1780s, Beaverdam Valley was a Garden of Eden. The undisturbed forests contained a variety of native trees such as chestnuts, massive oaks and tulip poplars. Native Americans hunted along the creek. Game included herds of wood bison, massive elk, white tail deer, buffalo, black panthers, red wolves, black bear, muskrats, rabbits, ground hogs, squirrely, possum, raccoons, and fox. There is proof that these Native Americans were the ancestors of the great Cherokee Nation though there is no proof that Beaverdam Valley was a permanent village site.
Early settlers and still familiar names in the Beaverdam Valley include Asbury, Baird, Bassett, Bell, Carter, Ingle, Jones, Killian, Rice and Wolfe.
At one time Beaverdam Valley was home to the Beaverdam Grocery at the corner of Pinecroft and Beaverdam Roads and supplied staples such as sugar, beans, coffee, lard, etc. The second Beaverdam Grocery, known as the “Little Store” operated from the late 1930s to the late 1970s. It was located between the intersections of Lynn and Webb Cove Roads. During the 1950s, two gas pumps were installed at the west end of the building and sold gas for as little as 25 cents a gallon.
Environmental writer Wilma Dykeman, who called Beaverdam Valley her second home was one of Beaverdam Valley’s more notable residents. Her home now continues as a historical landmark for the neighborhood and inspiration for today’s authors, housing the UNCA Writers-in-Residence program. She is buried in Lewis Memorial Gardens, a local landmark.
The Valley has evolved over time and has contained dairy farms, cornfields, log cabins, and antebellum farmhouses. The Beaverdam community today has several subdivisions and condominium communities. Though their natural habitat has decreased in size due to development, there are still many wild animals living in the Valley, such as black bear, fox, raccoons and wild turkeys, making Beaverdam Valley a unique community.
Excerpted from Beaverdam, Historic Valley of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A Nostalgic Look at a Valley and its People. By Rex Redmon.
Historic Wilma Dykeman Homestead as shown on the Riverlink website
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