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Preserve America is a national initiative in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; the U.S. Departments of Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities; and the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

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Preserve America Community:
Asheboro, North Carolina

The town of Asheboro (population 25,124), is the county seat of Randolph County. Named for Governor Samuel Ashe, it received its original charter from the state legislature on Christmas Day, 1796. The village dates its beginning to 1780, when residents of Randolph County demanded the county seat be moved to a more convenient location. For much of the town’s early history, court-related business was the primary business of the town.

In July 1889, the High Point, Randleman, Asheboro and Southern Railroad arrived, marking the beginning of a period of prosperity and growth for the town. After the arrival of the railroads, Asheboro’s population nearly doubled every 10 years.

The present county courthouse was completed in July 1909, at a cost of $34,000. Electricity was brought to town, along with a water system fed by wells. The fire department was organized, a new public school built, and the first hospital created. The town’s industrial base expanded from wood products and blacksmith shops to textile factories. By 1912 there were already about 30 stores in Asheboro, as well as two roller mills, two chair manufacturers, a lumber plant, a hosiery mill, a wheelbarrow factory, and a foundry.

In 1923, without warning, the post office suddenly changed the spelling of the town’s name from “Asheborough” to “Ashboro.” The current spelling, “Asheboro,” was a compromise reached after loud protests by citizens and Congressman William Cicero Hammer.

While the businesses of the town suffered during the Great Depression and World War II, the war’s aftermath resulted in a flurry of industrial plants opening in the area. These included Eveready Battery Co., the B.B. Walker Shoe Co., and the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Like many cities across the country, industry has recently been in decline in Asheboro, which is working to diversify its economy. An emphasis on services, as well as on attractions like the North Carolina Zoological Park, are part of efforts to market the town as a tourist destination.

Asheboro is also working to utilize its historical resources to attract visitors. One of these is the Randolph County Courthouse, which has played a major role in the town’s growth and development since its opening in 1909. In 2008, the courthouse was designated as Randolph County’s first official Local Historic Landmark.

For more information

City of Asheboro: http://www.ci.asheboro.nc.us/index.html

The Heart of North Carolina Visitors Bureau: http://www.heartofnorthcarolina.com/

History of Asheboro: http://www.ci.asheboro.nc.us/about/history.html

Posted September 16, 2010

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