The turnpike was a rough ride by today’s standards, but it showcased the area’s beauty and helped launch Asheville as a resort town.
A circa-1880 photograph shows a stretch of the turnpike along the French Broad River to Warm Springs, current day Hot Springs.
Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury’s account of his trek through Mills Gap in 1801, before the turnpike was built, highlighted the dangerous terrain.
Thousands of pigs and other livestock formed a steady parade along the dirt and gravel road from October through December each year.
Drovers and livestock were fed and spent the night at roadside stands, including Alexander’s Inn along the French Broad River.