Marshall, North Carolina
Marshall is an interesting historic town in a steep valley along the French Broad River. It has a densely built downtown that is out of proportion to it's current population of 872. Marshall was founded in 1855 and began flourish after a rail line was built through town in 1882. Marshall was also on the area's main road- the Buncombe Turnpike, until highway 70/25 was re-routed to bypass the town to the northeast. In 1905 the Capitola yarn mill was built on the opposite bank of the French Broad. The mill was initially powered by the French Broad. The Capitola mill employed several hundreds of people contributing to Marshall's growth. Marshall's population peaked in the 1920s at around 1,800. The Capitola mill began struggling financially in 1926 and was subsequently damaged by a fire in 1928. After the late 1920s the mill operated intermittently and at a drastically reduced capacity. Marshall declined into the second half of the 1900s. The re-routing the highway effectively isolated downtown Marshall channeling all new development in the area 2 miles to the north and east.
More recently Marshall has marketed itself as an artist's community with the tag line; "The Creative Life on the River". It seems to be working. The old high school was been converted to artists studios (pictured below). It looked like the Capitola Mill was being similarly converted. There are several newer looking shops downtown including small galleries, a cafe and a natural foods store. I suspect that many of Marshall's new residents and business people have come from Asheville which is 20 miles away.
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