The Buncombe Turnpike, a trade route connecting eastern Tennessee and the upstate of South Carolina, transformed Asheville into a vital market for area farmers. The city's economy became focused on corn, livestock, and services for traders on the Turnpike.
Prior to the arrival of the Salisbury-Best railroad station in October 1880, getting to Asheville was inconvenient at best. The most common means of transportation to the city was by rail to Old Fort (the terminus of the Western North Carolina railroad between 1869 and 1880) and stagecoach up the initial descent into the Blue Ridge and the rest of the way to Asheville.
Ready notes that the city was so slow to "recover from the Civil War that by 1868 it had only six stores, a post office, four taverns, and less than 1,200 inhabitants.aE The city's population more than doubled by 1880, touting 2,610 residents. With the coming of the railroad, Asheville grew to 10,235 residents by 1890.
The railroad opened Asheville to the rest of North Carolina. Bob Terrell notes that he "daresay Asheville might still be a crossroads town rather than the thriving metropolis it is had the railroa