Asheville (ăshˈvəl, –vĭl) [key], city (1990 pop. 61,607), seat of Buncombe co., W N.C., on the French Broad and Swannanoa rivers and on a plateau in the Blue Ridge Mts.; inc. 1797. Near Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Pisgah National Forest, Asheville is a popular resort, convention, and tourist center. The city is also a financial, transportation, and retail center for W North Carolina. Tobacco is processed and marketed; textiles, electronic equipment, paper, food, auto parts, and glass products are made. The Vanderbilt estate, Biltmore ("America's largest house"), is among numerous recreational and scenic attractions. The home of writer Thomas Wolfe and the Univ. of North Carolina at Asheville are in the city, and the Eastern Cherokee reservation lies to the west.