More than a century ago, George W. Vanderbilt transformed the sleepy crossroads settlement known as Best, or Asheville Junction, on the Swannanoa River into an idyllic model village near the entrance to his vast Biltmore Estate near Asheville. The initial concepts and design for Biltmore Village were the collaborative efforts of Vanderbilt, architect Richard Morris Hunt, and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The finished village included more than 40 residences, a business district, a church, a school, and a hospital. It was centrally located among the developing towns of Victoria, Kenilworth, South Biltmore, and later Biltmore Forest. It characterized the elegance and prosperity of the building booms that flourished in the south Asheville area before and after both world wars. Written by a lifelong resident of Asheville, author Bill Alexander can trace his family roots to the organization of Buncombe County in 1792. Mr. Alexander has been employed by the estate for 30 years and in his current position as landscape and forest historian.