Riceville, the rural community that lies in the westernmost part of our beautiful Swannanoa Valley, has a rich and very colorful history. The community is named for Joseph Marion Rice, one of the earliest settlers in Buncombe County. Rice fought in the Revolutionary War, and then settled in the Riceville Valley to farm, hunt and trap. He also operated a stock stand where drovers rested their livestock on the journey from farm to market.
If you travel the Blue Ridge Parkway and stop at the Bull Creek overlook (milepost 373) you’ll see a historical sign commemorating the spot along Bull Creek where Joseph Rice killed the last of this area’s great buffalo in 1799. Joseph Rice is buried in the Rice-Hughey cemetery, which is located on land that Rice homesteaded off what is now Bull Creek Road.
At one time, Riceville boasted its own post office, a grist mill, and a number of stores and other businesses. Many of the historic structures and homes are still standing.
If you’d like to learn more, you can visit the Riceville history exhibit at the Riceville Community Center.
To read more about the fascinating history of the Riceville community, please click here.