Campus in the Castle
At the end of World War II, UNC Asheville's predecessor, Asheville-Biltmore College, was inundated by returning veterans whose tuition and fees were paid by the G.I. Bill. The increase in enrollment made it necessary to look for more classroom space and faculty. So in 1949, Asheville-Biltmore College moved again, its fifth relocation since 1927.
The new location was Overlook Castle, also known as Seely's Castle. The mansion had been the private residence of Fred Seely and his wife, Evelyn Seely, daughter of E.W. Grove. Fred Seely helped build and manage the Grove Park Inn, among other businesses.
Asheville-Biltmore College was nicknamed The College in the Sky. Students were proud of their campus in the castle, but access was difficult in bad weather, and the steep terrain left little space for parking. Dr. William Highsmith recalls in his history of the university, "Students hitchhiked up and down the road, and it was common practice to pick them up and take them to the big gate on Town Mountain Road."
As the student population grew, the small mountain-top campus became insufficient, and its location limited expansion possibilities. So 161 acres were purchased in 1958, and in 1961, the college came down from the mountain to take its place in North Asheville.