Enka is an unincorporated community in Buncombe County, North Carolina, United States. It lies on U.S. Routes 19, 23, and 74 Business near the interchange of Interstates 26, 40, and 240. Although it is unincorporated, it has a post office, with the ZIP code of 28728. The American Enka Company, incorporated in 1928, built what became the nation’s largest rayon-producing factory. The Dutch name of the rayon company was Nederlandse Kunstzijdefabriek, and it is from the Dutch phonetic pronunciation of the initial letters N and K of the firm’s name that “Enka” is derived. The alternative explanation that Enka stands for “Eerste Nederlandse Kunstzijdefabriek Arnhem” is incorrect. In 1929 the company began developing a community plan that included employee houses and became known as Enka Village. Enka Village is now a historic community and is part of the city of Asheville.
The future of Enka
On July 6, 2010, the city of Asheville began looking at a proposal for Enka Center, which will take an estimated 14 years to complete. The clock tower of the former American Enka plant would be the centerpiece of a retail center on the northwest section of the 192-acre (0.78 km2) site. Portions of the plant still stand, including a campus of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College; these would remain. Offices, warehouses and industrial areas would locate in the southeastern part of the complex. 29 acres (120,000 m2) would remain open space, and a greenway would follow along Hominy Creek.