Swannanoa is a census-designated place (CDP) in Buncombe County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 4,526 in 2007. The community is named for the Swannanoa River, which flows through the settlement. The Swannanoa River joins the French Broad at Asheville, North Carolina. The Cheraw Indians lived east of the Cherokee until they were obliged to join the Catawba people early in the 18th Century. Their name for themselves must have been something like “Suwala,” because de Soto called them Xuala and, to the Cherokee, they were Ani-Suwali ["they are Suwali"]. The Cherokee name for the route from the mountains to the Cheraw country was Suwa’li-nunnohi ["Suwali path"]. In English pronunciation, that became Swannanoa and was applied to the river and the mountains just east of Asheville. It is part of the Asheville Metropolitan Statistical Area. Swannanoa is approximately located between Asheville and Black Mountain. I-40 passes through the main commercial area of Swannanoa, which is focused around Ingles supermarket and gas station. The old commercial area sits beside an empty lot where the old Beacon Blankets plant once sat. The Beacon Plant was the epicenter of the Swannanoa community, built by the late Charles D. Owen,Sr.