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Tipper posted a blog post

When You Get in the Habit of Saying the Same Thing

Have you ever been around someone who used the same word or words in every sentence? Years ago, I was introduced to a man who at the end of every sentence said and what not. I remember being obsessed with listening to him. I wanted to see if just once he wouldn't say and what not. It never happened. He said the phrase at the end of every sentence just like clock work.A few other habitual sayings I've…See More
Thursday
Bil Stahl updated their profile
Feb 17
Ann Miller Woodford posted an event
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Ann Miller Woodford at Gospel Singing program: Liberty Baptist Church, Sylva, NC & Exhibit; WCU Mountain Heritage Center

February 19, 2017 from 3pm to 5pm
WCU's Mountain Heritage Center and curator, Ann Miller Woodford, will present an exhibit on African-American far western NC community, music, and history, based on Ann’s book, When All God's Children Get Together: A Celebration of the Lives and Music of African American People in Far Western North Carolina.The exhibit is based upon Woodford’s book of the same name, which examines musical traditions of the African-Americans as practiced at home, work, churches and schools.The exhibit examines…See More
Feb 16
Rob Neufeld posted discussions
Feb 15
Rob Neufeld posted blog posts
Feb 15
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy Rytson

Tyson’s Emmett Till book probes darknessby Rob NeufeldEVENT: Timothy Tyson discusses his book, “The Blood of Emmett Till,” at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood St., Asheville, 6 p.m., Wed., Feb. 15.  828-254-6734.             The headline about the publication of Timothy Tyson’s new book, “The Blood of Emmett…See More
Feb 13
Tipper posted a video

Kudzu Kickers - Waltz Clog

In case you didn't know-we dance too! Our clogging team is called the Kudzu Kickers. In this video we were practicing for an upcoming festival. The Pressley ...
Feb 11
Tipper posted a blog post

Memories and Food

Each of us have memories that are connected to food. Typically those remembrances are directly related to our childhood, you know the things we ate around the family table like the chocolate gravy I told you about earlier this week.A few years ago I…See More
Feb 11
City Lights Bookstore posted events
Feb 8
Rob Neufeld posted a blog post

Jewish Studies special events March 23-26

Center for Jewish Studies 35th Anniversary Events from press releaseUNC Asheville’s Center for Jewish Studies (CJS) will celebrate its 35th anniversary with a series of special events on and off campus March 23-26. Rick Chess talk and readingUNC Asheville Professor of English Richard Chess has been director of the CJS for the past 25 years and will deliver the 2017 Phyllis Freed Sollod Memorial Lecture on the celebration’s opening night. A poet and essayist, Chess will offer a vision of Jewish…See More
Feb 7
Julia Nunnally Duncan updated their profile
Feb 7
David E. Whisnant updated their profile
Feb 6
Rob Neufeld posted blog posts
Feb 4
City Lights Bookstore posted an event
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David Joy Presents His Second Novel at Jackson County Public Library

March 3, 2017 from 6:30pm to 8pm
The Jackson County Public Library and City Lights Bookstore are co-hosting an event with David Joy on Friday, March 3rd at 6:30 p.m. He will present his second novel, The Weight of This World, in the Community Room of the Jackson County Public Library. Set in the Little Canada community of Jackson County, The Weight of This World is a story of three people haunted by their past. A combat veteran returned from war, Thad Broom can’t leave the hardened world of Afghanistan behind, nor can he…See More
Feb 4
Tipper posted a blog post

Hiccup Cures

Do you ever get the hiccups? Every once in a while I do. If I have them once during a day-I always have them again before the day is over. My record is 5 different times in one day.We've all heard drinking water or holding your breath is the remedy to stop hiccups. According to John Parris saying this tongue twister will cure them:Hickup, snicup, rise up, right up! Three drops in the cup are good for…See More
Feb 4
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

The German experience settling WNC

The German migration to Western North Carolinaby Rob Neufeld PICTURE CAPTION: An immigrant family comes down the Philadelphia Wagon Road in the mid-18th century, as had the George Schuck family done, and as this Scots-Irish family is doing in an 1872 “Harper’s Weekly” illustration, titled, “The…See More
Feb 3

Excitement burst forth at Montford’s advent

by Rob Neufeld

 

            Let’s talk about the colonizing of Asheville.  You may be or may soon become one of the happy newcomers yourself!

            If you were visiting in 1890, you would have attended to the big welcome mat leading from downtown Asheville to what has become Montford.

            Much of the land for this charming neighborhood came from Richmond Pearson, whose father, Richmond Mumford Pearson, had left his heirs what they determined was “unproductive” property, “not susceptible of an advantageous partition among the residuary legatees,” according to one correspondence.

            But that was in 1879, one year before the railroad reached Asheville.  It took a decade, but, like a stop-motion film, farm life began yielding to the charmed life of suburban dream homes.

            Pearson bought up his siblings’ shares and joined several local partners to lay out lots and streets under the auspices of the Asheville Loan, Improvement and Construction Company.

            Its first sale was to Walter B. Gwyn on Oct. 23, 1890.  There’s no image of his deed online. 

            Gwyn was the president of the Asheville and Craggy Mountain Railroad, which was about to lay tracks up Sunset Mountain.  He was also a realtor whose ad stamped just about every issue of the “Asheville Daily Citizen.”

            Gwyn lived on Grove Street, according to the 1896 City Directory, so I’m inclined to think he did not have a house in Montford.

            Two months passed before the Montford company sold its second lot to Charles Hartshorne, on Dec. 23, 1890.

            Hartshorne was a lumber dealer, and he’s harder to track than Gwyn.  In 1890, he was living in a boarding house.  In 1896, he’s listed neither in the main section of the city directory, which includes some Montford addresses, nor in a separate name-only list of Montford residents in the back. 

            A.J. Lyman, to whom Hartshorne sold a Montford lot—perhaps the one in question—in 1893, shows up in 1896 as living on Merrimon Avenue; and his name is like a revolving door in Buncombe County’s records of land purchases and sales.

            All this digging leads to the meagre conclusions that we cannot easily anoint a first Montford homeowner; and that the first responders to the Montford good news were speculators.

 

Hype

 

            Montford had been a bold and new idea whose time had come in 1890.

            It may not seem that its location was very distant from downtown Asheville.  Yet, the Oak Street Inn at Oak and Woodfin Streets—much closer to downtown—appealed in ads to boarders who desired “a nice, quiet place, away from the hotels...with no dust or noise.”

            It also offered the “latest improved methods for treating chronic diseases of the lungs, throat and nose by the inhalation of vaporized and atomized fluid.”

            Getaways have been the attraction in Asheville throughout its history, but the nature of them has changed.

            Passing into the 20th century, suburbanites supplanted consumptives; and weekend visitors outnumbered summer residents.  Edwin Wiley Grove became a major force in both these trends, creating the Grove Park neighborhood in 1908 and the Battery Park commercial hotel in 1924.

            The excitement about Montford went along with an unprecedented amount of optimism about the new, industrialized and cosmopolitan South.

            The Inter-state Immigration Convention met in Asheville on December 17, 1890.  You should have heard the rhetoric.

            Representatives from Virginia to Texas—350 of them filling the Opera House on Patton Avenue—resolved “that the war between the sections is ended and all bitter remembrances thereof are forgotten.”  They issued a call “for 500,000 sturdy sons of toil and 500,000 manufacturers of the north and west, to make their home with us and to join in the development of this land of ours”

            Now that the railroad had opened the area up to industry, commerce, and settlement—that is, to prosperity, profits, and polite society—many Ashevillians were giddy about the pending marriage to outside investment.

            A blizzard greeted convention delegates the first day, and Governor David Fowle poeticized, “North Carolina has met you dressed in the garb of a bride.  She has put on her snowy robes in your honor.”

            In the meantime, the city was looking to clean up its act.    Editorials decried the Opera House for its “cheap-john shows.”  There was a movement afoot to make primary and secondary schooling compulsory.  An Asheville editorial, condemning the lynching of an African-American man in Rome, Ga., noted that that state “is anxious just now, as all the Southern states are and should be, to attract emigrants.”

           

Celebrate

 

            The transition to modern Asheville expressed itself in many ways, including war between owners of dogs as lovable pets, on the one hand; and, on the other, owners of hunting dogs, allowed to roam free to keep them in shape.

            But it wasn’t all conflict in the convergence of country and city, and of northern and southern ways.  There were some commonalities.

            Hunting, for instance, was a passion that Southerners of Daniel Boone stock and Northerners of Teddy Roosevelt mentality shared.  George Washington Vanderbilt had had a hunting preserve foremost in his mind when he’d first envisioned his estate. 

            And you couldn’t make a trip to the mountains without roughing it a little bit.

            “Howard P. Sweetser, a prominent banker of New York, and F.P. Love, of this city,” the “Daily Citizen” reported on Dec. 5, “returned from a three days hunting trip to Sandy Mush last night.  They report having brought back 5 wild turkeys, 75 partridges and a number of rabbits.”

            In Montford, the union of lifestyle preferences flourished beautifully in domestic architecture.

            A late Victorian upper class style combined with the Arts & Crafts cottage style to produce a wide range of homes that featured wood, native stone, craftsmanship, and organic shapes.

            Montford became, and remains, a museum of creative solutions. 

            “What is remarkable about Montford,” the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County states in its book, “Historic Montford,” “is the rich combination of...various influences...The neighborhood mirrors in subtle ways Asheville’s cosmopolitan character at the turn of the century.”  Inclusion of the ideas of national architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and others puts the neighborhood in a unique class.

            On July 4, 1890, Richmond Pearson—Yadkin County-born, Princeton-educated, both internationally and locally celebrated as a consul to Belgium and then a North Carolina assemblyman—decided to throw a huge party for local and visiting folks at Montford Park, below his newly developing Richmond Hill estate.

            Here’s how you would have attended if you’d been there at that time.

            Go to Public Square and take a streetcar to the train depot; then take the train to the Owenby trestle.  There, the Asheville Band will play while you gather to follow marshals to group photo ops at scenic locations. 

            Food, non-alcoholic drinking, fireworks and dancing will follow the fun of participating in a public works enterprise. 

“One thousand men will grade in one hour,” the organizers announced, “a half mile of road on either side of Lake Marjorie,” the recreational location to be formed by the construction of a dam.  (The lake and park would, in 1916, be wiped out by the Great Flood.)

            The celebration, the announcement concluded, is “given under the auspices of the Asheville Loan, Improvement and Construction Company by Mr. Pearson in consideration of the privilege which the company have allowed him in naming the new park Montford, the family name of his grandmother.”  (This revelation may resolve the mystery of how Montford got its name.)

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