Montford is one of Buncombe County’s most iconic historic neighborhoods. In this installment of 52 Weeks, 52 Communities, we could take almost any angle on Montford; there is just so much to talk about. So instead of trying to pick just one thesis, I decided that this would be a great opportunity to put together a bibliography of material held here in the North Carolina Room that would help anyone interested in learning more about the neighborhood.
Like I discussed in the post, “Historical House Hunting in Kimberly,” one of the most common questions we get from patrons in the NC Room is “I live in a historic home, how can I learn more about it?” Hopefully for you Montford folks (or those interested), this little list will be a great starting point on your journey to learn more about you’re the place you call home.
Selected Special Collections:
Buncombe County Pamphlet Collection, MS028
The Buncombe County Pamphlet Collection is an ongoing collection of material collected by NC Room Staff (and donors) that documents business, organizations, government entities and more. The collection is loosely organized thematically and includes a section “cities and towns.” There are several items, including an architectural guide to the Montford neighborhood included in this collection.
Peggy McKinley Pritchard Collection, MS107
The Peggy McKinley Pritchard collection contains scrapbooks, correspondence and photographs that were apparently collected by Peggy and pertain to her early life and her parents, Margaret Houston Linn and Jeter McKinley Pritchard, as well as to her mother’s parents, Dr. Tizdale E. and Sarah Elizabeth McClellan Linn. Of special note in the collection are memoirs written by Margaret Houston Linn Pritchard about houses in Montford that her parents had built in Asheville in the late 1890s-1900s using the architect Richard Sharp Smith. There is also a diary kept by Peggy at age 13 in 1938. It gives a good sense of a girl’s daily life and tells about her playing in Montford Park, reading books and going to the movies downtown Asheville.
Montford Community Collection, MS296
A collection of 6 boxes of material documenting the Montford Community in the late 20th century, beginning with the establishment of the Montford Community Club in the 1970s. This collection includes copies of the Montford Community Newsletter, Community Club scrapbooks, and other relevant material.
There are plenty of other special collections that would be of interest to folks who are doing some serious study of the Montford neighborhood, including the Montford Park Players Collection, the Albert H. Carrier Collection, and of course, an endless list of photos, posters, and ephemera held in various collections. Just try searching “Montford” in our database.
Books in the NC Room Reference Collection:
Murder in Montford: A True Story from Asheville’s Past by Sarah Upchurch
Get your true crime thrills on with this short book about a real murder in the roaring ‘20s, then go digging up other Asheville mysteries. Maybe this is inspo for your next novel or murder mystery dinner party?
Historic Montford, Asheville, North Carolina
This little book is the perfect starting point for anyone trying to research a home in the Montford Neighborhood. Many homes were razed in the 1970s, and this work, researched and published by the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County, does a fantastic job of documenting homes still standing and destroyed (ca. 1985)., plus a nice basic history of the neighborhood.
Historic Resources Commission of Asheville and Buncombe County Design Review Guidelines for the Montford Area Historic District (1991)
These guidelines have probably been updated by now, but having these old ones around would probably make for an interesting comparison case. If you live in a historic home in the Montford neighborhood, it comes with some extra requirements, like keeping certain parts of your home “in character” with the time period in which it was built. These are some of the earliest guidelines set forth by our local historic resources commission.
This is probably just enough material to get you started down a Montford-sized rabbit hole. As you complete more research, or decide exactly what you’re looking for, more and more possibilities will arise out of the stacks. We’ve got plenty of literature on individual homes, inns, and sanatoriums that were/are located in the Montford Neighborhood, and of course, we have access to Newspapers.com and Ancestry.com to provide more detailed information, too.
As with all of the communities we’ve covered so far, there is an endless amount of information to learn and discover about Montford. Come by the NC Room sometime and let one of our staff know what you’re looking for, and we’ll point you in the right direction.
We love sharing our collections and stories with you! We especially like when they get a good workout from researchers, the curious, and even the stray interior designer or stylist! Our images and collections are as much yours as they are the library’s. That’s what public libraries are all about!
Come on in and take a look. You never know what you might find!
As a reminder, this post is a part of our 52 Weeks, 52 Communities Series. In this series, we are covering a different Buncombe County community each week. Do you have materials related to Montford or some other Buncombe County community you’d like to let us know about? Do you, your parents or grandparents have a good story to tell? We want to hear from you! The North Carolina Room is Buncombe County’s Public Archive, we want to help preserve and make accessible the history and culture of Asheville and Buncombe County for all its residents.
This post was authored by Katherine Calhoun Cutshall, a librarian working in the North Carolina Room at Pack Memorial Library.