Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Montford was built between 1890 and 1920. It includes a variety of architectural influences, reflecting the cosmopolitan character of Asheville at the turn of the 20th century and many Queen Anne style homes. This was a building mode with many variations, but one generally characterized by irregular, complex massing and roof lines, corner turrets or towers, a mixture of surface textures, and a lavish use of ornamental devices. Thomas Wolfe once described Montford Avenue as “the most fashionable street in town.” Lush landscaping, mature trees, parks and history Riverside Cemetery provide a beautiful natural setting to an area which borders downtown Asheville.
There are some amazing homes to visit, see, and learn about when you go on this Holiday Tour. Neighborhood docents will be available in the homes to tell you more about their history. House No 3 at 129 Pearson Drive was built in 1907 by George R. Murray and his wife, Nellie. They hired the well known architect Richard Sharp Smith to design this one-and-a-half story bungalow. House No. 5, 254 Cumberland Avenue, was made into a B&B in 1997 by Angela Harrell and David Teafatiller. This structure now has a large built-in salt water aquarium in the dining room and outside, a one-acre garden, which includes a koi pond, waterfall and tucked away wedding garden. House No. 10 at 40 Houston Street is owned by Mary McKinley, a professional artist.Mary was trained at the Pratt Institute in NYC, and in her day job she is a graphic designer for a marketing firm in London. Working remotely allows her to spend winters in Asheville and summers in Tuscany, where she and her daughter Mia live. Her paintings can be viewed on the walls through the home and in her studio
The Montford Neighborhood Association dedicates proceeds of the Holiday Tour of Homes to neighborhood projects, including programs for youth at the Tempie Avery Montford Center, signage assistance for neighborhood businesses, neighborhood beautification, extra security at Halloween, and support for the spring Montford Music and Arts Festival and the fall Montford Artwalk.
The MNA partnered with the City of Asheville to fund new bus shelters on Montford Avenue designed by neighborhood resident Michael McDonough. The shelters include panels interpreting Montford history, which were designed by neighborhood residents Sharon Fahrer and Ross Terry. Copies of the panels will be displayed on tour day at the home of Foster de la Houssaye, 60 Pearson Drive.
Tickets for this tour can be purchased at the Asheville Shop, Asheville Visitors Center, 36 Montford Avenue for $25, cash or check only. You can also reserve your tickets at www.montfordtour.com. Strolling caroling will be performing that day, and docents will be in the home to provide more information and history. You will receive a map for this self guided tour of architecturally interesting homes. The Montford Neighborhood Association is offering you an opportunity to visit one of the largest intact historic districts in North Carolina on Saturday, December 9th.