Montford is an historic neighborhood in Asheville, North Carolina, located just north of downtown. A portion of Montford is a National Register Historic District with 600+ buildings, mostly residences built between 1890 and 1920. Take a driving or walking tour to see a variety of architectural influences reflecting the cosmopolitan character of Asheville during the turn of the 20th century. Victorian, Queen Anne and Arts and Crafts styles combined with Neoclassical, Colonial Revival and castle-like motifs, result in an overall complex quality of designs and artistic talent throughout the neighborhood. Asheville architect and supervising architect of the Biltmore House Richard Sharp Smith produced numerous residential homes in Montford. Take a fun tour of Montford on the LaZoom Comedy Bus Tour. And don't miss the festive Montford Music and Art Festival each May.
Many of the grand homes in Montford have been restored in recent years, including a dozen or so bed and breakfast inns. Find Asheville Bed and Breakfast Inns. Few neighborhoods express the rich architectural heritage and vitality of Asheville better than the Montford Historic District. During an era of remarkable growth in Asheville and in an environment of a few powerful individuals with enormous personal wealth, Montford grew as a residential neighborhood for middle-class people. Businessmen, lawyers, doctors, architects and the retired all came home to Montford. The origin of the name Montford is unknown. Montford's history has largely been residential; however the neighborhood maintained a mixed use of several boarding houses and sanitaria for tuberculosis, mental disorders and other ailments. It is also home to Riverside Cemetery, the final resting place for authors Thomas Wolfe and William Sydney Porter (better known as O. Henry) as well as Confederate General Robert B. Vance and North Carolina Governor Zebulon Vance, among others.
The vast majority of the buildings in the district are domestic, but there is a remarkable range of sizes, shapes, and styles that gives the neighborhood its varied and lively character. Weatherboarding and German siding abound, but the important recurrent materials are wood shingles (natural or painted), rubble masonry, stucco, and pebbledash (a type of rough stucco). There are about a dozen brick houses scattered throughout. On more than half of the exteriors the builders have combined at least two materials, of which wood shingles, is usually one. The Montford area houses of any pretension are blends of Queen Anne, shingle, bungaloid, half-timbered, and especially the Colonial Revival styles. Though not trendsetters or pioneers, many of the houses are relatively sophisticated combinations of picturesque natural materials, eclectic styles, period motifs, and modern details.
The Pack Memorial Library has a thorough Smith Collection of over 3,000 drawings and plans for Montford homes, Biltmore Village, churches, institutions and resorts.
Located in the heart of the Montford neighborhood, the Montford Center features the Montford Climbing Wall, gymnasium and two multi-purpose rooms. The center is surrounded by the Montford Complex with a playground, tennis court, lighted ball field and the Hazel B. Robinson Amphitheater.
The Montford Park Players, North Carolina's Longest Running Shakespeare Festival, presents free Theatre in the Park all summer long. Join them for their summer season under the stars and enjoy quality classic drama in a delightful outdoor setting. It has grown for the past 36 years due to its entertaining and educational quality productions of Shakespeare and other great playwrights, its delightful outdoor setting, and because it has kept its productions free. The free performances are held at the Hazel Robinson Amphitheater in Montford starting at 7:30 p.m.
See History at Hand for guided history and architecture walking tours of Montford and Riverside Cemetery.
The Montford Area Historic District is located off Montford Ave,. roughly bounded by I-240, I-26 and Broadway Ave. It's home to the Asheville Visitor's Center, a great first stop on your tour. The houses of the district are private residences and not open to the public. To get a peek inside, take their annual holiday tour of homes.