History at High Noon: Montford: Boom to Bust and Back (VIRTUAL)

Wednesday, Nov 8, 2023, 12:00 - 1:00pm

This is an online program. An email containing the Zoom link will be sent to all registrants an hour and a half before the program begins.

Speaker: Sharon Fahrer, historian, author, and cofounder of History@Hand

“Montford: Boom to Bust and Back” examines the life cycle of a historic neighborhood. Montford, near downtown Asheville, was designed to be the premier subdivision; it later became a blighted area full of drugs, crime, and brave new pioneers. Sharon Fahrer reveals a picture of a neighborhood that was swallowed up when the City of Asheville created a trolley suburb. Discover some of Montford’s illustrious residents; its mansions and its hovels; its trials, tribulations, and triumphs; what was lost and what remains. Learn what clues from the past alert visitors and residents alike to the story of this historic neighborhood. Has the mystery of how Montford was named been solved? Where was Stumptown? Who were the first residents? How did Montford reinvent itself? What homes have been lost, and why? Who designed the original homes, and who lived in them? How did the Black and White residents interact? How was one of the wealthiest neighborhoods also the poorest? Why is Montford so economically diverse, and can it last? How is gentrification changing the neighborhood? Fahrer will attempt to answer these questions and some that you may add when you attend this program.

Sharon Fahrer moved to Asheville in 1996 partly because of its rich history and architecture. People drawn to Asheville often reinvent themselves. She is a recovered environmental planner turned history geek armed with a BA in geography from Clark University and a master’s of urban planning from Wayne State University. She began to document Asheville’s Jewish history with Jan Schochet in 2003 to capture the memories of people who knew Asheville’s downtown in its prime and to better understand her adopted home. History@Hand has grown to offer walking tours and provide interpretive panels for buildings and outside exhibits. To date, she has authored over 40 panels on a wide array of topics, including Black and Montford history, as well as important sites and people of local history. Fahrer has done extensive work enhancing an archive on Jewish Life in western North Carolina at the D. Hiden Ramsey Library Special Collections at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. She chaired the 37th annual meeting of the Southern Jewish Historical Society in Asheville and currently serves on the board of Jewish Heritage NC, as well as on the research committee of the Community Remembrance Project. Jan Schochet and Sharon cowrote two books: The Family Store: A History of Jewish Businesses in Asheville, North Carolina 1880–1990 and The Man Who Lived on Main Street: Stories by and about Sol Schulman. Fahrer also wrote A Home in Shalom’ville: A History of Asheville’s Jewish Community.