Stumptown History

THEMES: Neighborhood History, Stumptown
POSTED ON: January 21, 2023

Stumptown was a vibrant, closely knit Black neighborhood located “in the hollow under the brow of the hill” between Riverside Cemetery, Pearson Drive, and Courtland Avenue. It had active churches, stores, and community cohesion. Early residents provided the labor to build the Riverside Cemetery, worked as domestics in white-owned Montford houses, and in service jobs in hotels and restaurants. Black residents today still call their neighborhood Stumptown, though urban renewal and gentrification have thoroughly eroded what was a once a thriving Black community.

Research shows that Stumptown is older than Montford – it developed around a piece of property on Pearson Drive given to Tempie Avery by her former enslaver Nicholas Woodfin in 1868. As Black history is not as present in written historical records, we do not have an exact date of the establishment of Stumptown, though most accounts place its inception around 1880. Notably, despite its age, Stumptown was not included in the boundaries of the Montford historic district, as can be seen on this map.

The predominantly Black Hill Street neighborhood developed adjacent to Stumptown starting around 1900. Both areas were redlined in the late 1930s, and later devastated by urban renewal.

In 2022, Stumptown representatives were appointed to the Asheville/Buncombe County Reparations Commission, you can learn about them here.

You can hear reflections on Stumptown from current for former Stumptown residents recent video interviews that can be found on the Resources page of this website.

Starting places for Stumptown study:

Story in “Out ‘n’ About” 1992

“Growing Up in Stumptown” by Pat Fitzpatrick, published in May We All Remember Well, Vo1. 2, 2001

Stumptown: A Different Time, A Different Place” – Urban News, 2006

“Discovering Stumptown, Part 2” by Jenny Wilker, Montford Newsletter, 2011

African American Heritage Resource Survey – City of Asheville, 2022

Pictured at the top of the page: Odesa Richardson, Tanya Cooper, and Mary Johnson at the 4th Stumptown Reunion in 2001 (Buncombe County Special Collections)