The City of Asheville’s Urban Planning and Design Department, which oversees the city and county’s joint historic preservation program, has in recent years identified the imperative need to document African American heritage resources in the city. and, therefore, initiated an architectural study of historic resources. specifically tied to historically black neighborhoods in Asheville.

After hard work by local preservation consultants Acme Preservation Services to review the draft survey report, the Urban Planning and Design Department is pleased to release the African American Heritage Resource Survey final report, and we hope the community will join us in celebrating the completion of the first phase of this important work.

The long process and history of this project

Asheville’s historic resources have been documented during several survey projects over the years, from the late 1970s through the last downtown survey update from 2007 to 2012. These efforts have only nominally documented historical resources significant to the city’s African-American community. Few resources have been recorded in historically African-American areas of the city, including East End/Valley Street, Southside, West End/Clingman Avenue, South French Broad, Burton Street, St. John-A-Baptist, Shiloh, and Stumptown .

In 2018, the Department of Urban Planning and Design applied for and received a Historic Preservation Fund grant of $12,000 to assist the city’s efforts to conduct a new architectural survey project specifically for the purpose of identifying the significant resources for African American history in Asheville. Additional funding has been allocated by the Department of Urban Planning and Design for a total project budget of $25,200 to fund the first phase of the African American Historic Resource Survey.

A quote from the project manager

When asked how she felt at the end of the investigation, Alex Cole, an urban planner with the city’s Historic Resources Division, said:

“As a historic preservation planner, I am proud that we have refocused our program during my tenure at the City towards documenting and honoring the history of traditionally underrepresented communities. Many people think of preservation as a static thing, but I really see it as a dynamic tool that can help elevate and illustrate the collective story that connects us to each other. I hope the community will also take pride in this work and use the information we have gathered to educate ourselves to better understand a more complete and inclusive historical account of our community.