Group Petitions to Rename The Montford Community Center

Cathryn McLeod

Greetings, Montford,

Noting the one hundredth anniversary of the 1917 passing of Asheville’s beloved Tempie Avery, this year is fitting to propose renaming the Montford Community Center in honor of her reputation and residency on 26 Pearson Drive.

As reported by the Asheville Citizen in February 1913, “The older families of Asheville hold in grateful remembrance the good offices of ‘Aunt Tempie.’ She has rocked to sleep Asheville’s leading professional and business men, and while her palsied hands have ceased to sooth the restless head, yet they still point to those manly traits she herself inculcated. It has been suggested that some substantial memento be presented to her by those who so fondly cherish the recollections of her life.”

Tempie Avery (1823-1917) holding baby Pauline Moore. Photo courtesy of Special Collections, The North Carolina Room, Pack Memorial Library.

Martha Warren and I are working to change the Community Center name to The Tempie Avery Community Center, and to erect an historical marker there. Asheville registered voters are invited to sign a petition to help the process along. Call me at 828.279.2341 to have the petition brought to your door.


Tempie Avery by Martha Warren

“Tempie Avery was a young girl purchased in Charleston, SC in 1840 by Nicholas Woodfin. During her time on his plantation she became a midwife delivering both black and white babies in Asheville. After the Civil War, Mr. Woodfin deeded property to her at 26 Pearson Drive, the current site of the Montford Community Center. Tempie’s entire life was devoted to delivering and nursing children.

I would like to see her legacy continue by renaming the center The Tempie Avery Community Center, and having parenting courses there for students that promote health and well-being. After many hardships, she lived and died as a beloved nurse in that community.

Children need to know they can succeed no matter their circumstances.

I Martha Warren am a direct descendant of Tempie Avery.”