In case you have ever (or never) pondered how much cross-cultural tolerance there may have been in Asheville in 1929, ponder this Sunday Citizen item from June 9, p. 18. OK, well, the good Reverend was situated a few miles south at Fletcher’s Calvary Episcopal Church (funded and founded in the 1850s by wealthy Lowcountry slave-owning rice planters when Fletcher was a northern extension of Flat Rock, with its dozens of faux Charleston mansions).
Just coincidentally, during other work Anne and I have recently done (a historical study of the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site at Flat Rock), we learned that Calvary Episcopal was also the site of an exhibit called a “grand outdoor Westminster Abbey of the South,” conceived of four years earlier (and designed by) none other than the Rev. McClellan as a memorial to a score or so of the “great ideas and great idealists” (his term)of the South. The installation is still there, if any WNC residents want to take a short drive:
The first to be put in place (a memorial bronze tablet on a granite boulder) honored none other than Jefferson Davis, followed by a roster of UDC favorites: Gen. Robert E. Lee, minstrel composer/performer Dan Emmett, Stephen Foster, Joel Chandler Harris, poet laureate of the Confederacy Henry Timrod, North Carolina’s slave-owning Civil War governor Zebulon B. Vance, Appalachian fabulist John Fox, Jr., Joel Chandler (“Uncle Remus”) Harris, and others.
Texts for all of the monuments may be found here.