Preservation Grants May 2019
The following projects will be funded in the first of two grant rounds in 2019:
Hood Tours offer bus tours of Asheville’s African American neighborhoods and landmarks. The mix of the history and community with place is the perfect fit for our grant program. In their words, “Hood Tours tells the long-overlooked stories of African Americans in Asheville. We showcase history, art, greenspaces, and current-day grassroots initiatives. We’ve given tours to numerous school groups, university students, and church groups.”
PSABC is pleased to fund $5000 towards the purchase of a new bus for Hood Huggers International which will allow them to offer more tours.
Built in 1948, Rabbit’s Tourist Court was a premier African American motel of its time. After sitting vacant for more than a decade, the family who owned Rabbit’s for five generations was all that stood between this iconic place and almost certain demolition. Multiple offers to purchase the property were ignored before Claude Coleman Jr. and Brett Spivey shared their vision for a music rehearsal space, soul food kitchen and cultural landmark called SoundSpace @ Rabbit’s.
As Coleman points out, “Rabbit’s Tourist Court has been a part of the African-American community for more than 60 years. It is intrinsically connected to the story of Asheville. These connections must not only be preserved, but recreated and strengthened.”
PSABC is excited to contribute $5000 in funding towards Phase 1 of this project. These funds will be put towards efforts to stabilize and water proof the foundation at Rabbit’s.
Last May one of two newly installed Montford bus shelters with history panels was destroyed by a suspected drunk driver. The driver was never caught and it was left to the neighborhood association to figure out how to pay for a new installation.
When PSABC received the grant application in early 2019, we were inspired by the dedication shown by the individuals and businesses in Montford who had worked to raise nearly all of the funds needed to replace the bus shelter. The damaged history panel told the story of “Lost” Montford homes and Montford’s African American community – making it the perfect fit for an education preservation grant. PSABC is honored to fund the $2000 funding gap for this bus shelter to the Montford Neighborhood Association.
Founded in 1989, the Swannanoa Valley Museum & History Center is the primary museum of general, local history in Buncombe County. PSABC is proud to provide $1000 of funding towards new exhibit panels for their permanent exhibition, Pathways from the Past, which highlights the settlement and development of eastern Buncombe County. Their efforts to make the project inclusive was important to our decision to fund this project. Executive Director Anne Chesky Smith explains, “Text from the panels will seek to equitably represent the stories of all those who have shaped the Swannanoa Valley, not just those whose voices tend to be loudest in our history.”