Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sondley Award

The Sondley Award is given by the Historic Resources Commission of Asheville and Buncombe County to an individual or individuals in the community who by word or deed has kindled among the citizenry of Asheville and Buncombe County an appreciation for the history or historic resources of the area.

The Sondley Award takes its name from Forester Alexander Sondley, author of Buncombe County's most complete history. Dr. Sondley was born in South Carolina in 1857 but spent his later childhood and his adult life in his mother's native Buncombe County. He was educated at Col. Stephen Lee's academy in Chunns Cove and later at Wofford College. Dr. Sondley was a prominent local attorney, bibliophile, and a scholar of state-wide reputation. He was awarded two honorary doctorates during his lifetime and in 1927 was elected official Historian of Buncombe County by the Buncombe County Board of Education. Dr. Sondley wrote a two-volume history of Buncombe County, which was published in 1930 and which remains the definitive treatise on the history of the area. Upon his death in 1931 Dr. Sondley willed his extensive library to the City of Asheville and it became the nucleus of Pack Library's North Carolina collection.

Webmaster's Note: Dr. Sondley usually signed his name "F. A. Sondley," and that was the name he used as author of his books and other writings. His first given name has been seen variously as Foster, Forster, and Forester. His maternal grandmother was Nancy Foster (1797-1862), and many believe that the Foster name was passed down. However, go back two additional generations, and the family surname was Forster, thus giving rise to the possibility that this earlier spelling could have been applied to F. A. Sondley. However, we believe Foster is correct, and that is the spelling used on his gravestone at the Alexander Baptist Church in Leicester, Buncombe County, North Carolina.

Note: Burial location seen as (1) Alexander United Methodist Church (Weaverville, Buncombe County, North Carolina); and (2)  Alexander Baptist Church (Leicester, Buncombe County, North Carolina).



  1. Is this award presented in person at a ceremony? When & where is the next one, and is there a mailing list to join?

  2. Here is a link to the organization that is in charge of the Sondley Award: