William Sydney Porter, Fletcher
The memorial is one of a series of large granite mountain boulders, all about the same size but
of different shapes that comprise the “Open-Air Westminster Abbey of the South.” Each memorial contains a bronze plaque with date of birth and death and a statement about the person’s significance to southern culture or in some cases their relationship to Calvary Episcopal Church.
Images: Plaque | Rear view | View of memorials at "Westminster Abbey of the South"
IN LOVING MEMORY / WILLIAM SYDNEY PORTER / “O HENRY” / AMERICAN SHORT STORY
BORN IN GREENSBORO, N.C., SEPTEMBER 11, 1862 / DIED IN NEW YORK CITY, JUNE 5, 1910 / A VISITOR IN WESTERN NO. CAROLINA / HIS BODY IS INTERRED IN RIVERSIDE / CEMETERY, ASHEVILLE, N.C. /
“HE SAW NO LONGER THE RABBLE, BUT / HIS BROTHERS SEEKING THE IDEAL”
ERECTED BY / JULIAN A. WOODCOCK / ASHEVILLE, N.C. / 1927
Calvary Episcopal Church
August 28, 1927
35.442600 , -82.503600 View in Geobrowse
"HISTORICAL NEWS." The North Carolina Historical Review 6.1 (1929), 119-24, (accessed June 7, 2016) Link
"Westminster Abbey of South," Spartanburg Herald Journal (Spartanburg, SC) September 24, 1939, Link
Hicklin, J.B. “Elaborate Abbey to Immortalize South’s Leaders,” Forest City Courier (Forest City, NC), September 24, 1931, (accessed May 27, 2016) Link
Jenkins, Mark. “Historical Sketch of Calvary Episcopal Church,” (Calvary Parish, Fletcher, 1959) Link
Macdonald, Edgar E. "Porter, William Sydney (O. Henry)," NCpedia.org, (accessed June 25, 2016) Link
“An O. Henry Memorial,” The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), August 28, 1927
“Calvary Church, Fletcher, N.C. Between Asheville and Hendersonville,” in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (PO77), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Link
“Fletcher Markers,” The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.org, (accessed May 25, 2016) Link
Julian A. Woodcock
Speakers for the day included Governor Angus Wilton McLean, Edwin Bjorkman, Archibald Henderson and Dr. W.P Beal, a boyhood friend of Porter’s and Mayor of Greensboro.
Greensboro, North Carolina native William Henry Porter (O Henry) was the most popular short story writer of his era. His stories tended to follow a standard formula, dealing with commonplace events in the lives of ordinary people and arriving at a surprise ending through coincidence. Probably his best known story is “The Gift of the Magi” written in 1905.
Calvary Episcopal Church is located at 2840 Hendersonville Road, at
its intersection with Old Airport Road in Fletcher, NC.
Eighteen “Open-Air Westminster Abbey of the South” markers stand in two rows in a lawn area facing Old Airport Road to the right of the church. The Robert E. Lee Dixie Highway is located near the street facing Hendersonville Road. One memorial to Bill Nye is in the church cemetery and the second memorial to Bill Nye is on the front lawn of the church. The Calvary Episcopal Church marker stands near the sanctuary.
This memorial is one of eighteen “Open-Air Westminster Abbey of the South” markers that stand in two rows in a lawn area to the right of the church.
This memorial and the seventeen others now standing along Old Airport Road were originally located in a landscaped plot along Hendersonville Road (Highway 25) directly in front of the cemetery. It is likely they had to be relocated when the road was widened to four lanes.