Skip to main content

Looking Angelward

June 2024
1min read

In the column “History Happened Here” (May/June) about Asheville, North Carolina, and Thomas Wolfe, author of Look Homeward, Angel , the writer concludes with: “Those coming to see the little stone angel that was the inspiration for Wolfe’s first novel, however, do so in vain. Sadly, she no longer exists.”

About twenty-five miles south of Asheville, at Hendersonville, an official state historical marker reading “Wolfe’s Angel” stands on the road past the municipal cemetery, which contains a plot of several graves surrounded by a high iron fence. One of the graves is marked by an angel that is identified as the angel from W. O. Wolfe’s monument shop in Asheville—and the angel of the novel’s title. (It had been sold to a Hendersonville family named Johnson after W. O. Wolfe’s death.)

And it is not “a little stone angel.” Of white marble, the figure is full adult size (I was about to say “life size,” not very suitable for a spirit) and stands on a high pedestal.

Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.