Although celebrating a death seems strange, celebrating a life does not. Especially when the life in question was that of native son and local author Thomas Wolfe, who passed away at age 37 on the morning of September 15, 1938.
Wolfe was just shy of his 38th birthday — he’d turn 113 this October. Which would, of course, be nearly impossible. Then again, it would be just as unlikely for the average person to turn out the body of work that Wolfe did in his brief life. Still, even three-quarters of a century since his passing, Wolfe is best known for Look Homeward Angel, his sprawling and barely fictional work based on his hometown.
In celebration of Wolfe’s life and writing, the Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site holds a special reception as part of its second-Saturday programming. Visit the memorial (located at Old Kentucky Home, the former boarding house run by Wolfe’s mother, Julia) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tours will focus specifically on death in the Wolfe family and Victorian death traditions and will leave every hour on the half hour starting at 9:30 a.m. The last tour departs the memorial’s visitor’s center at 4:30 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for students.
“In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Advisory Committee, 52 N. Market St., Asheville, N.C., 28801,” reads a press release. While humorous, the need for contributions is very real, as the Wolfe Memorial’s funding has been significantly reduced in recent years. Though Wolfe has moved on to the great typewriter of the beyond, his legacy lives on and needs both supporters and visitors.