Montreat Minute 5/24/24

New Non-Emergency Police Dispatch System in Place

Montreat has established a new, more direct system for people to get in touch with the Montreat Police Department for Non-Emergency situations.

Please note: for emergencies (see below), call 911 as before.


911 is to be used for emergencies only. An emergency is any serious medical problem (chest pain, seizure, falls, lacerations, snake bites), any type of fire (house, car, building), any life-threatening situation, or to report crimes in progress. There is no need to ask for the Montreat Police Department – simply give your address to the dispatcher and they will dispatch the appropriate emergency response team to your home or specified location.

Do not dial 911 for a non-emergency. Instead, dial the non-emergency telephone number 828-767-3155. Examples of non-emergency incidents include: property damage accident, break-in to a vehicle when suspect is gone, vandalism (when suspect is gone), panhandlers, fallen trees in the road, barking dogs or dogs at large. Please note that you may need to leave a voicemail with your name and phone number. The officer on duty will call you back as soon as possible.

Don’t Feed the Bears

Although not the right thing to do, feeding bears has been a common occurrence for ages in Montreat and elsewhere. We have received multiple reports recently of people feeding bears in Montreat. To be sure, there are many reasons why this should not be done:

  1. It is against the law. Montreat has ordinances against feeding bears. Doing so can result in being charged for a misdemeanor with a fine up to $200 and/or imprisonment. Additionally, civil penalties can be charged including fines up to $500.

  2. It is dangerous. Bears are incredibly powerful and fast even though they may look cuddly and cute. There are multiple reports every year of individuals being injured, maimed and even killed due to bear food encounters. Additionally, they have very keen memories and when fed once, they will return to the same source for more food.

  3. It is not good for the bears. Bears are wild animals. If fed by humans, they become habituated to finding “handouts” and depend on humans for their food source. Additionally, they lose their natural fear of humans, which is dangerous for them and humans. If this happens, the bears pay the ultimate price- they are destroyed.

Please inform your guests and renters about not feeding bears. If you see someone feeding bears, call Montreat Police Dispatch at 828-767-3155.

Did You Know?

The grandstand at current Welch Field. The first boys club room was under the grandstand.

As early as 1912 Dr. Robert Anderson noted that the conference center needed to provide activities for the young people who came to Montreat during the summer.  In 1913 MRA erected a grandstand and a club room for the boys at the athletic field. By 1915 that grandstand also had a roof.  Dr. Anderson hired several “trained leaders” (probably school teachers out for the summer) to provide activities for the Boys’ Athletic Club and the Campfire Girls (which soon became the Girls’ Club).  While they did a lot of hiking, rock-hopping, and playing ball, they also needed indoor space for crafts and rainy days.  In 1916 the Girls’ Club building was erected (located directly across from the present-day Barn), providing a large room on the first floor for a variety of activities and living quarters on the second floor for the young female leaders.  Eventually the club house at the athletic field proved inadequate for the boys’ activities. The Boys’ Club building (the present-day Currie Craft Center) was erected in 1925.  Like its counterpart for the girls, it provided a large downstairs space and upstairs living quarters for the male leaders.

And so it remained for decades.  By the 1960s, however, the many collegians hired as club counselors stayed in larger facilities in Montreat and the first-floor spaces had become too small for club activities.  A separate craft shop had been in existence since 1956 and club groups used the basement of the gym and what we now know as The Barn for their indoor activities.  In 1965 the Boys’ Club was renovated to house the rapidly growing craft center for both the club programs and others in Montreat who wanted to try their hand at the potter’s wheel or make a copper etching.  Today, the Currie Craft Center and Sally Jones Pottery are busy locations in the summer.

The Girls’ Club building was given over to the senior highs in the summer of 1968. They renovated it into a “hangout” by painting the walls (a bright blue-green), covering the walls with collages that they had made, and converting old telephone cable spools into tables.  The grand opening of the Velvet Moose, as it was named, occurred on July 2 of the next year.  It had a coffee-house atmosphere with music, ping-pong (including florescent balls), and a general lounging area.  While it was primarily the hang-out space for senior highs, it was open to junior highs on certain nights.  Although the specifics of the building’s use have varied in subsequent decades, the Velvet Moose has remained a hang-out space and an occasional over-flow residence and special events venue. 

Now it is time for reader participation!  If you know the origin of the name “Velvet Moose,” or have memories to share about it, please contact Nancy Midgette ([email protected]).

Thanks to the Presbyterian Heritage Center, especially Nancy Midgette, for this glimpse from the past. Stop by the PHC for additional Montreat history and so much more. Have an idea for a future “Did You Know?”? Let Nancy know at [email protected].

Updates and Reminders

  • Montreat Town offices will be closed on Monday, May 27th, in observance of Memorial Day. Offices will reopen at 8:00am on Tuesday. Trash service will be delayed until Tuesday. Of course, police services will be operating 24/7.
  • The Montreat Town Council will meet for its second Budget Workshop today, Friday, May 24th at 4:00 p.m. in the Town Hall Community Room. It will also be a public comment session for remarks about the FY 24-25 budget. The meeting will be live streamed. CLICK HERE for streaming instructions and a copy of the draft budget. All are invited to attend.
  • The Montreat Tree Board will meet on Tuesday, May 28th, at 9:30 am in the Town Hall Community Room. CLICK HERE for streaming instructions. All are invited to attend.
  • Do you receive your own copy of the Montreat Minute or know someone who doesn’t? Sign up for the Sunshine List to receive the Montreat Minute and stay “in the know” about the Town’s happenings. CLICK HERE to sign up for the list!

Questions or Comments?

Do you have Town-related questions or comments to offer? If so, please send them to Angie Murphy at [email protected] and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!