Under the Dome

First female legislator's family home to be preserved in Asheville

The Asheville home of the South’s first female state legislator, Lillian Exum Clement, will be permanently protected through a donation made to a local preservation organization, it was announced Friday.

Clement was the first woman elected to the NC General Assembly. She was elected in 1920, the same year the 19th Amendment was ratified giving women the right to vote. She was 26 years old and defeated two men in the primary election, before winning overwhelmingly in the general election.

She served one term in the House, and chose not to run again. When she married, her name changed to Lillian Exum Clement Stafford. She became a lawyer and had her own law practice, which was a rarity in those days.

The organization Lillian’s List, which works to elect women candidates who support abortion rights, is named after her.

The house on Hollywood Street was built by her father in 1914. Wingate Anders of Greensboro, who is the widower of Clement’s only daughter, made the easement donation to the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County.

The agreement protects the house from demolition and requires architectural review of rehabilitation.