Over the last
few weeks Picturing the Past has been examining the population and economic
growth of the town of Brevard in the early 1900s.  This week we look at the impact this growth
had on Brevard schools.

to 1900 education options were limited to small schools that taught basics for
short terms.  There were also a few
subscription or private schools scattered around the county.  In Brevard, Fitch and
Sarah Taylor opened Epworth School
for young girls in their home in 1895.  Within
four years the school had grown from 3 to 79 students. 
Brevard Institute grew out of the Taylor’s Epworth School and remained as an
option for those willing and able to pay the tuition of $6.00 per term or
$26.00 per term for boarding students (1910 rates).

A group of Brevard Grammar School students outside the 1908 building.

local public schools were in poor condition both as facilities and in the
quality of education they offered when T.C. Henderson became superintendent of
Transylvania County Schools in 1905.  He
brought major improvements about throughout the county. 
Brevard a two-story schoolhouse for all grades was built on the corner of South
Broad and Morgan streets in 1908.  There
were five teachers and 171 students–an
average of 34.2 students per teacher but the first grade teacher actually had
58 students.

Within a decade
more room was needed and a new high school was built beside it on Morgan St. in
1919.  It included classrooms, labs, and
a gymnasium.  In addition to traditional
courses it offered classes in domestic science, stenography, and bookkeeping
for grades 8-11.  The earlier school
continued to be used for the elementary grades.

With a continued
booming population another new high school was built on Broad St.  It cost $90,000 and had 27 teachers when it
opened in September 1925.  The older
buildings continued to be used as the elementary and primary schools.  These three schools would serve the community
of Brevard until 1936 when the 1908 school was deemed unsafe.  All elementary grades squeezed into the 1919 school
while a new building was being constructed.

Students and teachers at the Rosenwald School.

African-American community also saw improvements in education during the early
20th century.  According to a history
written by Nathanial Hall African-American students in Brevard had attended
school in a two-room log cabin.  When a
property exchange was worked out with Frank Jenkins a four-room school was
built on the west side of town in 1910.  That
school was expanded in 1920 using Rosenwald Funds.  Thus the name Rosenwald for the school and
surrounding community.  This school
operated until it burned on March 12, 1941.

Next week
Picturing the Past will continue the story of Brevard schools from about 1940
through the mid-1970s.

Photographs and information for this column
are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County
Library.  Visit the NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday)
to learn more about our history and see additional photographs.  For more
information, comments, or suggestions contact Marcy at
[email protected] or


A group of Brevard Grammar School students
outside the 1908 building. 

Students and teachers at the Rosenwald

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212 S Gaston St, Brevard, NC 28712