Brevard College got its start
during the Great Depression. Although times
were tough the institution had big dreams.
Almost immediately there was a
need for additional space. Plans
included a new women’s dorm, a science building, a library and an infirmary.
|Construction of the Brevard College rock wall in 1937.|
One of the first building
projects was the stone wall along the west and south sides of the campus. Students collected the river rock and WPA
funds were used to hire workers. The
wall created a boundary along the football and baseball fields.
The school’s first gymnasium, located east of the athletic fields, was completed in 1939. As mentioned in a previous article, this was built with mainly student labor.
The old Breese home, known as
Virginia Lodge, and the Little Biddie Coop were used to house girls for several
years beginning in 1935.
In early 1941 Brevard College
had an enrollment of approximately 400 students but the facility was considered
sub-standard. It was believed that Brevard could not meet the need for
upgrades and investment. Relocating the junior college and converting
it to a 4-year college designed on a self-help model where students were trained
and worked in industry and agriculture was proposed.
The Western North Carolina conference of the
Methodist Church agreed instead to develop the Brevard location. The citizens of Brevard, Transylvania County
and surrounding counties began a campaign to raise the funds required.
As the U.S. entered WWII and
large numbers of young men entered into military service Brevard College made
changes to assist with training citizens.
In September 1940 a Civilian Pilot Training Program was created. In 1943 the program was renamed Civil
Aeronautics Administration War Training Service. It included 240 hours of ground school study. Flight training was held at
Meyer Flying Service in Hendersonville.
With fewer male students
enrolled, the girls were now able to use Taylor Hall as a dormitory. This
provided temporary relief for the housing shortage on campus. The 1944 annual lists just 56 seniors, only
six were boys.
|Brevard College housing for WWII veterans.|
By 1947 enrollment had boomed
to nearly 500, including a small number of post-graduate students and a class
of pre-college students. Approximately
50% of the student body consisted of veterans.
As boys returned to college in record numbers temporary housing was built. Four new two-story, barracks style dorms of
wood construction were erected to house 200 men.
By the late 1940s, with
enrollment back up, growth was on the horizon.
Next week’s article will look at the college’s building boom begun in
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 828-884-3151 X242.