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Quebec School, before taxes

The early families scattered throughout the
mountains and valleys to the west of Rosman provided for the education of their
children through subscription schools. 
Parents paid a fee for their children to attend.  The tuition could be cash or produce from farms
or gardens.
  These schools were often rough
built facilities which were also used for church services.
  The normal school session ran from four to
eight weeks.

Old Gloucester School

In the 1870s and 1880s public schools were
built throughout the Gloucester and Hogback townships.
  These were typically one-room schools
constructed by the men of the community.
 
Tall windows on one side and end of the building provided light.  They had wood burning stoves and students
were responsible for chores such as sweeping floors, washing chalk boards,
carrying wood and building the fire in cold weather.
 

They had handmade benches and tables and
few supplies.  Parents normally provided
textbooks and passed them down through the family.  Schools operated anywhere from two to six
months a year, often toward the shorter period of times.  Teachers were usually young, sometimes
younger than some of their students, and paid very little.  Classes consisted of anywhere from a handful
of students to 50 students.

As the population of school age children
changed schools closed and new schools open. 
Over the course of several years the same school may have been known by
different names.  One-room schools
included New Prospect Church and Macedonia Church Schools, Pine Grove School on
Diamond Creek (also known as Possum College), Owen, Vance Galloway, Pea Ridge,
Hogback Valley, Puncheon Camp, Oakland, Montvale, Bohaney, Union, Robinson,
Shoal Creek, Stover Camp and Old Log Schoolhouse.

When T.C. Henderson, who had attended and
then taught in these schools in the Quebec area, became superintendent of
schools he made plans to improve Transylvania County Schools through larger and
better equipped school buildings, longer (nine month) school terms, better
teachers with higher pay and public high schools. 

Quebec was the first district in the county
to vote a special tax on property in order to raise funds for a new school
building in 1907, thus beginning the era of the shining white multi-room
schoolhouse.

Lake Toxaway’s multi-room school in the early to mid-1900s

In 1915 the new Lake Toxaway School
replaced the old Pea Ridge School.  Over
the years the two-room school was expanded three times.
 By the 1950s there were multiple classrooms
with nearly 100 students.  It was the
largest community school in the county and even had a cafeteria.  The government subsidized a lunchroom, known
as a “soup room” beginning in the 1930s. 
Lunches were five cents or could be paid for with corn meal, milk or
vegetables.

The Balsam Grove School opened in 1922.  Soup and sandwiches were provided to students
here as well.  Lunches could either be
paid for in cash or with produce.

Joseph Silversteen sold property to the
Transylvania County Schools and provided lumber for a three-room school in the
Silversteen Community in 1923.  The
partition wall between the classrooms could be moved to form a large room for
programs, meetings and gatherings.  The
third room served as the lunchroom and gym.

Silversteen School, 1946

By the 1946 T.C. Henderson’s “modern”
school were inadequate, overcrowded, out-dated and in some cases unsafe.  Probably the worst in the county was the Silversteen
School, although it continued to operate for ten more years.  Students 
were bused to Rosman for one year
until the new T.C. Henderson Elementary School opened in the Fall of 1957.

Lake Toxaway, Quebec and Balsam Grove were
the last community schools in the county to close.  Students from Balsam Grove were sent to
Rosman Elementary in 1957, those from Lake Toxaway and Quebec went to T.C.
Henderson .

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.

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(828) 884-3151

212 S Gaston St, Brevard, NC 28712