Architect Erle Stillwell designed his first school while
he was partners with Hans C. Meyer.  The
drawings for the classroom building at Blue Ridge School for Boys in
Hendersonville are dated February 1914. 
After Meyer left Henderson County Stillwell continued to do work for
that school and others.  He designed all
of the Henderson County public schools from the 1920s through 1950s. 

When Henderson County built several schools in the 1960s
they were designed by Six Associates, the Asheville architectural firm of which
Stillwell was a founding partner.  In
addition Stillwell designed buildings for several private schools in Henderson
and Buncombe counties.  Stillwell
himself, and later Six Associates, also did a large amount of work for Western
Carolina Teacher’s College.

Six wooden pilasters gave the front of Rosman High School a classical appearance.

The first Transylvania County school Stillwell designed
was Rosman High School in 1926.  The
design was for a typical symmetrical two-story brick classroom building with a
one-story auditorium at the back.  The
building was used until the mid-1970s. 
When the current elementary school opened in 1975 the high school moved
into the former elementary building while the present day high school was being
constructed on the site of the 1926 building.

In 1940 Stillwell designed the Pisgah Forest Elementary
School, today the Davidson River School. 
Although the school is very traditional in style it does have a unique
feature in the Aztec-Deco entrance.  The
exterior of the building is uncoursed cut-stone. 

Pisgah Forest Elementary School (top), December 1940 and

Rosenwald School (bottom), August 1946 used the same basic drawings.

However Rosenwald School, today the Morris Education Center, has

a traditional entrance.

During WWII Stillwell and five others joined together to
create the Six Associates architectural firm in order to compete for government
defense contracts.  They went on to be
one of the most successful architectural agencies in North Carolina.

As a Six
Associates partner, Stillwell designed Rosman Elementary School in April 1948
and North Brevard and Lake Toxaway elementary schools in December 1950.  North Brevard, later named Straus Elementary,
is today part of Blue Ridge Community College. 
Lake Toxaway Elementary was named for longtime educator and school
superintendent, T.C. Henderson.  The two
original schools were identical.

Erle Stillwell had a long and productive career in
private practice and in partnership with Six Associates.  Several of the buildings he designed remain a
piece of Transylvania County’s architectural history today.

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 828-884-1820.

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