Monday, February 19, 2018

New Schools Accommodated Growing Population



This week Picturing the Past continues the history of Brevard schools through the mid-20th century.  After the old 1908 schoolhouse was declared unsafe during the summer of 1936 all 536 elementary students were moved into the building originally constructed as the high school in 1919. 

Brevard Primary is today the offices of the
Register of Deeds and Tax Administration.
The Works Progress Administration provided about 70% of the cost for a new primary grades school on the corner of Broad and Morgan Streets.  The WPA also provided most of the labor.  On March 14, 1938 240 students and six teachers moved into the new building.  There was now room for 60 pupils per classroom in grades 1-3.  For the next 10 years Brevard Elementary operated in the two buildings. 

As the local economy and population continued to grow and the first of the generation that would become known as baby boomers reached school age the school system was again pushed to its limits. 

Brevard Elementary is the Community Services building
with several county departments located in it today.
In 1946 a $310,000 school bond was passed for school improvements and additional facilities.  $192,000 of the bond went to construct a third building for Brevard Elementary.  The two-story, 11-room brick school for grades 6-8 opened in September 1948 on Gaston Street.  The three buildings would serve Brevard elementary students for the next 30 years.

The African American community also received a new school in 1948 to replace their schoolhouse that had burned seven years earlier.  During the interim students had attended class in churches.  Bond money was not used for the new Rosenwald School because the School Board had been setting aside funds for its construction already.  However, the school board did not provide furnishings for the school.  The old desks and chairs from the church classrooms were moved, funds were raised by the community to purchase kitchen equipment and a piano, and the fluorescent lights were provided by the Lions Club.

In September 1959 students in grades 10-12 moved to the new Brevard High School on Country Club Rd.  In 1960 the first Brevard Junior High opened in the old high school on Broad St. with seventh through ninth grade students from Brevard, Penrose, and Straus schools.  It wasn’t until 1966 the ninth graders moved to the Brevard High.


Although Brevard High had become integrated in 1962 Transylvania County Schools were not completely integrated until 1966.  That fall Rosenwald School closed and elementary students began attending Brevard Elementary and Brevard Junior High.  That same year the ninth grade was moved to the Brevard High.

In January 1975 the current Brevard Elementary and Brevard Middle schools opened.  This marked the first time in about 70 years that schools were not located in downtown Brevard.

During the next couple week Picturing the Past will show changes to downtown Brevard during this same period of 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 marcy.thompson@transylvaniacounty.org or 828-884-1820.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Taylors Founded Epworth School

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.

Prior 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.  The 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.
The 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.  In 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.
The 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 marcy.thompson@transylvaniacounty.org or 828-884-1820.

CAPTIONS:
A group of Brevard Grammar School students outside the 1908 building. 
Students and teachers at the Rosenwald School.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Cotton and Logging Mills Employed Many

Inside the Brevard Cotton Mill in its early days.
Empty spindles at Pisgah Mills in 1952. 
The mill continued to operate until 1960.

The largest manufacturer near downtown Brevard in the early 1900s was Brevard Cotton Mill.  The mill, located on Whitmire St. just west of the depot, was constructed in 1909.  An article in the Sylvan Valley News stated that the mill would begin operations as soon as the electrical power from Cascade Power Company from connected.  In early October it was reported that the first shipment of industrial yarn made at the mill had been shipped.  The mill had 4000 spindles operating in 1911, by 1924 there were 6500 spindles.  During the early years the mill went through a number of ownership and name changes.  
It was known as Sapphire Cotton Mill for a short time before becoming Pisgah Mills in the early 1930s.  
The extensive logging industry in Transylvania County meant there was ample timber to supply two lumber yards and several small manufacturers.  J.A. Miller had a lumber company, numerous warehouses, and a planning mill on the west side of Railroad Ave. from around 1900 into the 1930s.  Frank Jenkins’ Brevard Lumber Company on King St. opened in 1910.  It had a woodworking shop in addition to lumber and building supplies.
Fontaine Block Factory, which was in operation prior to 1911, made shuttle blocks from dogwood.  The Railroad Avenue building was destroyed by fire in December 1916.  Although plans to rebuild were announced no further information on the business was located.
DeVane Manufacturing provided “great quantities of pick handles for the use of the government in the operations going on in the Panama Canal zone” according to a tourism brochure issued by The Brevard Club around 1910.  By 1917 the company was owned by Henry Carrier and Victor Fontaine and moved to the Charleston, SC area.  Royal Morrow later bought out Fontaine.
J.M. Kilpatrick managed Kilpatrick and King Machine Shop which manufactured turned columns, door and window frames, and mantels.  Kilpatrick was a leading building contractor throughout the county for many years and employed large crews of workmen.
On the west side of town Joseph Silversteen’s Transylvania Tanning opened in 1917.  The tannery offered employment to a large number of workers including African-Americans. 

During the first three decades of the 20th century there were other small scale industries located in Brevard making jobs plentiful and boasting the local economy.  Next week Picturing the Past will look at the impact of the population boom on Brevard schools around the turn of the 20th century.
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 marcy.thompson@transylvaniacounty.org or 828-884-1820.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Workforce Changed As Population Increased


The population of Brevard quadrupled between 1900 and 1930.  With this large increase the local economy and workforce was changing.  Many people continued to make their living in agriculture but they often supplemented it with other jobs.  Others left the farm, moving into Brevard where there was a growing need for skilled workers.
Construction workers at the Aethelwold Hotel.

Builders and contractors, like the Kilpatrick Brothers and J.A. Miller, hired both tradesmen and day laborers to help with the construction of the brick buildings that were replacing the old wooden shops downtown.  The booming housing market also required construction workers.  J.M. Kilpatrick’s time book for the construction of Silvermont in 1916-1917 lists worker's names, the days and hours worked, rate of pay (12.5-50₵ per hour), and monthly pay. 

Merchants opened shops in the new downtown buildings owned by the McMinns, Joe Clayton, Joseph Picklesimer, Thomas Shipman, and others.  These shops needed bookkeepers, clerks, sales people, and tradesmen.  There were bakeries, barber shops, butcher shops, clothing, furniture, grocery, hardware, millinery, and shoe stores.  

City and county government employed a number of individuals as bookkeepers, clerks, law enforcement officers, and in other positions.  

Banks and professional offices required trained workers as well.  The 1900 U.S. Census lists five lawyers in Brevard—William Breese, William Duckworth, Daniel English, Waightstill Gash, and Welch Galloway.  There were also five physicians listed within the town of Brevard. They were Edwin English, Charles Hunt, Mitchell King, William Wallis, and George Young.

Some of the Franklin Hotel staff.
As tourism increased service industry jobs grew as well.  The Aethelwold and Franklin Hotels employed bellboys, clerks, cooks, and housekeepers.  The Franklin also had groundskeepers.  

In addition there were numerous livery services and blacksmiths in the early 1900s.  Early tourism brochures advertised saddle horses and carriages available to lease at Brevard Livery and King Livery.  In the mid-1920s automobile dealerships and service stations began replacing the horse and buggy and livery stables.  

All of these offered employment opportunities to residents in and around Brevard.  In addition there were several manufacturing and industrial businesses within the town of Brevard during its first three decades.  Next week Picturing the Past will feature the Brevard Cotton Mill and other manufacturers.

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 
marcy.thompson@transylvaniacounty.org or 828-884-1820.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Large Homes Served As Boarding Houses


While downtown Brevard was constructing a brick business district prosperous local residents were building large homes in a variety of architectural styles for their families or to be used as boarding houses.

William Breese moved to Brevard in the 1890s.  He operated the Brevard Roller Flour Mill on King Creek.  Breese build a large, two-story frame house on Caldwell St. just south of King Creek.  The house had a two-tier porch across the entire front.  By the early 1900s Breese’s daughters were operating it as a boarding house known as the Transylvania Lodge.  They could accommodate about 30 guests. Prices ranged from $8-10 per week.  Later it was owned and operated by Ernest and Virginia Webb as Virginia Lodge.  Beginning in 1935 it was used by Brevard College as a dormitory for girls.  During the 1980s the Sharing House was located in it.  After attempts to relocate and preserve the house it was torn down in 2003.

The William Breese Jr. home on East Main St.
 had a one-story porch extending across the front and around both sides.
The family of William Breese Jr., a prominent local attorney, lived in a neoclassical revival-style home on East Main St.  The large Breese family included William, Jr. and his wife, Rebekah; their children; and Rebecca’s mother, Martha Woodbridge.  Mrs. Woodbridge had purchased the property in 1901 and built the home within a year.  A two-story central portico with Ionic columns dominated the front entry.  In 1920 Mrs. Woodbridge deeded the home to William and Rebekah Breese.  The house, which is the Inn at Brevard today, opened as the Colonial Inn in 1955.

John Duckworth built his home on Caldwell St. around 1905.
The Cooper House and Crisp House on Whitmire St. and the Duckworth House on Caldwell St. are all examples of Queen Anne style homes.  The Duckworth House has a steep, hipped rood with multiple gables.  It’s most distinguished feature is a three-story tower with a conical roof.  One corner of the wrap around porch has a projecting gazebo with a conical roof.

Through the teens and 20s housing expanded in areas like East Main, Franklin, Maple, and Probart streets, as well as Park Avenue.  Many of Brevard’s early homes were photograph in 1990 for a county-wide architectural survey.  Photographs are available in the Local History Room and at DigitalNC.org in the Transylvania: The Architectural History of a Mountain County collection.

Next week Picturing the Past will look at employment and industry in Brevard around the turn of the 20th century.

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 marcy.thompson@transylvaniacounty.org or 828-884-1820.