North Carolina Education - Henderson County

Year County Established

County Webpage Herein

County Seat Webpage Herein


Henderson County


As early as 1858, the Western Baptist Convention sought to establish a college for women in Western North Carolina. With support from several Baptist associations, construction of a school in Hendersonville was started late in 1858 or early in 1859. The college went through a host of names, including Hendersonville Female College, Western North Carolina Female College, Judson Female College, and finally Judson College. The school was named for the Rev. Adoniram Judson, a Baptist missionary to Burma and translator of the Bible into Burmese.

The American Civil War and its aftermath put a halt to campus construction. In 1865, a corporation organized to complete the college and make it co-educational. Henderson County records show that the Western Carolina Educational Company was incorporated on March 9, 1874, for the expressed purpose of “advancement of education by purchase of the grounds and buildings known as Judson College and to operate a school as a Baptist institution.” It was 1882 before the college actually opened.

By 1892, unpaid debts had accumulated and the school was sold under mortgage to Jesse R. Starnes who leased the school to Rev. G. H. Detwiler. Detwiler operated a private, non-sectarian Christian school. Later, Dr. Guy E. Dixon purchased the school and turned it into a health resort. The old college building then passed into the hands of the Hendersonville Housing Authority. It was demolished in the 1960s to make way for modern, low-rent public housing.

The above write-up (with edits) was provided by the North Carolina Highway Marker program. Click Here to read and to view their sources.


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