North Carolina Education - Yancey County

Year County Established

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Yancey County

On March 5, 1879, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Yancey County High School in the village of Bald Creek in Yancey County. Six (6) trustees were named in the Act, and the school was chartered for ninety (90) years.
On March 6, 1893, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate Peterson Academy in Yancey County. Eight (8) incorporators were named in the Act.
On March 9, 1895, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to authorize the qualified voters in the town of Burnsville to decide whether to levy a special tax to extend the public school in the town of Burnsville.
On March 9, 1897, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to authorize the school committee in Public School District No. 13 in Yancey County to use the Public School Fund of said district for 1896 to construct a joint school and church house (Union Church) in said district.

The Yancey Collegiate Institute opened its doors on September 9, 1901. The idea for a Baptist Academy in Yancey County originated at a meeting of the Baptist Association at Crabtree Church in 1899. In that period, most secondary education could only be received through private academies because of a lack of public high schools in the state. Local citizens felt that their children deserved a proper education and endorsed funding by the Baptist Church.

Soon after the Crabtree Church meeting, the elders chose a two-acre site offered by S. M. Bennett. The deed was signed on March 2, 1900, and construction of the building began shortly thereafter. The Baptist State Mission Board and the Baptist Home Mission Board, along with private donors, provided the necessary funds to erect several brick buildings on the campus.

By September of 1901, the original building had been finished and soon thereafter, a male dormitory was complete. The school officially was incorporated by act of the North Carolina General Assembly in 1903. In 1905, builders completed a female dormitory, named the Watson Building after leading private donor E. F. Watson. The school offered a curriculum consisting of mathematics, reading, writing, and literature courses. Until 1917, the school offered only traditional high school courses. That year, the institute began offering a range of college courses in history, Biblical studies, and classical languages. Many of the students who graduated from Yancey Collegiate Institute later attended Wake Forest College or Mars Hill College.

Student activities at Yancey Collegiate Institute included literary societies and athletics. The school provided venues for basketball, baseball, and tennis for both boys and girls. Male students could take part in boxing and wrestling.

Yancey Collegiate Institute ceased to operate as a private institution in 1926, and became a public high school. In 1993, the institute, which had become Burnsville Elementary School, closed its doors. Presently, the site is home to the Blue Ridge Reading Team, a non-profit literary organization for several mountain counties. In 2003, the site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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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