Defunct: Schools and Academies

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Entry Category: Defunct: Schools and Academies

Arkadelphia Baptist Academy

The Arkadelphia Baptist Academy in Arkadelphia (Clark County) was one of many schools founded across the South by the American Baptist Home Mission Society, which was headquartered in New York. Beginning in 1865, the northern Baptists joined other denominations in the effort to educate the recently freed slaves across the South. In an article published in the New York Times in 1897, the society’s corresponding secretary, General Thomas J. Morgan, noted that, after the war, “the problem presented itself of the intellectual elevation of 4,000,000 human beings, just emerging from a degrading bondage.” During the thirty-two-year period between the end of the war and Morgan’s statements, the Home Mission Society had spent about $3 million, and its more than thirty institutions …

Arkadelphia Presbyterian Academy

Arkadelphia Presbyterian Academy, located in Arkadelphia (Clark County), was a co-educational elementary and secondary school operated by the Presbyterian Board of Missions for Freedmen. This board was part of the “Northern” Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), which founded schools for African Americans across the South after the Civil War. The board began opening schools for freed slaves as early as the 1860s, but the movement arrived late in Arkansas. It was not until 1889, when a new presbytery was organized in the state and large numbers of blacks from the eastern states were settling in Arkansas, that the board felt confident to begin its work in the state. The academy in Arkadelphia had earlier roots, however. According to historian Inez Moore Parker, it was …

Bates School House

The Bates School House is located in the unincorporated community of Bates (Scott County). The schoolhouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 21, 2006. On May 1, 1915, James and Rosa Haywood donated 5.3 acres to the Bates and Gipson Special School District to build the schoolhouse. The building is estimated to have been constructed between 1916 and 1917 by the Bates community. The school initially provided educational instruction for students from first grade through high school. First- through sixth-grade classes were located on the first floor, while seventh- through twelfth-grade classes were located on the second. In the 1950s, Scott County began consolidating school districts, which in turn led to the closure of the …

Booker T. Washington High School (Jonesboro)

Booker T. Washington High School (BTW) in Jonesboro (Craighead County), also known as Jonesboro Industrial High School (IHS), was the first high school for African Americans in northeastern Arkansas. After some setbacks, BTW ultimately became a source of pride in the black community, with students coming from across the region to attend the school. BTW closed in 1966 when Jonesboro’s public schools were completely desegregated. In the twenty-first century, the E. Boone Watson Community Center and African American Cultural Center stands on the former BTW site. After a severe snowstorm in December 1917 destroyed the city auditorium in Jonesboro, the Colored School Improvement Association (CSIA) of Jonesboro lobbied the Jonesboro School Board for the bricks from the dilapidated building to …

Boswell School

The Works Progress Administration (WPA), one of the many government programs designed to help combat the economic hard times of the Depression, constructed a new school building in Boswell (Izard County) in the mid-1930s. The original school had been established not long after the founding of the community in the early 1800s. The structure built by the WPA is a rectangular, single-story, fieldstone masonry classroom building with a central porch on the western end with a large projecting gable roof. Entrance is made through double-hung doors on the west side with two nine-over-nine pane windows and two stationary six-pane windows on each side. Two large bay windows cover much of the eastern side. The southern side has two large windows …

Buford School Building

The Buford School Building at 4439 Buford Road near Mountain Home (Baxter County) is a single-story two-room structure designed in the Craftsman style and constructed in 1936 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era public relief program. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 4, 1992. The town of Buford (Baxter County) reportedly had its origins in an 1870 wagon train in which a group of Mississippians who were headed for Texas instead diverted to Baxter County after hearing of a severe drought at their original destination. A post office was established at their settlement in 1879, and postmaster George Osborn named it Buford in honor of his son. The small town prospered, and …

Caddo Valley Academy

Caddo Valley Academy (CVA) was founded in Womble (Montgomery County) in 1921. Though the private school was open for a relatively short amount of time, it had a lasting impact on the residents of Womble, which was later known as Norman. Through a blended curriculum of standard academics and biblical teachings, CVA provided a strong educational foundation for its students. Dr. John Tilman Barr Jr. established CVA. Barr was born in 1886 and devoted much of his life to working with children. Though he was frequently ill, Barr originally aspired to be a lawyer and politician. However, he came to believe that God had instructed him to become a minister and so devoted his life to the Presbyterian Church. Barr’s …

Calico Rock Home Economics Building

The Calico Rock Home Economics Building, located on Second Street in Calico Rock (Izard County), was built in 1940–1941 with assistance from the National Youth Administration (NYA), a Depression-era federal relief agency. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 10, 1992. Students in the White River town of Calico Rock were being served by a two-story school building erected in 1921 and a later gymnasium when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal created opportunities for an additional building. The school district turned to the NYA, which provided employment opportunities for young people, to build a home economics building on the school campus. Though the NYA approved the project around 1938, construction was delayed. The Calico …

Cedar Grove School No. 81

Located five miles north of Pocahontas (Randolph County) in the Brockett community is the Cedar Grove School No. 81. The school opened after a redistricting of Randolph County school districts in 1890 and offered classes through the eighth grade. The original school building served the local community until it was destroyed by a tornado on March 30, 1938. The building that replaced it held classes until the school district consolidated with the Pocahontas School District in 1949. After consolidation, the building served for a time as a meeting place for the Brockett Home Extension Club and as a community building. Cedar Grove School No. 81 is a Greek Revival–style building with the original well house and outhouse. The well house …

Christ Church Parochial and Industrial School

Christ Church Parochial and Industrial School was a private school for African-American children operated in Forrest City (St. Francis County) by the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas from 1923 until 1968. It was closely related to Christ Church Mission, an African-American congregation founded in 1921. The mission and school were founded by the Right Reverend Edward T. Demby, the African-American suffragan (assistant) bishop for “Colored Work” in the Diocese of Arkansas and in the southwestern province of the national Episcopal Church. Bishop Demby sought to build a thriving African-American ministry in eastern Arkansas and also saw the need for quality education in academic and vocational skills for the black children of Forrest City and the surrounding county. He requested and received …

Clarke’s Academy

Clarke’s Academy was a private school that operated between 1867 and 1905 in Berryville (Carroll County). The school earned a reputation for the quality of its work, the accomplishments of many of its alumni, and the integrity and dedication of its founder, Isaac A. Clarke. Isaac Asbury Clarke was born on March 22, 1837, in Overton County, Tennessee. In 1844, after the death of his father in 1841, his mother moved to Carroll County, Arkansas. Clarke attended Berryville Academy and then Cane Hill College in Washington County. After teaching school for a time, he entered the University of Missouri. Following a visit home in 1861, he was advised that it was dangerous for him to go north again. He enlisted …

Cold Water School

The Cold Water School, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is located in the former village of McPhearson (Baxter County) and was one of the earliest schools in Baxter County. The first building was constructed in the late 1880s, as population growth had necessitated a school. The second building, which still stands in the twenty-first century, was built between 1920 and 1926. This one-room schoolhouse was used as a school, church, and community center. The Cold Water School is the oldest and only surviving structure in McPhearson and is located twenty-five miles south of Mountain Home (Baxter County). As early as 1829, the Arkansas Territorial Legislature passed laws concerning public schools. The first laws allowed the …

Colored Industrial Institute

The Colored Industrial Institute in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) was one of the first Catholic-supported schools for African-American children in Arkansas. The school was established by Father John Michael Lucey, a white Confederate veteran, who was considered progressive for speaking out against lynching and protesting efforts to pass separate coach legislation. Planning for the school began in May 1889. Lucey approached leading citizens of Jefferson County to fill the school’s board of directors. This integrated board included wealthy black Pine Bluff citizens, including Ferdinand (Ferd) Havis and Wiley Jones. Jones was also one of three members of the school’s executive committee and served as secretary. The other two executive committee members were Pine Bluff mayor J. W. Bocage and Reverend …

Consolidated White River Academy

The Consolidated White River Academy arose in the late 1800s when several African-American church groups in the Brinkley (Monroe County) area wanted to create an academy offering African-American students the opportunity for a full high school education, rather than the mere tenth-grade education available to them in the area. The goal was to provide a top-notch Christian education in a boarding school environment following a modified version of Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute. The educational opportunities and convenient residential facilities attracted students from across the state and nation for over fifty years. The district academy project originated during the late nineteenth century with black Baptist churches in the Brinkley area. These churches worked to establish a high school, the original name of …

Cotton Plant Academy

Cotton Plant Academy, located in Cotton Plant (Woodruff County), was a co-educational boarding school operated by the Presbyterian Board of Missions for Freedmen. This board, part of the “Northern” Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), was responsible for founding schools for African Americans across the South after the Civil War. The first Presbyterian schools for freed slaves in the South opened in the 1860s, but the board did not open schools in Arkansas until the 1880s, when a new presbytery had been established in the state and numbers of African Americans from the eastern states were resettling there. The Cotton Plant Academy started out in the old Jerry Clark home during the 1880s. Later, it was located in a small church near the …

Dwight Mission

Dwight Mission near Russellville (Pope County) was the first formal Protestant effort directed at the education and conversion of Native Americans in Arkansas and was one of the first Protestant missions established west of the Mississippi. The mission was established in 1820 and operated in Arkansas until 1829. The mission had been requested by Western Cherokee Principal Chief Tahlonteskee in 1818, when he visited Brainerd Mission in Georgia, sponsored by the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions (ABCFM), a Presbyterian organization. The Western Cherokee was a diverse group whose previous generation had migrated into Arkansas while fleeing troubles in the Cherokee homeland at the southern end of the Appalachians, and some of the members thought it useful for their …

Fargo Agricultural School

Before the state of Arkansas made public funds available for segregated schools for black children, Floyd Brown, a graduate of Tuskegee Institute, founded and operated the Fargo Agricultural School (FAS) outside Brinkley (Monroe County). From 1920 to 1949, the private residential school offered “training for the head, hands and heart” and high school educations for hundreds of black youth at a time when the United States’ black population averaged five years or less of formal schooling. In early twentieth-century Arkansas, African-American children were seldom educated beyond the primary grades. In the 1920s and 1930s, most black Southerners were sharecroppers indebted to white landowners to whom they gave a share of their crops for rent. To supplement the family income, women …

Fishback School

Fishback School was established in 1885 as Washington County School District 68. At that time, the school was about two miles southeast of Springdale (Washington and Benton counties), in an area known for its fruit orchards. Two families, the Grahams and the Boyds, donated one-half acre each from their adjoining orchards as a location for the schoolhouse, a one-room wood-frame building. According to former Fishback student Truman Stamps, the school was named for William Meade Fishback, a prominent Fort Smith (Sebastian County) attorney and legislator who served as governor of Arkansas from 1893 to 1895. As was the case with most rural schools, grades one through eight were offered at Fishback. By 1915, enrollment at Fishback had grown to the …

Helen Dunlap School for Mountain Girls

aka: Helen Dunlap Memorial School for Mountain Girls
  The Helen Dunlap School for Mountain Girls, later known as the Helen Dunlap Memorial School for Mountain Girls, is considered one of the best early examples of a Mountain Mission School in Arkansas, according to historian Brooks Blevins. These schools were supported by churches of various denominations in northern states, and their purpose was to provide secondary academic and vocational education to children living in isolated mountain communities. The Helen Dunlap School for Mountain Girls was established around 1905 in Winslow (Washington County), a small mountain town on the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway. The building, known as “Boston Heights” and built by the original owners as a family residence, was donated to St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Winslow by Dr. Albert …

Hinemon University School

Hinemon University School was established in 1890 at Monticello (Drew County) by an organization of local community and business leaders known as the Monticello Educational Society. As a semi-private and non-sectarian preparatory boarding school, Hinemon offered white boys and girls from across the Delta region an opportunity to obtain a quality secondary-level education. The school’s stated purpose was to “prepare pupils for university” and to give them “sufficient knowledge for good educational work as teachers or in other professions.” Students at the Hinemon University School were immersed in the study of English, mathematics, Latin, science, Greek, music, and the visual arts. They were introduced to the discipline of philosophy and to languages such as German and French. Some courses were …

Hot Springs Normal and Industrial Institute

aka: Mebane Academy
The Board of Missions for Freedmen of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (PCUSA), or the “Northern” Presbyterian Church, began opening schools for freed slaves in the South as early as the 1860s. However, no schools were started in Arkansas until 1889, when a new presbytery was established and significant numbers of African Americans from the eastern states were resettling in the state. During the early 1890s, the Reverend A. E. Torrence, pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church, opened a parochial school for black students in Hot Springs (Garland County). He conducted it independently but did receive some aid from the Board of Missions. By 1895, there were 100 students in attendance. According to Inez Parker, while the school was …

Kingston School

The Kingston (Madison County) school district was established on January 25, 1869. As with most districts following the Civil War, the school operated only six to eight weeks a year, due to lack of funding and the children being needed for farm work. In 1916, the Reverend Elmer J. Bouher was granted permission by the Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. to take charge of the abandoned church mission at Kingston. Bouher arrived later that year ready to put his “Kings Plan” into action. The plan was to (1) unite the church and school; (2) create a community building program; (3) teach health and hygiene to the entire community; and (4) improve farming methods and local roads. …

Lincoln High School (Star City)

Lincoln High School was a school for African Americans located on the northwestern side of Star City (Lincoln County) at 507 Pine Street. The school, which took its name from the county, was established in 1949 following the consolidation of black schools in the communities of Cornerville, Cole Spur, Star City, Bright Star, Sneed, Richardson, Bethlehem, Mount Olive, Saint Olive, and Sweet Home. None of these schools went beyond the eighth grade, leaving a large segment of Lincoln County’s African-American students with no local high school to attend. Charles R. Teeter was the superintendent, and Ruth Teal was hired as Lincoln’s first principal. In the first school year of Lincoln’s existence (1949–50), only grades one through nine were offered. Each …

Maynard Baptist Academy

aka: Abbott Institute
aka: Ouachita Baptist Academy
The Maynard Baptist Academy—first known as the Abbott Institute and then as the Ouachita Baptist Academy—was a boarding school founded in 1894 in Maynard (Randolph County). At the time, most schools typically had only one room and went only as far as the eighth grade. The Abbott Institute was founded in 1894 by the Abbott (or Abbot) family from the Maynard area. While they themselves lacked much education, they saw great value in educating the young people of the area and surrounding areas. Eli Abbott had been very successful in land speculation in the Fourche River and Current River bottomland while also farming. The institute drew students from a wide area of Arkansas and from other states. The school had …

Monticello Academy

Monticello Academy in Drew County was under the sponsorship of the Board of Missions for Freedmen of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (PCUSA), or the “Northern” Presbyterian Church, which first began opening schools for freed slaves in the South in the 1860s. However, it was not until the 1880s, when a new presbytery had been established in the state and numbers of African Americans from the eastern states were resettling there, that the board felt confident enough to begin its work in Arkansas. The academy was started in 1891 by the Reverend C. S. Mebane, who had come to Monticello (Drew County) in 1888 as the pastor of Second Presbyterian Church there. He was closely aided in his work …

Mount Pleasant Academy

The Mount Pleasant Academy was established in 1878 at Barren Fork (now Mount Pleasant) in Izard County. The two-story frame structure was situated on a hilltop overlooking the little community of about 100 people. Built with donated funds, materials, and labor, it operated under a board of directors. The area was settled during the 1850s, mostly by pioneer farmers from Tennessee and Kentucky with Scots-Irish ancestry. They established a church before building the village of Barren Fork, which was named for a creek that flows nearby and joins Poke (or Polk) Bayou in Independence County. The academy was named for the hill where it was located. It always had close ties to the two local Cumberland Presbyterian churches because most …

Mountain Crest Academy

Mountain Crest Academy was located seven miles south of Combs (Franklin County), just one mile from the Madison County line. The academy was one of a large number of schools founded by the Presbyterian Church to serve the “backward classes” of the rural mountain South. The church became interested in this home mission work around 1910 and established a large number of such schools, many of them in the Appalachian Mountains. By 1917, the Southern branch of the Presbyterian Church (the Presbyterian Church in the United States, or PCUS) was supporting forty-two such schools, which served more than 2,000 students. Some of the schools also emphasized local mountain crafts. Mountain Crest was apparently the brainchild of the Reverend John W. …

Mulberry Home Economics Building

The Mulberry Home Economics Building, located on Church Avenue in Mulberry (Crawford County), was built between 1937 and 1939 with assistance from the National Youth Administration (NYA), a Depression-era federal relief agency. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 10, 1992. Mulberry Campground housed one of the first schools in Crawford County in the late 1820s, and a formal school was established in the town of Mulberry in 1878, two years before the community incorporated. In 1931, Mulberry Public Schools consolidated with the Vine Prairie and Pleasant Hill school districts as part of a wave of 591 consolidations around the state, and a $45,000 brick school building was built shortly afterward. In 1937, the school …

Northern Ohio School

Until the mid-twentieth century, the majority of Arkansas children were taught in one-room schoolhouses, most of which were located in rural areas. Many of these schools have been destroyed, but several remain. The Northern Ohio School, a one-room schoolhouse for rural African-American students, is the only remaining one-room African-American schoolhouse in Parkin (Cross County). As a result of the expanding lumber industry, the population of Parkin grew in the first decade of the twentieth century; the town was incorporated in 1912. The primary employers were local sawmills, one of which was the Northern Ohio Cooperage and Lumber Company. It formed in 1906 as an amalgamation of smaller sawmills: the Parkin Cooperage Company and the Northern Ohio Company. The gathering of …