north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

      Founded in 1852 by a resolution of the North Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute was originally known as the Western Carolina Male Academy. The board of trustees obtained a sixteen-acre tract from Matthias Barrier. The board commissioned H. C. McAllister, a Gaston County mason, to construct the school.

      Construction of the main brick building was completed in 1855-56, with an additional six Greek Revival structures eventually being completed by 1859. The first classes were held in 1855, with an average of sixty students per year. Renamed North Carolina College in 1858, the school had considerable success in the years just prior to the Civil War. The college was a contemporary of Mount Amoena Seminary a Lutheran school for girls located nearby. Students from across the South, including some from as far away as Texas, attended the school paying an average of $125-145 a year in tuition. At the outbreak of the war, many of these young men enlisted in Company H, 8th North Carolina Troops. However, with most of the student body and several professors gone to war, the college soon fell into financial ruin.

      For the remainder of the nineteenth century, the college suffered recurrent difficulties and never regained its prewar attendance levels. In 1901, when the Lutheran Synod began channeling funds into Lenoir College (now Lenoir-Ryhne College), North Carolina College closed its doors, although a teacher and former student operated it as a private school.

      Due in large part to alumni donations and the efforts of Reverend L. E. Busby, the school reopened two years later as the Collegiate Institute at Mount Pleasant, a preparatory school for young men. Beginning in 1907, uniforms and military discipline became adopted. Students studied English, algebra, geometry, literature, biology, Latin, in addition to their military drills.

      Although the 1910s and 1920s saw an increase in enrollment and funding, the school again closed its doors in 1933 on the eve of the Great Depression. The board of trustees sold most of the school’s structures. Several campus buildings were used as apartments until the 1950s, when the site was abandoned. The Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society acquired the main building, which houses their museum.

“Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute: Historical Significance,” (typescript research report, Research Branch, Division of Archives and History, 1983)
Concord Daily Tribune, October 24, 1965; August 29, 1971; September 3, 1972; September 8, 1974; and November 12, 1974
Mt. Pleasant Collegiate Institute (North Carolina College) Papers, 1853-1892, Southern Historical Collection, Chapel Hill
William S. Powell, Higher Education in North Carolina (1964)
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north carolina highway historical marker program

Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources