Montreat Minute 1/12/24

Greetings Montreaters!

We were thankful for the hearty group who braved the cold to join us for the January Town Council meeting. My summary follows below. The official minutes will be in next month’s agenda packet. Please remember you can view tonight’s meeting recording by CLICKING HERE.

Public Forum

Letta Jean Taylor offered some thoughts about financial issues related to Town operations and budgeting. She spoke of our need to be competitive with wages to attract and retain the best staff, an aging infrastructure that needs attention, and how we use the fund balance. She urged the Council to be careful in the Town budgeting process.

To read more, CLICK HERE

Did You Know?

Based on the ball the child is holding, this is a 1924 photograph of Montreat Normal School students. 

Ed. Note: Education has been a prime focus at Montreat since shortly after its founding. This article is the third of a three-part series entitled ”Education – A vital component of Montreat’s mission” For the first article, CLICK HERE and for the second article, CLICK HERE.

In 1913, Dr. Robert Anderson, President of the Mountain Retreat Association, first proposed that Montreat establish a post-secondary school, noting that the Montreat Hotel and other facilities were seldom used in the winter. A committee of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States took up the matter and concluded that with the addition of heat and school equipment, the buildings could easily support a Normal School for Teachers. In 1915, the General Assembly agreed and Dr. Anderson set about raising $30,000 so that the school could operate debt-free for five years while establishing itself. In the Fall of 1916, Montreat Normal School opened with eight boarding students and two young men who were day students.  The school curriculum provided a four-year high school program and a two-year college program to train teachers.  Boarding students and three teachers lived in the Montreat Hotel, which also housed the classrooms. Cost was $225 per student for the academic year.

During its first eight years, Montreat Normal School changed leadership often. While Dr. Anderson remained president until his retirement in 1947, the school had six different principals from 1916 to 1924. Seeking an experienced educator who could oversee the growth of the school and move it toward accreditation, Dr. Anderson hired S. L. Woodward in 1924. Woodward had served for many years as superintendent of schools in Plant City, Florida, and then in Morristown, Tennessee. His first year was challenging. The Montreat Hotel had burned in January 1924 and the school finished that year in two older structures. By the time of Woodward’s arrival, the Hotel Alba had been fitted with a heating system and it became the new home for the school.  During succeeding years, the curriculum and the faculty expanded slowly, with some classes moving to the Lakeside Building. In 1931, fifteen seniors graduated.

Woodward’s attention to academics bore fruit in 1933 when Montreat Normal School received full accreditation and became Montreat College (junior college at that time). Woodward left Montreat that year and attention then shifted to growth. Enrollment in the college grew from 30 in the Fall of 1933 to 221 by 1941. Additional buildings supported both the college and the growing summer conference programs.  By the time of Dr. Anderson’s retirement in 1947, Montreat College had become a four-year college for women.

Much of this information comes from 100 Years of Montreat College by Sue Diehl.

Thanks to the Presbyterian Heritage Center, especially Nancy Midgette, for this glimpse from the past. Stop by the PHC for additional Montreat history and so much more. Have an idea for a future “Did You Know?”? Let Nancy know at [email protected].

Updates and Reminders

  • The Town offices will be closed on Monday, January 15th, for the MLK, Jr. holiday. Sanitation services will be delayed until Tuesday the 16th.
  • The Planning & Zoning Commission will meet on Thursday, January 18th, at 10:30am, in the Town Hall Community Room. The meeting will be live streamed, and the public is invited to attend. For streaming instructions, CLICK HERE.
  • As of the end of January, there will be two openings on the Board of Adjustment—one for a regular member and the second for an alternate member. If you are interested in being considered for either position, please contact Savannah Parrish, Angela Murphy, Kayla DiChristina, or a Town Council member.
  • Do you receive your own copy of the Montreat Minute or know someone who doesn’t? Sign up for the Sunshine List to receive the Montreat Minute and stay “in the know” about the Town’s happenings. CLICK HERE to sign up for the list!

Questions or Comments?

Do you have Town-related questions or comments to offer? If so, please send them to Angela Murphy at [email protected] and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Have a safe and warm weekend!