Early Settlers of
Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
The Blairsville Collegiate Institute held a good record for providing education for youth of the mountain region from 1905 through 1930. Its twenty-five years of operation touched many lives for good and provided the impetus for many to pursue education beyond what the boarding school offered.
During the school year 1928 and 1929, my uncle, Dr. Norman Vester Dyer, served as president of Blairsville Collegiate Institute. In publicity and the collegiate catalog he released that year, he had a history of the school. From his historical sketch, I have compiled this account of the school.
About 1904 a
preacher named Rev. Theodore Swanson traveled through
A meeting was
Then in 1905
land were donated in Blairsville for the school campus.
Colonel W. E. Candler and Colonel M. L.
Ledford were strong proponents of the school and gave of their time,
energy to bring the school to fruition.
A building containing classrooms and administrative office was
to be erected “situated on an elevated plain overlooking the little
J. T. Walker served as the first principal.
It was called
With help from the Board and from Notla River Baptist Association, a three-story dormitory building was erected in 1911. Instead of having to find places to board in town, the dormitory made it possible for several of the students to live in that facility.
In 1911, A. E. Brown, superintendent of the Board, reported that Blairsville Collegiate Institute had two buildings, five teachers and 233 students. Subsequent annual reports from the Home Mission Board showed student enrollment of from 150 to over 200.
A 1916 report
listed faculty as H. E. Nelson, Mrs. H. E. Nelson, Miss Addie Kate
June Candler, Miss Etta Colclough and Mrs. Maud Haralson.
It was then the only high school in
the 1916 report on education in
Continuing in his Collegiate catalog of 1929, Dr. N. V. Dyer, president, wrote: “The curriculum is such as will prepare the boy and girl to enter the best colleges and universities of the south. The faculty consists of well-trained and experienced teachers who devote their full time and talents to their work.
“The buildings and equipment consist of a large main building and a dormitory. The dormitory is the most completely equipped and architecturally arranged of any of its kind in the state. Any boy or girl wishing to obtain an education at the least possible expense will make no mistake in attending Blairsville Institute.”
Many students enrolled over the twenty-five years of the school. They studied, they went out to other institutions and did well. Among those who graduated and made a name in education were Miss Addie Kate Reid and Miss Dora Hunter (Mrs. Dora Hunter Allison Spiva) each of whom taught at the Institute; Mr. Charles Roscoe Collins, teacher, administrator, historian; Dr. James M. Nicholson, who led in the transition from Blairsville Collegiate Institute to Union County High School when the facilities of the Institute were bought by the Union County Board of Education for $1,000 and the county high school began in the 1930 academic year.
Mountain schools, among which the Blairsville Collegiate Institute was a major one, had their distinctive place in the educational history of the area.
c2004 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Jan. 29, 2004 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Updated August 23, 2009