Alexander Schools, Incorporated Historical Information

History of the Physical Plant

In 1899, Round Hill Church built and paid for the first building of the Round Hill Academy (RHA) on church property. It was to be owned and controlled by Round Hill Church. RHA was supported by the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention as a mountain mission school; however, the majority of operating funds came from "fund raisers" led by Miss Meldona Livingston. RHA operated a mission school (Clear Creek Academy) at Garden City, five miles northwest of Marion, NC from 1903 until about 1906.

In 1900, Round Hill Church gave the school building and two acres (which contained a spring) to the Green River Association, "so long as it keeps and maintains a school. Whenever the Association fails to provide a school, then said building and land shall revert to Round Hill Church."

In 1900, a Young Ladies' Home with fourteen rooms was constructed.

In 1907, there were two dormitories: a Young Ladies' Home and "the Justice Hall."

In 1909, the first Administration Building was erected. It was a brick structure and the majority of the bricks were made in kilns in Union Mills. This building was destroyed by fire on 14 December 1944.

In 1914, the original school building, which had been converted into a dormitory for boys, was razed and a new dormitory was built in its place. This new dormitory was called the J.D. Morris Hall. This dormitory was used for young boys. At this point, the school owned three buildings: a large two-story Administration Building, a dormitory for young men (J.D. Morris Hall) and a dormitory for young girls (Julia Livingston Home for Girls). The Julia Livingston Home burned on 20 October 1916.

In 1920, to replace the Julia Livingston Home, construction was started on the Liberty Memorial Dormitory—a three-story brick home for girls. On its first floor was the dining hall, a laundry, and an infirmary. The top two floors housed girls and the youngest children.

In 1922, Round Hill Church gave the school permission to construct an athletic field south of the cemetery.

In 1925, the school was in a mess financially and a Mr. J.F. Alexander agreed to bail it out. The name was changed at that time to "Alexander Schools, Incorporated, for Motherless Children" (ASI). Its name contained the word, "Schools" because it was to contain three: (1) a school of industry, including weaving and associated arts, (2) a school of nursing, and (3) a combination of an elementary and a high school. The "for Motherless Children" was later dropped from the name. Mr. Alexander died on 11 December 1925.

A small dwelling house standing adjacent to the campus was purchased and served as a dormitory for small boys. A Mr. Gould from New York City paid to have the house moved back further from the road and enlarged. Hence it assumed the name of the "Gould Cottage." This is the small frame dormitory which stood between the current Administration Building and what was later, the "Brown House."

In 1925, there were four buildings: (1) The Morris Home for Boys, (2) the Administration Building, (3) the Liberty Memorial Dormitory, and (4) the Gould Cottage. The Morris Home for Boys was a frame building just West of the current Administration Building. The Liberty Memorial Dormitory was a three-story brick building for girls. It was located directly across the road from the current Administration Building. The two upper floors of the Liberty Memorial Dormitory served as dormitory space for girls and the smallest children. The first floor (half-below the ground) contained the dining hall and laundry. The infirmary was, at first, on the first floor—but was later moved to the second floor. The Gould Cottage was a wooden building located between what was later the Brown House and the current Administration building. Electric lights and electricity for the well pump were furnished by a Delco Lighting System.

The school then purchased the home of a Reverend Buchanan. It was painted brown, hence people called it the "Brown House." The same Mr. Gould paid much of the purchase price and for renovation of the building, hence its official name was the "Gould Dormitory." This building was the dormitory for the older boys. It was torn down in 1953.

When Reverend Buchanan's brother, Dr. Buchanan, died the school purchased his house and added a two-story section to the back. This frame building became the dormitory for the older girls. It was located just west of Prof's house.

During the years 1925-1935, the school acquired fifteen more acres of land, seven of which were under cultivation. During the summer months, Alexander boys grew vegetables for the kitchen.

In 1926 Professor Willie Ernest Sweatt began teaching at ASI upon graduating from Furman University. In the fall of 1926, Mr. Sweatt was made Superintendent of ASI and Principal of the school.

In 1931, a frame gymnasium was constructed just to the southwest of the current Administration Building. It burned to the ground during a night in February 1952.

In 1932, the public school in Union Mills and the instruction department of Alexander Schools were consolidated--thus the campus school became a state-supported school.

In 1937, the road in front of the school was paved. Mr. Sweatt worked hard to get this done.

In 1941, the first swimming pool was completed. It was located in the draw behind the dining hall. This pool continued in use until 1960.

In 1941, Professor Sweatt's house was built.

In 1945-46, the twelfth grade was added—previous to this there were only eleven grades.

In 1946, the current Administration Building was erected.

On 17 November 1947, The temporary school building which was then being used as a daytime cafeteria was destroyed in a fire that also damaged a nearby cannery.

On 29 December 1947, fire destroyed the Liberty Memorial Dormitory.

In the spring of 1948, a fire struck the Brown House but caused minor damage.

In 1948, the property consisted of 50 acres and 14 buildings. The buildings were used for school classes, dormitories, a dining hall, a laundry, storage rooms, a cannery, a poultry house, and a gymnasium. All of the buildings were frame buildings except the Administration Building, the girls' dormitory, the vocational building, and the music building.

In November 1950, a new kitchen was completed.

On 1 February 1952, the wooden gymnasium to the right-of and just behind the Administration Building burned to the ground.

In August 1952, the current building of Round Hill Church was completed at a cost of $225,000.

In January 1954, fire destroyed the senior girls' dormitory, the Buchanan Dormitory.

In April 1954, a large brick dormitory replaced the Brown House.

In 1957, the new gymnasium (John W. Vogler Gymnasium) was completed. It rests on the land between the current Administration Building and where the old Brown House was located.

In 1960, the current swimming pool was constructed where the old big-girls' dorm stood.

In 1961, the octagon-shaped dining hall was replaced with a brick structure.

In 1964, a house was built where the old Morris Home for Boys stood. This house was used as a residence by the Head of the new "Social Services Department."

In 1968, The frame baby cottage was torn down and replaced by a new Junior Boys Cottage (1969)

In 1974, a new student center was erected. This building is across the dirt road from the dining hall.

In 1975, the campus consisted of 14 buildings situated on 37 acres of land

Current Status of the Property

In 1980, all buildings and land, except for the Administration Building and the Superintendent's house, were sold to The South American Mission Society. Total price: $ 1.00 (one dollar). The South American Mission Society is a mission arm of the Episcopal Church.

In 19*, Mr. Vogler sold the Superintendent's house to *. Mr. Vogler purchased a house in Rutherfordton and moved his family there.

In *, the buildings and land above were further sold to United World Missions. Total proceeds: about a quarter of a million dollars. United World Missions (UMW) is an independent missions organization.

Currently, UMW owns the brick dormitory which replaced the Brown House. It is now named the Sorensen Dormitory. It is used as a dormitory for their students. The gymnasium is currently unused. The Vocational Building (rock structure) and the Music Building are being used for family living quarters by *. Miss Newsome's house is now a place where used cars are sold. * occupies a brick (house) structure which is the western-most building on the north side of the campus (just inside the gate). * occupies the brick dormitory (Meldona Livingston Dormitory [the junior girls' dormitory]) which is directly across from the Administration Building. The entrance to the building is now at the rear--the rear of the building having been modified significantly. The dining hall is apparently not being used. The Baby Cottage (brick, behind the dining room) is now being used by * for family living quarters. The former Student Center (across the dirt road from the dining hall and the baby cottage) is now being used as a school building for students. Professor Sweatt's home is now a nursing home. The nursing home is being run by Ms. Yelton.

Rutherfordton County commissioners awarded the Administration Building and Gymnasium to the Union Mills Community Progress Association in 2000. People in the community are using the property as a community center. The Community Progress Association allows the Alumni Association to meet yearly in the building on the Saturday preceeding the second Sunday in August.