Ideals, principals taught at Mont Ameona will live on
An article from The Concord Times about the history of Mont Amoena.
The Concord Times (Concord, NC). Sep. 7, 1973.
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United States–North Carolina
Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society Museum
All rights reserved by the source institution.
Staff Writer, “Ideals, principals taught at Mont Ameona will live on,” Mont Amoena: Educating the Young Ladies of Cabarrus Couunty 1859-1927, accessed December 5, 2014, https://montamoena.org/2014/12/05/ideals-principals-taught-at-mont-amoena-will-live-on/
The Concord Tribune, Sunday, September 2, 1973
Idelas, principals taught at Mont Ameona will live on
MT. PLEASANT – The Mont Amoena Seminary in Mt. Pleasant is only a memory for the old timers to recall and where the institution once stood, there’s now nothing but a parking lot.
The facility, which until 1932 housed a school for young women, has passed into history and little remains but the memories of a few who where a part of that history.
The proud days of Mont Ameona Seminary are gone and even the decaying old buildings that once graced the site have been reduced to rubble and hauled away.
It was 114 years ago – 1859 – when the seminary was established and housed in a large white frame building, the clean simple lines of which were marred only by a tower jutting above the roof.
The institution survived the rigors of the War Between the States and was taken over by the North Carolina Lutheran Synod in 1869 which operated the school until its demise in 1932.
The old building was heated by wood stoves, one in every room, a factor which was directly responsible for the destruction of the original structure on Thanksgiving night 1911. Fortunately, it was at this time that one of the college’s semi-annual plays was being given in the school’s off-campus auditorium.
A fire started in a dormitory room and the building was a mass of flames before the blaze was discovered.
In 1913, the new building was opened after a construction period of more than a year.
When the school was re-opened that year the faculty included Rev. R. A. Goodman, president; Rev. J. H. C. Rosalyn Summer, Miss Ella Belle Shirey, Dr. J. M. Earnhardt, Mrs. Hampton A. Stirewalt, Mrs. Moses Foil and Mrs. Leah J. Fisher.
According to the Bulletin for the 1915-16 term, the school was in an ideal location “free from all malarial disease. Persons suffering from chills and fever are always benefitted, and insome instances, cured by a residence in the town,” the Bulletin stated.
The Bulletin described the “The morality and intelligence of the community, the legislative inacement forbidding the sale of intoxicating liquors and the absence of gambling dens and other haunts of vice afford the student the best possible safeguard and environment.”
Despite its relatively small enrollment (75 to 100 girls), the school offered a varied curriculum, including Bible, English, mathematics, Latin, German, French, natural sciences, penmanship, padegogy, algebra, history, physics, chemistry, ethics, logic and geology. The college was especially proud of its art and music courses in which a variety of subjects were available. In its later years, a commercial department was added.
In its bulletins of years gone by, the college stressed that it featured low-cost education. In 1925, a girl, boarding student, could attend the seminary for one year for $260, including “lights, heat, bath and room.”
Enough of the cold facts. What was life like for the pretty young women who attended the seminary?
Discipline, it is said, was “extremely strict.” During the heyday of the old building, near the turn of the century, a former student recalled that girls were not allowed any gentlemen callers unless they were fathers, brothers or uncles and the institution was strictly “off limits’ for young men of North Carolina College (later known as Mt. Pleasant Collegiate Institute).
Girls on the lawn of the college were not allowed to speak to boys passing on the sidewalk only a few feet away – in fact, they could not acknowledge their presence in any way, it is said.
Monday was a big day for the girls for that was the day they were marched “uptown” to Mt. Pleasant where friendly clerks at Heilig’s General Store and Moose’s Drug Store waited to serve them.
At the beginning of each school year, the president of the institution arranged to have carriages or, in later years, motor cars, waiting to transport students from the railroad depot at Concord to the seminary.
Prior to the destruction of the old building, each girl, upon entering the school in September, was required to furnish the principal with a list of six correspondents and these were the only people she would write to duriing her stay at the college.
In 1932, however, the days of Mont Amoena Seminary became just a memory and the building which once brought educational opportunities to hundreds of young women found itself being ravaged by nature.
But during World War II, when housing became a problem, portions of the structure were turned into apartments.
After the war, Mont Amoena became a haven for rodents and again, nature began to take its toll in the form of decay and deterioration.
For more than tow decades the old structure stood only as a monument to the town’s past history.
Several years ago, members of the First Baptist Church acquired the property and had the old building razed.
Today, Mont Amoena Seminary has been totally removed from the landscaped at Mt. Pleasant. Memories, however, will linger for years of the old building and the activities that took place there.
But even when memories are gone, the ideals and principals taught at this institution will continue to have their influence upon the people of this area and this state, through the children, grandchildren of those who knew the campus so well.