The approval of the application to build Mount Pleasant Female Seminary came on April 2, 1859. The location for the new school consisted of two tracts on South Main Street, just a few blocks from the heart of Mount Pleasant’s primary intersection with Franklin Street. The trustees sold stock certificates at a rate of $25 each in support of the construction of the first building, completed that same year. It was two stories high and contained eight rooms measuring 20’x20’, and two rooms 20’x30.’ Each room had a fireplace. Other amenities included an attached brick kitchen, a smoke house, stables, and a well.
In 1898, Mont Amoena as greatly enlarged and improved with modern conveniences. One of the greatest improvements was a new annex building for the music department. Unlike the main building which used wood-burning fireplaces and stoves for heat, the music building had steam heat. Ten new dormitory rooms included additional closets and bathrooms with hot water. Each room had an “art square” rug, iron bead, oak bureau, washstand, and chairs.
Following are the memories of Helen Misenheimer, a 1914 graduate and teacher at Mont Amoena, about the seminary building before the 1911 fire:
“The building contained everything needed by the students including a large kitchen in the back and a dining hall for all meals. Miss Lundy Freeman took care of all laundry needs with large black wash pots behind the building. Big brick ovens baked the bread that could be smelled over the entire town. Downstairs were classrooms, a chapel, and several smaller practice rooms with a piano in each one for the use of music students [a baby grand was used in the chapel]. The second story contained dormitory rooms for the girls.”
The second building opened in 1913. The central portion of the seminary was four stories high with right and left wings three stories each. It contained fifty-eight rooms consisting of classrooms, dormitory space, offices, a dining room, gymnasium, a library, laundry, bathroom facilities. On the first floor were the assembly room, music rooms, social room, library, president’s office, president’s and vice-president’s living rooms and a few student’s rooms. The first floor rooms were perhaps the most desirable for they were single occupancy with connecting baths. The president and teachers lived in the building to assist students at all hours. The second and third floors were double occupancy student rooms, each with a window. The bathrooms had hot and cold water pumped from a well drilled through two hundred feet of rock. In the basement it had a state-of-the-art kitchen along with steam heating and electrical lighting plants.
From Our Church Paper (New Market, VA), Vol. 32, No. 29, July 19, 1904, p. 2.
A LONG FELT NEED. —Among many other improvements on and around the Collegiate Institute, Mt. Pleasant, N. C., is to be a beautiful brick auditorium 40×75 feet. This auditorium will be built in the center of the town, midway be tween the Collegiate Institute and Mont Amoena Seminary for the accommodation of both schools. Through the kindness and liberality of Messrs. Cook & Foil this blessing comes to the schools. They build the auditorium and the two schools will furnish it. The brick will be on the ground for work about the first of September. Those who have attended commencements at Mt. Pleasant will know what this means for the two schools.
The images below are from the first Mont Amoena building, circa 1896 (click to enlarge).
The images below are from the second Mont Amoena building, c. 1922 (click to enlarge).