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County & Federal Schools


There were a variety of schools in Jackson County and Swain County, North Carolina, in the early 20th century, including one-room schools, two-story buildings of frame construction, brick buildings, and WPA-built schools of the 1930s that featured rockwork.

Due to state limitations on taxation, county school sessions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were often limited to a few months. In order to provide better educational opportunities, parents often worked to combine their personal resources to retain (“subscribe”) teachers for longer sessions.

Fairfield School, Jackson County, North Carolina, c. 1909.

Fairfield School, Jackson County, North Carolina, c. 1909.

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A side view of Fairfield School, Jackson County, North Carolina, c. 1909.

A side view of Fairfield School, Jackson County, North Carolina, c. 1909.

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Nan Frizzell, Jackson County, North Carolina, early 1900s.

Nan Frizzell, Jackson County, North Carolina, early 1900s.

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Oscar School, Cullowhee Township, Jackson County, North Carolina.

Oscar School, Cullowhee Township, Jackson County, North Carolina.

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Willets School, Jackson County, North Carolina, c. 1908.

Willets School, Jackson County, North Carolina, c. 1908.

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“Mrs. Reed”

“Mrs. Reed”

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A handwritten caption on the photograph indicates that the picture features May Belle Jamison and the Norton School.

A handwritten caption on the photograph indicates that the picture features May Belle Jamison and the Norton School.

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Webster School, Jackson County, North Carolina, c. 1910. The building dates from 1900.

Webster School, Jackson County, North Carolina, c. 1910. The building dates from 1900.

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Qualla Graded School, Jackson County, North Carolina.

Qualla Graded School, Jackson County, North Carolina.

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Almond High School, Swain County, North Carolina.

Almond High School, Swain County, North Carolina.

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Another view of Almond High School, Swain County, North Carolina.

Almond High School, Swain County, North Carolina.

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Cherokee Training School, Swain, County, North Carolina.

Cherokee Training School, Swain, County, North Carolina. From Thomas Donaldson and Henry B. Carrington, Extra Census Bulletin. Indians. Eastern Band of Cherokees of North Carolina (Washington, D.C.: United States Census Printing Office, 1892).

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View from Spray Ridge of the Eastern Cherokee Training School and Mt. Noble.

View from Spray Ridge of the Eastern Cherokee Training School and Mt. Noble. From Thomas Donaldson and Henry B. Carrington, Extra Census Bulletin. Indians. Eastern Band of Cherokees of North Carolina (Washington, D.C.: United States Printing Office, 1892). The Extra Census Bulletin noted, “The Cherokee training school, established under the auspices of the Western Meeting of Friends of the state of Indiana, occupies for school and farm purposes nearly 50 acres of land along the Ocona Lufty river, at the foot of Mount Noble . . . .” (p. 16).

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Return to: Education in Western North Carolina . Hunter Library . WCU

Send comments or questions to:
George Frizzell
Hunter Library Special Collections
Western Carolina University
176 Central Drive
Cullowhee, NC 28723
828-227-7474