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Appalachian Industrial School

by Wiley J. Williams, 2006

The Appalachian Industrial School was a coed grammar school founded in Penland in 1912 by Episcopal minister Rufus Morgan. Sponsored by the Diocese of Western North Carolina of the Episcopal Church, the school was situated on more than 200 acres of land originally occupied by Seven 1914 Promotional Brochure. Click to see entire brochure. Courtesy of Penland School of Crafts. Springs Baptist Industrial School. The school's curriculum included English (as required in the North Carolina Course of Study), Bible study, nature study, music, folk dancing, sewing, and manual training. Boys and girls interested in farm life could help with essential activities such as milking, haying, and vegetable gardening. Games were played on the playground, and, when they reached an appropriate age, students were instructed in gardening, cooking, housekeeping, care of farm animals and pets, and taking care of their own clothing. In a shop, some children worked with wood, leather, clay, and paints.

The school year ran from September to June, and during the summer the property was used for a summer camp. Morgan's sister, Lucy, was principal of the school from 1920 to 1923. She is, however, remembered more as the founder of the Penland School of Crafts. The Appalachian Industrial School was closed in July 1964, and the property was purchased from the Episcopal diocese by the Penland School of Crafts.


Appalachian School, The Appalachian School (1933).

Lucy C. Morgan and LeGette Blythe, Gift from the Hills: Miss Lucy Morgan's Story of Her Unique Penland School (1958).

Image Credit:

Appalachian Industrial School, ca. 1911-1914. Image courtesy of Penland School of Crafts Archives. Available from (accessed November 8, 2012).

1914 Promotional Brochure. Click to see entire brochure. Courtesy of Penland School of Crafts. Available from (accessed November 8, 2012).

Origin - location: 



I attended Appalachian School from 1952 to 1955 (about) as a day student but I never knew that it started as an industrial school. I have really good memories of my years there. Father Lambert was headmaster and the housemother was Miss Waits. My teachers were Miss Johnson, Miss Thornton, and Father Ray. Grades one, two and three were taught together and grades four through six were taught together in one room. When I went back to public school in the seventh grade, I was ahead of my peers in all subjects.


My brother John Bollard and I attended Appalachian at the same time. We have many of the same memories as you. Remembering the bran muffins at breakfast and roller skating on the porch. My class included Martha, a day student, Lamar, David and I. Davis’s sister was roommate. They extended our class into seventh grade. We learned so much there including literature, Latin, some German and we also were way ahead when we went to public school…except for Math!


Hi Georgiana, 

Thank you so much for sharing your memories on NCpedia. These stories really add to the history of the Appalachian Industrial School.

Kind regards,

Molly Goldston, NC Government & Heritage Library

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