North Carolina College
Mount Pleasant, North Carolina
HathiTrust has most catalogs for both North Carolina College and Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute. The Concord Daily Tribune was among the newspapers that reported on school events. The National Register application by Davyd Foard Hood and Jerry Cross is also online. The Eastern Cabarrus County Historical Society provided information about the school. Promises Unfulfilled, a history of the school by Ben Callahan is available on Amazon.
Western Carolina Male Academy was founded by the North Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in 1852 to train ministers. The school was supported by an endowment of $20,827. By1858 the Academy had been re-chartered as North Carolina College with power to grant baccalaureate degrees. The 1860 catalog shows an enrollment of 62—52 of whom were sub-collegiate. With the outbreak of the Civil War, the college closed as many students went as soldiers. Though classes resumed in 1867, the college had lost its endowment through investment in Confederate bonds. The 1900 catalog shows 102 students—only 30 of whom were doing college-level work. Coursework emphasized ancient and modern languages; mathematics; and natural, moral and intellectual sciences. By 1900 the curriculum included business and agricultural courses.
All students above the age of 14 were required to be members of one of the two literary societies—Philalaethian and Pi-Sigma-Phi. Each society had its own hall and library, and each provided opportunities for members to develop and display composition and declamation skills. All students were required to attend daily and Sunday religious services.
After North Carolina College closed in 1902, Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute was established on the campus in 1903. Called a “high-grade secondary school,” its graduates were nevertheless admitted to major colleges at the junior level, so it was a de facto junior college, and later advertised itself as such. In 1909 the school added a military component.
The two literary societies associated with North Carolina College changed names to Gerhardt and Ludwig. The school’s relationship with neighboring Mont Amoena Female Seminary became such that the students combined for an annual drama.
Low Enrollment and financial problems closed the Institute in 1933.
North Carolina College students in the dining hall. Image from the 1900 catalog.
Bricks and Mortar
Main Building, “set on the crest of the hilltop campus,” was surrounded by a grove of trees. The 75’ x 40’ three-story brick structure was completed in 1855. Serving all school functions, it contained a chapel, recitation rooms, three library rooms, two society halls, and dormitory rooms for fifty students and supervising faculty. In 1860 two separate two-story society halls were added, each containing more library space and recitation rooms. A boarding house came in 1868 and a new dormitory in 1925.
In 1941 the buildings were put up for auction, passing into private hands. Main Building was deeded to the Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society and remodeled as a museum.
In 1979 six campus buildings—including Main Building—were placed on the National Register as the Mount Pleasant Collegiate Historic District.
School colors: Powder Blue and White
Team name: Newspapers referred to teams as Cadets. After 1931 teams were call Falcons.
In 1907 a baseball team representing Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute began playing games against local colleges, prep schools, and town teams. Baseball became the school’s signature sport, being played annually until the M.P.C.I. closed. Despite the absence of a gymnasium, the Cadets also played basketball from 1916.
In 1911 M.P.C.I. began to play football with games against Baird School for Boys and Lenoir College—both losses. In 1912 the Cadets attempted a more ambitious schedule with games against Bingham Military School, Davidson, Catawba and Asheville School—the latter a 100-0 loss. In 1923 football returned. In addition to prep games, Mount Pleasant played a junior college schedule against Weaver, Wingate, Rutherford, Presbyterian, High Point, Carlisle, and Lees-Mcrae. In order to make the Cadets competitive, the school hired University of North Carolina halfback Jim Magner as coach. He began to recruit players from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, a practice the Charlotte Observer termed “this new order of things.” The 1932 team--the school’s last-- was undefeated until the final game.
Main Building today. Image by Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Pleasant_Collegiate_Institute_Historic_District#/media/File:MOUNT_PLEASANT_COLLEGIATE_INSTITUTE_HISTORIC_DISTRICT,_CABARRUS_COUNTY.jpg
The first baseball team from Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute. Image from the 1907 catalog.