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Kittrell College

Kittrell, North Carolina



HathiTrust has the 1900 catalog and 1918 prospectus for Kittrell College.  It also contains the 1916 and 1920 Kittrell College reports to the Methodist Episcopal Church.  The 1906 edition of The Educator contains a profile of the school. The last four sources all contain illustrations.


Kittrell Normal and Industrial School was founded in 1886 by the North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  The school was incorporated in 1887.  Originally a high school, it was designed to teach poor Black children.  In 1892 the Methodist Episcopal Church enlarged Kittrell's district to include Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.  The 1900 catalog shows a very small school with six students in the collegiate division, 48 in the high school/normal division, and 52 in the English/elementary division. There were 22 additional students in music, seven in night classes, three primary students and one student in dressmaking.  


The Prospectus shows the following departments: primary (grades 1-5), grammar (6-8), academic/normal (9-12) and collegiate (four years).   Special departments included commerce, agriculture, music and domestic service.  By this date Kittrell had also added an industrial program to provide training and jobs for students who needed financial help.  The industrial program had a print shop and a shoe shop.  Enrollment was listed as 395.  


The Prospectus lists student organizations as a Y.M.C.A., Y.W.C.A., and a Young People’s Christian Endeavor Society, There were also four literary societies.



One of the Kittrell College literary societies.  Image from The Educator <;view=2up;seq=42.   Accessed 2-16-2018

The music department was so skilled that a special train car was organized to take the cantata group to Raleigh to perform.


Students were required to attend daily morning devotions and two Sunday services.  Also available were bible study classes and a midweek prayer service.


The Prospectus notes that “occasional socials” were  designed to "encourage true social dignity and refined manners.”  It also notes that “high-class entertainments are given for the instruction and pleasure of students and teachers.”


Always financially strapped, Kittrell College was forced to close in 1931, Reopened in 1934, it operated until 1948.  It finally operated as a high school (1953-65) and as a college (1953-75) before closing for good.

Allen Building. Image from Era of Progress and Promise <> accessed 2-18-2017

Bricks and Mortar

Era of Progress and Promise shows that in 1908 Kittrell had a 62-acre campus with four large buildings, located in the resort area of Kittrell Springs.   The largest of these wood frame structures was Allen Hall, a three story building which served as the women’s dormitory. Measuring 122 feet by 38 feet, it had room for 160 students.  It also contained an assembly hall with seating for 1000 students.


This structure burned in 1909.  Duke-Memorial Hall, its replacement, was funded in part by the Duke family, benefactors of Duke University.   Later three aging Duke University buildings—a library, an auditorium, and a dormitory--were carefully dismantled at Durham and reassembled on the Kittrell campus. All of these had burned by the time the college closed.


After Kittrell College closed, the campus was used as a federal job corp center.


School colors: Gold and Blue

Team name: Bulldogs


Images of both football and baseball teams appear in the Prospectus.  The Winston-Salem Journal notes that the baseball team “won the pennant” in 1925 and “always demands recognition in that realm of clean sports.”


College Football Data Warehouse shows football activity between 1906 and 1963.  For a time Kittrell was a member of the Eastern Intercollegiate Conference with other H.B.C.U. schools—Livingstone, Morristown, Friendship, South Carolina Trades, Vorhees, and Norfolk State. 


According to the New York Times, N.Y.C. playground legend Richard “Pee Wee” Kirkland played one season at Kittrell College, averaging 41 points per game before transferring to Norfolk State and being drafted by the Bulls in 1968.




A Kittrell College baseball team  Image from the 1917-18 prospectus(;view=2up;seq=54)

Note: Images are used in accordance with their “terms of use” as I understand those terms.  Recopying or republishing these images may be restricted or forbidden.

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