Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Golden Industrial Institute -- The South Mountain Institute

Rutherford County historian, Chivous Bradley was the guest speaker at the Golden Valley Community Club Meeting on November 20, 2012.

His topic was the Golden Industrial Institute and The South Mountain Institute. The names are used almost interchangeably, but they were two different operations, although they shared the building and a common past. According to the History of Southmountain Children and Family Services, the Golden Industrial Institute, a boarding school for girls and boys was opened in 1903 and was sold to Miss Ora Hill and Miss Bertha Moore for $500.00 in 1919, but a whole lot of history was lost in that telling....

Chivous Bradley speaks to club members
Chivous tells the story of a female benefactor, who, having inherited some money had decided to build some schools. Enter Miss Emily Pruden, the story goes, that Miss Pruden learning there was a tremendous need for a school in the Golden (the former mining community) and that she set about approaching some local people about the possibility to build a school in the area.

This was met with great enthusiasm by one of the Graysons who offered to donate about 25 acres on which to begin her enterprise. There were already a couple of buildings on the property, of which one had been a "bar" of sorts. (I was told the property had been known as "boot hill" there were so many fights up there and the idea of a school up there greatly appealed to the community). Miss Pruden accepted Mr. Grayson's offer and with a great deal of help from the community a building was begun, however before the building was completed they ran short of funds.

Enter Dr. Richard A. Forrest, who heard about the school and thought it might be a perfect place to open his theological college, after a visit he was certain this would be a good arrangement and started to move in students and faculty. This was no easy task, the nearest train station was at Logan's Store some 17 miles away, and with no paved roads nor vehicles, everything had to be moved by wagon from the station to the building. At one point on what is now the Bostic Sunshine Highway, the wagons had to be unloaded and furniture carried by hand to the top of the hill so the wagons could make it up the steep incline and be reloaded for the trip on to the school.  

Golden Valley club members listen and learn.
This proved to be unsatisfactory, and the Reverend Freeman went off in search of another location for his bible college, finding it at last in Georgia. Right off a railroad spur the Toccoa Falls Institute and Bible College was started. After the war men returned home from Europe and I'm sure you've heard of the Great Flu Pandemic. This hit hard here in Western North Carolina and many of the boarding student were orphaned. The children had no place to go, and so the school became an orphanage, one of the first in the nation. Miss Ora Hull and Miss Bertha Moore (who later married Mack McCurry, earning the name Bertha Mack McCurry) bought the school in 1919 for $500.00, according to the Southmountain Children and Family Services, and opened it's doors to 65 students. In and around 1922 the Shortoff School was completed in nearby Burke County and in 1935 the school moved to Burke County. There were 47 children who moved to the new facility and so, The South Mountain Institute got it's start.

You might like to know both Toccoa Falls Institute and Bible College and the South Mountain Institute survived and are still in operation in 2012, the latter changed it's name to Southmountain Children and Family Services in 2001. It is one of the oldest group homes in continuous operation in the nation. And both had their humble beginnings here in GoldenValley NC. And, in case you didn't know, it was Mrs. Bertha "Mack" McCurry who organized the community and chartered the Golden Valley Community Club in 1952.

We, would like to thank Chivous Bradley for coming out - Chivous - you're the best. And in an editorial comment he shares:  It might be useful to point out that the Shortoff School was built for the Burke County School Board for students in Linville Township but all except the students from Longtown were transferred to Glen Alpine about 1932. So, the Burke School Board leased it to Southmountain, Inc. for 99 years and allowed the orphans to attend school with the Longtown students beginning in 1935.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Golden Valley Community Club Meeting November, 2012

November New Time – New Location
Golden Valley Community Club Meeting on Monday

The GVCC Club will meet on Monday, November 19th at 6:30 pm at the Fellowship Hall of First Broad Church. We’ll be having turkey and all the trimmings – bring your dish and join us for supper. First Broad Church is directly across from the community club, right up the hill.

Chivous Bradley, one of our favorite Rutherford County’s historians will be with us to tell us the story of the Golden Valley Industrial Institute. I’ll bet you’ll be surprised to hear about that. Historically, Golden Valley has been on the cutting edge of history, more times than you’d think. The Industrial Institute was on both sides of HWY 226 about where Fairview Baptist Church is today. The Campbell’s home was part of the property. Come out and enjoy our program. Bring your friends, bring your neighbor, bring food and drink.

I am posting events to our GoldenValleyBlog as people send them to me. We have a permanent link to the blog at We also are running a Facebook Page with 350 followers, so if you have an event that needs to be posted "like" us online and post your event to our page or if you'd rather, just send the information to me, and I’ll post it for you. Events of all kinds: Church Programs, Fundraisers, School Reports, Bible Studies, Special events like Senior Projects, Sunshine Senior Meetings, Fire Department Auxiliary Meetings -- Pictures of your Great Aunt Sally and her mule Wilbur - essentially any item of interest you’d like to share. Link us to your business page – we’re here for the benefit of the community.

Tim Ferris over at The Blue Ridge Distillery (link on the left) would like to invite you to stop in at the distillery on Red Bud Lane off Highway 226. They are open Monday – Friday 9-5 and will come out and meet you if they are in. A few visitors were disappointed when they stopped in and no one was there. Tim and the crew have gone to New York to pump out some of those flooded subway tunnels in lower Manhattan. These men are the crew of Defiant Marine and they work all over the world.

Ronnie Walker, Director at Camp McCall has several items of interest to share; I’ll post them to the blog directly. Hope you are well and that you’re enjoying the beautiful crisp fall weather.

KD McCall, 828 245-9003

Camp McCall Updates