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Home North Carolina Catawba County City of Hickory Historical Markers Claremont College

Claremont College

Second Street, Hickory, NC, USA
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"Founded in 1880 by the Evangelical & Reformed Church as a school for women. Closed in 1916. Stood 300 yards east."
      On April 24, 1880, at a meeting of the Consistory of the Corinth Evangelical and Reformed Church, Abel A. Shuford made the motion to convert an old church building into a female school. That July, the Consistory met with Albert S. Vaughn, the president of Catawba College who helped organize the school and attract several female teachers. Vaughn suggested the academy be patterned after Wellesley College in Massachusetts.

      The State of North Carolina chartered Claremont Female College on August 25, 1880. Classes began that fall, and work was completed on a series of college buildings by the fall of 1883. In 1884, Vaughn resigned, and the school suffered financially for four years until the trustees leased the college to William H. Sanborn, president of Davenport College. Sanborn resigned four years later.

      From 1892 to 1907, Claremont Female College continued to operate with moderate success, attracting students from across the southeast. The trustees, tired of leasing the college to individual presidents, offered the college to the North Carolina Classis of the Reformed Church. Under the Classis, the school was renamed Claremont College.

      Claremont College operated until the fall of 1917, when financial difficulties led the Classis to close the school indefinitely. The trustees simply felt that they could not operate both Claremont and Catawba Colleges. In March 1918, representatives from Horner Military School in Charlotte considered buying the property to start an academy called Hickory Military School, but the deal fell through.

      The City of Hickory took charge of the collapsing school in 1924. In 1937, Claremont’s trustees officially dissolved the school charter and incorporation. Today, Catawba Valley High School sits on the former site of Claremont College.

William S. Powell, ed., Encyclopedia of North Carolina (2006)—essay by Wiley J. Williams
William S. Powell, Higher Education in North Carolina (1968)
James B. Harris, “A History of Claremont College” (masters thesis, Appalachian State University, 1956)