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Home North Carolina Burke County City of Rutherford College Historical Markers Rutherford College

Rutherford College

Malcolm Boulevard, Rutherford College, NC, USA

Latitude & Longitude: 35° 45' 5.7276", -81° 31' 31.4076"
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"Evolved from private school opened c. 1853 by R. L. Abernethy. Operated 1900-1933 by Methodist Church. Closed 1935. The original site 1.3 mi. N."
     Robert L. Abernathy founded a coeducational private school, Owl Hollow Schoolhouse, in Burke County in 1853. Reverend Abernathy established the tradition that “None Shall Ever Be Turned Away for Want of Means.” As many as 4,000 students attended the college under Abernathy’s presidency and 1,500 of those did not have to pay tuition. John Rutherford provided the 600 acres of land on which the school was built. His name was given to the school in 1858, when it was chartered as Rutherford Academy. In 1861, the year it was given the power to grant degrees, the school was renamed Rutherford Seminary and in 1870 the institution became Rutherford College. The site of the school was incorporated as the village of Excelsior in 1872, but in 1881 the village became the town of Rutherford College.

     In 1900, the Western North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South acquired the college. In 1932, Rutherford College merged with Weaver College. The combined school moved to Brevard and was renamed Brevard College. With the school gone, the town of Rutherford College’s charter was repealed in 1933. However, in June 1977, the town of Rutherford College was re-incorporated.

Edward William Phifer Jr., Burke: The History of a North Carolina County, 1777-1920, with a Glimpse Beyond (1982)
William S. Powell, Higher Education in North Carolina (1964)
William S. Powell, North Carolina Gazetteer (1968)
Rutherford College North Carolina