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Sylva Collegiate Institute

Established a decade after Cullowhee High School, the Sylva Collegiate Institute (SCI) was a private school supported by the Tuckaseegee Baptist Association. Located in Sylva, North Carolina, on what became known as “College Hill,” SCI operated from 1900 – 1932.

Part of SCI’s mission was to provide an education that would prepare students for college, “or for the active duties of an ordinary business life.” However, the school’s 1921 catalog also acknowledged that not all of its students would attend college and, therefore, the school enrolled students at all grade levels.

As a boarding school, SCI provided lodging to its students. The Brown Home for Boys, named for Dr. A.E. Brown, was a two-story brick-veneered building of twenty-two rooms that could accommodate forty boys. Similarly, the Cowan Building for Girls, named for Coleman C. Cowan, was a two-story brick-veneered building with thirty-two rooms to house sixty girls.

SCI closed in 1932 due to the financial constraints brought on by the Great Depression as well as improvements in the county school system, which reduced the needs for its services.

These pictures are from the Catalogue of Sylva Collegiate Institute for the Scholastic Year 1921-1922 (Post Office, Sylva, Jackson County, N.C., Depot and Express Office, Sylva, N.C.)

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Boys' Home, Sylva Collegiate Institute, Jackson County, North Carolina.

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"Tennis Club" Sylva Collegiate Institute, Jackson County, North Carolina.

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"Primary Care" and "Basket Ball Team" Sylva Collegiate Institute, Jackson County, North Carolina.

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"Base Ball Team" and "Basket Ball Team," Sylva Collegiate
Institute, Jackson County, North Carolina.

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Faculty of the Sylva Collegiate Institute, Jackson County, North Carolina.

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Trustees of the Sylva Collegiate Institute, Jackson County, North Carolina.

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Send comments or questions to:
George Frizzell
Hunter Library Special Collections
Western Carolina University
176 Central Drive
Cullowhee, NC 28723
828-227-7474