Excerpt from Barbara McRae, “The Cowee Mountain School”, Heritage of Macon County, Vol II, p 77. (HMC)
“Though the school seems to have been nobly intended and well managed, it ran into problems. For one thing, it was never sanctioned by the church, to Allen's bitter disappointment. Not only was this a psychological blow, but it also cut the school off from a potential source of funds.
“By 1916, the school house had been remodeled and equipped with science laboratories, complete with microscopes, a telescope, and supplies for experimentation. A wireless outfit was being installed. The business department included modern machinery, such as several different makes of typewriters. Students could take piano lessons for $3 extra per month (for four 45-minute lessons). There was no charge for “choral work and sightsinging.” Those who wished to become medical missionaries could get a start at Cowee by taking a one-year course that included anatomy, physiology, practical nursing, cooking and simple dietetics, hygiene, child care, hydrotherapy and Swedish massage. The course was open to any student who had completed eight years of course work.
“ln 1916, the school had a faculty of 13 persons. Helon B. Allen, president, taught higher mathematics, science, business courses, public speaking, and agriculture. Miss Grace M. Jennings, RN, taught the medical missionary courses. Wina B. Allen taught music, architecture, and landscape gardening. William Tatreau taught Bible, history, painting, and carpentry. Miss Jessie Foote headed the primary and intermediate departments. Miss Ella M. Padgette taught English, history, and grammar department. Raymond H. Gilman was the mechanics and shop instructor. Mrs. Clara C. Tatreau, the matron, taught cooking, baking, and housekeeping. Marshall E. Johnston taught mathematics, hydraulic and electrical engineering, steam fitting, and plumbing. Miss Esther Lausten, the cashier and office manager, taught business courses. Mrs. May B. Haven taught sewing. C. L. Haven taught blacksmithing, carpentry, and plastering. Miss Rhea Foster was the assistant in music, offering instruction in piano and string instruments.
“Except for local students, those who attended the school lived in the dorm. They paid $4 per month for their room. Meals were so much a plate – usually boys paid $8 per month for board, girls about $5 (reflecting the difference in appetite). There was also a piece rate for laundry. Books and supplies averaged $5 per year. Otherwise, tuition was free. Those who could not afford to pay full price for room and board could work to reduce expenses. The children earned 7-15 cents per hour for their labor. In addition, all children were required to work ten hours per week, as specified by the school management; this was part of the coursework, there was no pay for this labor. The philosophy of the school was to learn by doing, hence the emphasis on work.
“Transportation to this remote location was not as difficult as you might think. ‘Students coming by train can come either by Asheville and the Murphy Branch of the Southern Railway to Dillsboro, N.C., or by way of Cornelia, G.A. and the Tallulah Falls Ry. to Franklin, N.C. The President should be notified a few days ahead just what day and train student will arrive. Upon arrival at either Dillsboro or Franklin the student will be met by the School’s five-passenger Regal Touring Car and conveyed to the school.’ The cost was $1.25 from Dillsboro, 75 cents from Franklin, plus a fee for trunks.”
- Barbara McRae, "The Cowee Mountain School", HMC, Vol II, p. 77.