Old Claremont and Education in Hickory

An 1898 sketch of Claremont College. Image from the State Library.On August 25, 1880, North Carolina granted a charter to Claremont Female College in Hickory. The school, founded by the Evangelical and Reformed Church, started in an old church building. It was modeled after Wellesley College in Massachusetts.

Classes began in September with 21 students. Work was completed on a series of college buildings three years later. Following the resignation of Claremont’s first president, the school suffered financially until the trustees leased the college to William H. Sanborn, president of nearby Davenport College. He resigned after four years.

From 1892 to 1907, the college operated with moderate success, attracting students chiefly from North Carolina, but also from across the South. 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 operated until 1917, when money troubles caused the school to close indefinitely. Representatives from Horner Military School in Charlotte considered buying the property, but the deal fell through.

Claremont’s board of trustees dissolved the charter in 1937.  Higher learning continues at the site, as the location for Catawba Valley High School, now operating as Hickory Career and Arts Magnet.

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