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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Christ School

by William H. Pruden III, 2006

Christ School, Arden, North Carolina. Image available on the Christ School website. Christ School in Arden was founded in 1900 by the Reverend Thomas Cogdill Wetmore. Established on the site of an old plantation called Struan, Christ School was originally open to boys and girls in the Mountain region and was primarily an industrial school. Students could pay their tuition through work. An industrial curriculum that included carpentry, telegraphy, and bookkeeping complemented the academic courses for the students, many of whom walked as many as ten miles to get to the school.

The school was initially supported by the General Fund of the Episcopal Church Diocese as well as private donations. However, it soon moved beyond its local orientation. Indeed, having limited its enrollment to boys, and finding the area's improved public schools drawing away students who had once opted for Christ School, the institution expanded its accommodations and started to accept students from other states. By 1928, as the public school system in the area became fully established, Christ School switched its focus and became a college preparatory school for boys; staying true to its roots, it remained affiliated with the Episcopal Church. The school is located on a 500-acre campus in the town of Arden, approximately 11 miles south of Asheville. A nonprofit institution, Christ School is governed by a 27-member board of trustees. In a Christian environment reflective of its religious ties and heritage, the school provides a traditional college preparatory curriculum based in an overall program that seeks to develop and educate the whole person. In the early 2000s it enrolled approximately 175 boys in grades 8-12, and the campus featured five new buildings that were added after 1995.


Ina and John J. Van Noppen, Western North Carolina since the Civil War (1973).

Image Credit:

Christ School, Arden, North Carolina. Image available on the Christ School website. Available from (accessed June 5, 2012).

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