(by: Julia Titus Principal, Allen H.S., 1938-1967, Written 1962)


At sometime prior to 1887, Mr. & Mrs. Pease came to the Western North Carolina  mountains for the their retirement. After many years of service to underprivileged people in New York City, the lack of educational facilities for Negroes became a burden on the hearts of these people and with God's help, they decided to do something about it; so, a school was built a s private enterprise with Mr. & Mrs. Pease paying all the expenses. The property consisted of a long-low building which was formerly a livery stable and little cottage nearby to be used as teachers' home. Due to failing health, the Peases were unable to continue with their plans so they gave the property to the Woman's Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

    On October 31, 1887, the school was opened with The Reverend N. S. Albright and Alsie B. Dole as teachers. The first morning, the enrollment was 3. By the end of the month, it had climbed to 103. In the first grade there were three generations of one family, two preachers and over 20 married men and women. They brought what books they had, mostly Bibles and blue back spellers, for they were very anxious to read, especially their Bibles. By the close of his first year, over 200 had been enrolled. The older people attended the school at night and the children attended during the day. As the school grew, the need for additional buildings became a real problem. The women of the Woman's Home Missionary Society conceived the idea of a home where girls could learn to be good homemakers and so improve conditions in in their own homes. Mrs. Marriage Allen of England, the wife of a Quaker Philanthropist, was touring the South and visited the school. She was so impressed by the work being done that she offered to give $1,000 if the Society would build the home at once. It was done, and on February9, 1897, Allen Home was dedicated. In 1905 another tourist gave $2,000 for a school building to replace the livery stable. It included a chapel which, for 18 years, served as the Methodist Church in this community (now Berry Temple Church). In 1924 another section was added to the building through giving of Mr. & Mrs. F.A. Arter of Cleveland, Ohio. Those buildings served the Allen High School student body until 1953 when the present dormitory opened and in 1956 when the present school building was ready for classes. The old buildings stood in the area which is now the parking lot.

    In 1941, Allen Home became a project of the Woman's Division of Christian Service and in June 1945, the name was officially changed to Allen High School. 1n 1924, Allen became a four-year high school with accreditation from the state of North Carolina and in 1940, received accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Through the years has served to meet the needs of education in Western North Carolina. As the communities provided better elementary schools, the grades were eliminated; so that, at the present time, we have 8th grade through the senior year in high school. This year will terminate the 8th grade class. Therefore, in September, 1963, we will have just four years of high school. At one time, Allen offered a course in Beauty Culture. During another period an additional year of work was offered so that the graduates of that course could qualify as teachers--Teacher Training Course. During another period of time when the state of North Carolina was raising its requirement for teachers' certificates, extension courses were taught on campus.

    In a world of changing needs and of new challenges to education, Allen is looking forward to greater opportunities for service in the years ahead.

Miss Alsie B. Dole             1887-1920
Mrs. Edith Mitchell            1920-1921
Miss Louisa A. Bell            1921-1937
Miss Clara Sykes               1937-1938
Miss Carmen Lowry          1938-1941
Miss Julia Titus                 1941-1945
Mrs. Claire Lennon           1945-1957
Miss Ruth Walther            1957-1974  

Miss Alsie B. Dole          1887-1920
Mrs. Edith Mitchell         1920-1921
Miss Louisa A. Bell         1921-1924
Miss Veda Stryker           1924-1930
Miss Carmen Lowry        1930-1938
Miss Julia Titus               1938-1967
Miss Ruth Walther           1967-1974

Notes from Allen's Past

    In 1899 Allen graduated it's first class. One of the four members, Miss Isabelle Jones, taught at Allen for 43 years. For many years under the direction of Miss Jones, a Spiritual Festival was held each April. Hundreds of elementary and high school students from miles around Asheville arrived in busses on a Sunday afternoon for the program which was held in Hopkins Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church. The afternoon was spent in singing for the joy of singing--not in competition.

    The thirties were the days of the depression and prohibition. Both influenced the lives of the Allen girls. Over half the dormitory girls stayed on campus during Christmas vacations because they were unable to afford the trip home. Teachers were requested to stay, but they, too, were unable to afford the trip on their $30.00 cash salary per month. The cost per month for boarding students was $13.50 which included room, board and tuition. Each year the girls submitted essays on prohibition to the Board of Temperance, Prohibition and Public Morals of the Methodist Episcopal Church and were frequent winner of the $5.00 prize given by the local W.C.T.U. .

    Until the latter part of the 1930's the girls at Allen had a uniform for church and street wear. It changed from time to time as styles changed. In 1936, it consisted of a dark blue jumper, a pongee blouse and plain black coat. Uniform hats were purchased at the school.

    Commencement exercises are always important occasions for both the graduate and her parents. From the early years of Allen until the thirties, each graduate was required to make her own dress. For many years a traditional part of the commencement program was the unison recitation  of a Scriptural passage by the entire student body. According to the records, the school, through May 1962, has 861 graduates.

    In the spring of 1957 Judy Genier, an Allen 9th grader, received a letter of commendation from Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower for being the first white student enrolled at Allen High School. Judy, whose home was in New York State, attended Allen during the 8th, 9th and 10th grades.