are social reform
institutions established in rural Appalachia
in the early 20th century with the purpose of educating mountain children and improving their isolated rural communities. Settlement schools have played an important role in preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of southern and central Appalachia. Scholar David Whisant has argued that settlement schools created a version of "traditional" Appalachian culture that appealed to outsiders but had little basis in the values of Appalachian people themselves.
The Appalachian settlement schools were inspired by the settlement movement that started in London in the late 19th century and was represented in the United States by urban settlement houses, including Hull House in Chicago and the Henry Street Settlement in New York City.
Hindman Settlement School, in Hindman, Kentucky, was the first rural social settlement school in the United States, established in 1902 by May Stone and Katherine Pettit at the forks of Troublesome Creek in Knott County, Kentucky.
Pine Mountain Settlement School, in Pine Mountain, Kentucky, was founded by William Creech, Sr., in 1913. Creech, a local resident, donated land for the school and recruited Katherine Pettit and Ethel DeLong to establish and run the institution.
Settlement schools typically had large campuses, including dormitories for boarding students. They functioned not only as schools, but also as community centers.
With the establishment of public schools in the region in the 1920s and 1930s, settlement schools relinquished their role in the general education of children. Pine Mountain was a boarding school for elementary and middle school-age children until about 1930, when it became a residential high school after public elementary schools were established in the region. Some settlement schools closed, but others assumed new functions over time. Hindman Settlement School offers adult education, including GED test preparation, and operates a tutorial program for people with dyslexia. Since the early 1970s Pine Mountain Settlement School has specialized in environmental education; it also has operated an elderhostel program.
List of Appalachian settlement schools
The following are examples of settlement schools and other institutions (most no longer in operation) that were first founded as settlement schools:
- Alice Lloyd College, Pippa Passes, Kentucky
- Annville Institute, Annville, Kentucky
- Bethel Mennonite Center, Rowdy, Kentucky
- Buckhorn Children’s Center, Buckhorn, Kentucky
- John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, North Carolina
- Frontier Nursing Service, Hyden, Kentucky
- Hazel Green Academy, Hazel Green, Kentucky
- Henderson Settlement School, Frakes, Kentucky
- Hindman Settlement School, Hindman, Kentucky
- Hinton Rural Life Center, Hayesville, North Carolina
- Jackson Area Ministries Resource and Training Center, Jackson, Ohio
- Kingdom Come Settlement School, Line Fork, Kentucky
- Lotts Creek Community School, Cordia, Kentucky
- Oneida Baptist Institute, Oneida, Kentucky
- Pi Beta Phi Settlement School (now Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts), Gatlinburg, Tennessee
- Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, Kentucky
- Pittman Community Center, Pittman Center, Tennessee
- Red Bird Mission, Beverly, Kentucky
- Riverside Christian Training School, Lost Creek, Kentucky
- Stuart Robinson School, Letcher, Kentucky
- Sunset Gap Community Center, Newport, Tennessee
David Whisnant. 'All That Is Native and Fine': Politics of Culture in an American Region
Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995.