Mint Hill's early settlers believed in education. In 1812, Philadelphia Presbyterian Church partnered with Rocky River Presbyterian Church to establish Rocky River Academy, a college preparatory school, which produced 25 ministers, including the first president of Davidson College, during its 12-year history.
John Bain also realized the importance of education. He was granted permission by Philadelphia Church to build an academy, which opened to students in 1889 and held its first commencement on May 22, 1890. The school's well-rounded curriculum included physics, rhetoric, oratory, music, and Latin, and all its teachers were college-educated. It was the first graded school in Mecklenburg County. After Bain's death on March 26, 1897, at the age of 88, the Bain Trust was established and continued to provide for the school through 1935. A grand total of $16,240 was spent on Bain Academy (1889-1935).
After the church turned the school over to Mecklenburg County around 1922, Charlotte architect Louis Asbury, the first North Carolinian to be admitted to the American Institute of Architects, was hired to redesign the school. The result was a handsome two-story brick building with a belfry.
Bain Academy was one of only two high schools in the county that prepared students for college and for life. Its graduates became doctors, lawyers, city officials, preachers, merchants, teachers, stenographers, bookkeepers, tradesmen, craftsmen, farmers, and homemakers.
Bain graduates returned to the school for reunions year after year and politicians often garnered support at these gatherings. In the late 1930s, North Carolina Governer Clyde Hoey was the keynote speaker at a Bain reunion.
A grassroots effort, headed by Commissioner Tina Ross, is underway to renovate the school and repurpose it for possible use as a community center - a place where the citizens of Mint Hill might enjoy plays, concerts, art shows, and educational classes and activities. Please consider giving a tax-deductible contribution of any amount to:
Mint Hill Historical Society Bain Restoration
c/o Yadkin Bank
P.O. Box 691193
Mint Hill, NC 28227
Listen my neighbors and you shall hear
Of the twilight gift of one so dear,
Of a founder, John Bain, at eighty years old
Whose story of vision deserves to be told
Whose generous spirit we all should revere.
At Mecklenburg's founding the Bain clan was there,
With Polks, Alexanders, and others to share
In the hard work of building a new way of life,
Removed from an Old World of poverty and strife,
To follow their conscience, to speak their own prayer.
Thus John Bain was born there in 1808
As the family was farming Mint Hill by that date.
So soon made an orphan, John's childhood was tough,
The fields were his classroom, his hands worn and rough,
Who knew he would make education his fate?
At eighty, John Bain was the last of his clan,
His family wealth must be put to some plan,
John recalled the achievements of schools from the past -
Rocky River Academy, others - at last
A great purpose was found by this kindly old man.
With money and labor John Bain lit the spark,
Then neighbors from Mint Hill and Clear Creek did embark
On a thrilling adventure, the school built in time
So '89-90 could be so sublime,
The year Bain Academy first made its mark.
Mecklenburg's first graded school lived through much,
Surviving depressions and fires and such.
From church school to public, a complex was born,
It served the community's needs, night and morn,
Assisted, well into the '30s, by Bain Trust.
Today, with a new building housing Bain School,
it's our time to honor, restore, and retool
The gift that John Bain gave in his twilight years,
A place full of memories, of laughter and tears,
Let's save Bain Academy - our symbol, our jewel.
The Mint Hill Magazine has published an article detailing our efforts to preserve our beloved Bain Academy.
Click to Read