top of page

Dorland Memorial Presbyterian, Hot Springs, NC

Rev. Luke Dorland (1815-1897) was a minister in the Presbyterian Church, but his lasting legacy came as an educator.

After serving a congregation in Toledo, Ohio, Dorland came south and established a girls school in 1867 for former slaves, which started as Scotia Seminary. The hope was to provide a similar experience for those students on par with those at Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts. The mission was to provide an education for black females to become teachers and social workers. Co-ed since 1954, it is known as Barber-Scotia College in Concord, after it merged with Barber Memorial in 1930.

Rev. Dorland was the school's president until 1885, when he retired and moved with his wife, Juliette, to Hot Springs, N.C. in Madison County. With few education options available, the locals encouraged the retired couple to form a school. With no building, the couple first held classes for 25 students in their home in 1886.

With help from the Presbyterian Board of Missions, the first buildings were erected outside of Hot Springs, eventually growing to 6 1/2 acres. Girls only were boarded there with boys being housed in town. The school merged with Bell Institute and went on to move to Asheville and merged with the Asheville Farm School to become Warren Wilson College.

In the years following Rev. Dorland's death, his widow spurred the construction of Dorland Memorial Presbyterian Church, in order to honor the life work of Luke Dorland. The building was designed by Richard Sharp Smith, who also designed the Biltmore Estate, and built at a cost of $4000, paid for by the friends of Dr. Dorland.

The cornerstone at the church was taken from one of the buildings constructed for The Dorland School in 1894.

Cornerstone from Dorland Institute, 1894

1 view0 comments


bottom of page