Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society and Museum
The handsome three-story Main Building of what was the once Western Carolina Male Academy established in 1852, is now the Eastern Cabarrus Historic Museum and provides a glimpse of mid-1800 to early-1900 rural Cabarrus County life.
Backstory and Context
The Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society was formed in 1973 by citizens residing in and around Mt. Pleasant. ECHS purchased the old North Carolina College/Mt. Pleasant Collegiate Institute building and began its renovation to be used as a local museum. The Museum was opened to the public in 1980. In 2013, the Society opened the second building on the site known as "Society Hall. " This building contains our office, the library, a kitchen, a small meeting room, and a large lecture hall.
The Museum building contains 30 rooms holding artifacts, photographs and documents relating to the history of Eastern Cabarrus County and beyond. Each room is themed and contains items donated or loaned to the Society by local individuals and families ranging from old farm tools and vintage clothing to items from the Civil War through the Iraq War.
The museum building itself was constructed between 1853 and 1855 as a NC Lutheran Synod sponsored school for young men. The school, first called the Western Carolina Male Academy, opened in 1855. In 1859 the WCMA was re-chartered as North Carolina College and was authorized to grant advanced degrees. The school was suspended from 1861 through 1865 due to the Civil War, but re-opened in 1866 and continued in operation until 1902 (the last graduating class was in May 1901). After a very short stint as the Carolina English & Classical School, a new men's preparatory school was opened in 1903 as the Mt. Pleasant Collegiate Institute. MPCI operated until 1933. For the next 40 years the building was used as apartments and a storage building. The structure was abandoned in the 1950s and in danger of demolition when the ECHS purchased and renovated it. Today the Museum building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is open to the public on Sundays and Mondays from March 1 - October 31 and again for a Christmas Open House in early December.