The first ever Bain Daze was held at Mint Hill Park on Fairview on Saturday, September 21, and young and old came out to support fund raising efforts to save the historic school building from the wrecking ball.
The school, which dates to 1889 when it was known as Bain Academy, was the first graded school and college preparatory school in Mecklenburg County.
Around 1922 the school was turned over to Mecklenburg County and it was redesigned into a two-story brick structure with a belfry. For many years its graduates would meet at the school for reunions and gatherings.
Out of Bain Academy came many future doctors, lawyers, educators, homemakers, and farmers; many of whom stayed in the area and helped shape the future of Mint Hill.
The building continued to be used by what is now Bain Elementary School until it was condemned because of structural problems. According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials, the site was condemned about eight years ago.
Ironically, the Bain Elementary School built in the 1950’s has already been demolished and a brand new Bain Elementary School, which will have its official ribbon cutting ceremony on September 26, opened this year, but supporters say the original school just cannot disappear.
“My grandmother taught at Bain, my dad went there, I went there and all my kids went there, too,” says John Black, lifetime Mint Hill resident. Black manned the Mint Hill Historical Society booth. He was on hand to explain the historical documents and pictures about Bain Academy that were on display during the festival.
The historical significance of the school is obvious, but the emotional ties to what Bain Academy represents is what is driving the efforts.
The Bain Restoration Committee, working under the umbrella of the Mint Hill Historical Society, is working tirelessly to raise money for a feasibility study. Members include chairwoman and Mint Hill Town Commissioner Tina Ross, Gail Honeycutt, Dana Finley, Denise Fohr, June Hood, Lynnette Pritchard, Denny Allen, and Kay Simpkins. Carol Timlin, also on the committee, is in charge of publicity.
“Once that study is completed, we’ll have a better idea of how much the restoration will cost and the real possibilities for the building,” says Timlin. “Our dream is to make it a community center for plays, concerts, art exhibits, seminars, workshops, and educational classes.”
Timlin indicates the need for more fundraisers, which will go into the planning stage once the committee has a better idea what is needed to bring the school back to its former glory.
The committee has already been told by engineers that it will require anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 just to stabilize the building.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools still owns the property and has given the town some time to decide what can be done to save it.
If you were unable to attend the event, but would like to help, 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.