Clad in work clothes, an army of volunteers came with their rakes, shovels, chain saws, and heavy equipment to Historic Bain Academy last weekend for clean-up day. Within three hours the overgrown bushes were trimmed and the creeping vines removed from the old auditorium building, revealing a brick structure that will become a cultural and civic meeting place for Mint Hill if the Public Facility Bond passes on Nov. 6.
Creative NatureScapes, Inc. partners Billy Hawkins and Mark Watson brought chainsaws, a bobcat, and a cherry-picker — which made the clean-up go faster! Connor Fohr, a junior at Independence High School who held the first fundraiser for the old school when he was a student there, as well as his mother Denise and brother Kyle, also rolled up their sleeves. Jason and Jessi Healey, who discovered Mint Hill a few years ago, were there, as well as Earle Rogers, a new resident who moved to area recently. Bain alums Gail Honeycutt, Jerry Mullis, Marti Wyatt, and Lynnette Pritchard joined the volunteer workforce, as did Tom Duke, who is in charge of yard signs and banners for the bond campaign.
Led by the late Tina Ross, the Historic Bain Restoration Committee has worked tirelessly over the past five years to save the building. It continues to operate under the umbrella of the Arts & Science Council. Committee members include Carol Timblin (acting chair), June Hood, Dale Dalton, Dana Finley, Denise Fohr, Gail Honeycutt, Jerry Mullis, Lynnette Pritchard, Marti Wyatt, Dave Martinson, Billy Hawkins, Tom Duke, Jason and Jessi Healey.
In continuous use since its founding by John Bain in 1889, the school has served thousands of Mint Hill area students. Upon his death, Bain willed the school and a small endowment to Philadelphia Presbyterian Church, located across the street. Bain Academy was the first graded school in Mecklenburg County and one of only two schools in the county that prepared students for college. In 1923, the church deeded the school to the county and a year later an auditorium building was added. The structure was designed by noted architect Louis Asbury, the first North Carolinian to be elected to the American Institute of Architects and the only AIA member in the state for many years.
For more information on the Public Facility Bond, check out www.savebain.com and www.minthill.com.