Mars Hill, North Carolina Historic Markers
The town of Mars Hill has several Historical Markers that celebrate the musical heritage and history of Mars Hill University (previously Mars Hill College). Conveniently located on the campus of Mars Hill University and near the Post Office, tourists will find these markers easy to locate and fascinating. Finding these Historical Markers and admiring their importance is a great way to explore the town of Mars Hill and the rich heritage that is cherished still today.
Bascom Lamar Lunsford
Inscription. “Minstrel of Appalachia.” Folklorist, collector,& performer. Pioneered and promoted American folk festivals. Was born here.
Erected 1999 by Division of Archives and History. (Marker Number P – 80.)
Location. 35° 49.586′ N, 82° 32.945′ W. Marker is in Mars Hill, North Carolina, in Madison County. Marker is on Cascade St. Marker is in this post office area: Mars Hill NC 28754, United States of America.
Mars Hill College
Inscription. Baptist; coeducational. Founded 1856 as French Broad Baptist Institute. Name Changed 1859, Senior college since 1962.
Erected 1986 by Division Of Archives and History. (Marker Number P – 34.)
Location. 35° 49.579′ N, 82° 33.033′ W. Marker is in Mars Hill, North Carolina, in Madison County. Marker is on Cascade St. Marker is in this post office area: Mars Hill NC 28754, United States of America.
Mars Hill College
Inscription. Baptist farm families here established Mars Hills College in 1856. The four-acre college campus had three structures by 1861: a two-story brick classroom building, a frame dormitory for boys, and a frame teachers’ residence. They stood about 75 yards in front of you.
During the war, neighbors, families and even brothers here were divided in their loyalties to the Southern cause, but many joined the Confederate army during the first two years. Mars Hill was a strategic location, a crossroads for north-south and east-west travel. A hundred-man detachment from the 64th North Carolina Infantry – called “Keith’s Detail” – was posted here, the first of several Confederate units at Mars Hill during the war. The college was closed during the last two years of the conflict as conditions in mountain communities deteriorated and supported for the Confederacy waned.
Home Guard commander Gen. John W. McElroy had his headquarters here after July 1863. He wrote to North Carolina Governor Zebulon B. Vance in April 1864, “I have 100 men at this place to guard against [Union Col. George W.] Kirk, of Laurel, and cannot reduce the force….In fact, By Stanley and Terrie Howard, September 26, 20092. Col. George W. Kirkit seems to me that there is a determination of the people in this country generally to do no more service in the cause.”
Confederate troops left Mars Hill to forage in March 1865, just before Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender in Virginia, Kirk led his 3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry (U.S.) into the village and burned the college dormitory and teachers’ residence. Mars Hill College survived the war’s depredations, but it took forty years to replace what had been destroyed
Erected by North Carolina Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the North Carolina Civil War Trails series list.
Location. 35° 49.623′ N, 82° 32.968′ W. Marker is in Mars Hill, North Carolina, in Madison County. Marker is at or near this postal address: 205 Cascade St, Mars Hill NC 28754, United States of America.