Cane Hill College

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Canehill College Building
Cane Hill College Building.jpg
Cane Hill College Building
Location McClellan and College St., Canehill, Arkansas
Coordinates 35°54′39″N 94°23′51″W / 35.910833°N 94.3975°W / 35.910833; -94.3975Coordinates: 35°54′39″N 94°23′51″W / 35.910833°N 94.3975°W / 35.910833; -94.3975
Area 2.8 acres (1.1 ha)
Built 1887 (1887)
Architectural style Italianate
Governing body Private
MPS Canehill MRA
NRHP Reference # 82000942[1]
Added to NRHP November 17, 1982

Cane Hill College, originally Cane Hill School, was the first institution of higher learning in Arkansas. It operated in Canehill, Arkansas from 1834 until 1891.


Cane Hill School (1834-1858)[edit]

The Arkansas territory was growing quickly, and the area needed a college. Cumberland Presbyterians met on October 28, 1834, and they decided to found a school in Canehill. Opened April 1835, the Cane Hill School served the Northwest Arkansas area until it was chartered and renamed Cane Hill Collegiate Institute.

Trying to become the third four-year institution in the state (after St. John's and Arkansas College), Cane Hill College became official on December 15, 1852 when an act passed through the Arkansas Legislature.[2] During this time, F. R. Earle took over the school until its demise in 1891.[3]

Cane Hill College (1858-1891)[edit]

The American Civil War closed the school in 1861. After a Union November, 1862 victory at the Battle of Cane Hill, the Union occupied the town, and in 1864 burned three of the four on-campus buildings. Only a dormitory survived.[4] Upon resumption of classes, Cane Hill College admitted its first woman in 1875, and created a Female Department. The Female Department was assimilated by the rest of the college by 1877, and the college became coeducational.

Disaster struck the evening of October 10, 1885, when the entire college was burnt to the ground. Arson was suspected, but never proven. Further crippling to the College was the chartering of the new state college, Arkansas Industrial University in Fayetteville. Cane Hill College closed its doors forever in 1891.


Cane Hill College's bell tower.

Canehill, Arkansas is now an unincorporated community in Northwest Arkansas. Only one building remains of Cane Hill College, the rebuilt school following the 1885 fire. After closing, the building was used by the Salem Congregation of the Cumerland Presbyterian Church for worship, then as a public school from 1919 to 1956.[5] It is listed as Cane Hill College Building on the National Register of Historic Places. The Bell House is also still located on the old campus grounds. The Presbyterians would convert Cane Hill College into Arkansas Cumberland College and later University of the Ozarks, but college education would not return to Cane Hill.


See also[edit]

  • Earle House, housed the president of Cane Hill College


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  2. ^ "1834 - 1858: Cane Hill School." University of the Ozarks. History of Cane Hill School. Retrieved on June 23, 2010.
  3. ^ Publications, Volume 1. Arkansas Historical Association. Page 162.
  4. ^ "1858-1891: Cane Hill College." University of the Ozarks. History of Cane Hill College. Retrieved on June 23, 2010.
  5. ^ Ellis, David B., The Presbyterians of Cane Hill, Arkansas, 1991.
  6. ^ "Arkansas Governor John Sebastian Little". National Governors Association. Retrieved August 17, 2012.