The Patterson School Foundation property is nestled in Happy Valley, a quiet mountain valley near Lenoir NC, 12 miles south of Boone and Blowing Rock. The School rests on the former Palmyra Plantation which belonged to Samuel Legerwood Patterson and Mary Senseman Patterson. They bequeathed their property to the Episcopal Church for the purpose of establishing an agricultural school to develop “the fine minds of the mountain boys”. Nineteen boys enrolled in September, 1909, and subsequent student bodies have risen as high as 150.
The property consists of 1400 acres. It is a special place that dates back thousands of years to the Native American use of the “Nickajack Trail” which extended from the Great Lakes to Florida and ran through Patterson. This early “highway” resulted in numerous Native American sites, “Indian Trees”, mounds and relics, in and around the school property.
The American Colonial Era brought many notable Europeans to Patterson’s Happy Valley. Revolutionary War General William Lenoir, great-grandfather of Mr. Patterson, once owned much of the Yadkin Valley where the property is located. The legacy of the Lenoirs and the Pattersons is woven tightly into the history of North Carolina and our nation. Samuel Patterson himself served North Carolina in many ways, including being a member of the NC Senate, NC House of Representatives, a Trustee of UNC at Chapel Hill, and the state’s first elected Commissioner of Agriculture.
The Patterson School Community is proud of its heritage and continues the commitment to the land and to society, as those before us. It is with this history in mind, that the Patterson School Foundation paves the way for a new millennia, continuing a 100 year legacy dedicated to education and agriculture. Part of this vision includes providing an idyllic location for the Caldwell County School’s STEAM program (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts/Agriculture and Math). This relationship began in 2012, when the first Caldwell County students, in grades K—8 were taught via “hands on” experiences in a natural environment. Now the program is offered to students in grades K–12.