New Farm Manager: Ian Driscoll

Ian Driscoll, Patterson School Farm Manager

The Patterson School Foundation has chosen a new fulltime Farm Manager to manage the 1400 acre property and to assist with a new Incubator Farmer Program which will begin this spring.

Ian Driscoll is a 2014 graduate of Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC with a major in History and Political Science. He lives and farms in Happy Valley, just three miles from the historic Patterson School campus, and is experienced in many of the necessary aspects of farming – compost production, planting / tending / harvesting crops, greenhouse building, fencing, animal husbandry, swine and poultry production, grazing systems, mowing and operation of farm implements, haymaking, water drainage systems, lumber grading and general farm maintenance.

Explaining why he came to North Carolina from his home in Chicago, Ian said “I moved to North Carolina because I had received a flier from Warren Wilson College and was interested in the area. Although I grew up in Chicago, I did not like the city and was eager to leave. It didn’t take much for me to want to move here after visiting.”

“I had ties to farming growing up through friends and family members; my parents owned an 80 acre farm at one time that we lived on part time. I like to work and provide for myself; farming is hard work and you see your reward with what you grow and eat.”

“Reviving the farm at Patterson School will be good for the community. Working there will be a good opportunity for new and old generations to get involved with the community and learn about farming. I hope that within the first year at Patterson we can develop a successful Incubator Farm Program, and other than that, I would like to hold workshops at Patterson that get the community, especially school children, involved in farming.”

The Incubator Farm Program will invite new and experienced organic farmers to lease up to half an acre to farm at Patterson, with the availability of farm equipment and mentorship, and with access to farm-related workshops through the farming season. Ian can be contacted for more information about the Incubator Farm Program and about raised bed gardening opportunities for children on campus during the growing season at .

Palmyra Hall Veranda is Being Rebuilt

Palmyra Hall (1927) Veranda Under Construction

We have known for some time now that the veranda needed repairs, but once we started, we soon realized it practically needed to be rebuilt. The 6x6in inner column supports have now been replaced with treated wood. The columns will be rebuilt around the supports. The ceiling rafters, etc. will be replaced as needed, and a new roof and flashing will be applied. The gutters will either be replaced or repaired and stabilized. In addition to the Veranda, we have contracted for a new roof for the rest of Palmyra.

We look forward to having this finished before our Alumni Reunion in September. Donations for this unexpected expense are welcome; please remember that Patterson School Foundation is a non-profit organization, so all gifts are fully tax-deductible. Thank you!

High Country Farm Tour, June 17th 2017

View of the barns seen from campus

The Patterson School Foundation will participate in the High Country Farm Tour for the third time this year, sponsored by Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA).  This is the 10th year of the tour, which coincides with BRWIA’s mission  of … “supporting women and their families with resources, education and skills related to sustainable food and agriculture.”

The Farm Tour at Patterson will take place on campus Saturday afternoon, June 17, 2017 from 2 to 6 pm, RAIN or SHINE, and volunteers will be on hand to show visitors around the farm and historic buildings.

The Farm Tour is fun for the whole family, and will include six family farms in addition to the Patterson School Farm – a chance to visit a variety of Caldwell County farms on one Saturday afternoon, while these farms hold “Open House.” This year, the tour will also include Bee Kind Family Farm and Crow Hollow Family Farm in Collettsville, The Thankful Fork Farm and Thankful Goat Farm in Lenoir, and the Snyder Family Farm and the Johnny Wilson Farm in Granite Falls.

Tickets for the Farm Tour can be purchased IN ADVANCE online at, or in person at the Downtown Lenoir Farmer’s Market at 904 West Avenue in Lenoir on Wednesdays – Fridays from 10am to 6pm, and on Saturdays from 10am to 4pm. Ticket price is $20 / carload for admission to all Caldwell County farms.

Tickets purchased on the day of the tour can be bought at the first farm visited, and are $25 / carload for admission to all Caldwell farms.

For more information about the High Country Farm Tour, visit

Patterson School Foundation 2016 Year’s End Newsletter

Rev. Hugh A. Dobbin, Headmaster, 1913 – 1936

Rev. Hugh A. Dobbin, Headmaster, 1913 – 1936

Having been invited to write the 2016 end-of-year newsletter for Patterson School Foundation, I will begin by introducing myself. I am the most recent member elected to the PSF Board of Trustees, joining eleven others, including my son Jesse Plaster, architect, who serves as Facilities Director for the campus. My great-grandfather Hugh A. Dobbin was Patterson School’s second Headmaster, from 1913 to 1936, and Cap Wiese was a good friend and hunting companion of my father, during the years I was attending “sock hops” in the Stoney Gym.

PSF is committed to the regeneration of the Patterson School campus and the 1400 acre property, including environmental stewardship, alternative energy development and a focus on local food and economics. We have recently leased over 100 acres for the production of pasture-raised beef, to improve our farmland and dairy buildings. Also, Blue Ridge Apiaries has established a colony of beehives on our Buffalo Cove property, which will increase pollination of any agricultural produce. Our goal to develop a model farm will reclaim our century-old history while empowering locals with new employment.

View of the barns seen from campus

View of the barns as seen from campus

We are presently collaborating with numerous partners to support educational and economic development in this rural area. Our partnership with Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA) in Boone will teach an educational curriculum for upcoming organic incubator farmers.

Our Caldwell County Public Schools’ STEAM Program (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/ Agriculture and Math) teaches more than 7000 students and teachers annually during the school year and summer camps, including students and staff from Alexander, Ashe, Burke, Catawba, Newton-Conover and Wilkes counties. Most funds for program development are derived from grants, and to date the Steam Program has received over $1 million in grants and private donations since its inception in August, 2012.

Our 360-panel Community Solar Garden

Our 360-panel Community Solar Garden

Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation has constructed a 360-panel Community Solar Garden on campus, which will enable the Patterson Science Center’s STEAM Program students and visitors to experience the production of solar energy first-hand. More than 300 Blue Ridge customers have signed up to get a portion of their electricity from one or more of the solar panels installed on campus.

Our first health retreat was held on campus in the early summer, with owners and staff from Empower Fitness in Durham, NC. Participants enjoyed delicious, locally- grown meals during a long weekend filled with yoga practice, hiking on Ripshin Mountain, and learning expressive writing techniques, among other activities. They were housed in the (1965) Wiese Dorm, which was upgraded and outfitted with brand new curtains and other decor for the occasion.

Wiese Dorm Room

Wiese Dorm Room

Recent renovations to Gard Hall and Hickory Hall Kitchen and Dining Room have also improved their attractiveness for weddings and retreats, etc. The first floor of Gard Hall will be re-opened as a Community Library in January, and the renovated basement of Wiese Dorm has served as an ideal location for art classes taught last summer in encaustic and mixed media.

The second annual Cyclocross brought 400 riders to campus, several of whom stayed overnight in Wiese Dorm and enjoyed breakfast early next morning in the Dining Room before rushing off to their next event in Boone. The Kruger Brothers Concert held in mid-November saw an adaptive re-use of the Dining Room as concert venue, and the two events raised $6000 for restoration work on roofs, gutters and downspouts. The concert received support from the Caldwell Arts Council and the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources.

Kruger Brothers Benefit Concert

Kruger Brothers Benefit Concert

PSF has just been awarded a $20,000 Z. Smith Reynolds grant to fund a Program Director to co-ordinate our new organic incubator farm and to lead other income – generating streams to restore Patterson’s educational legacy. A $500 Community Grant from Walmart has recently been received, and a grant application is outstanding at the moment from the Millholland Foundation in Hickory, NC.

PSF has recently joined the Caldwell and Wilkes County Chambers of Commerce, and is working with both the Western NC Office of Historic Preservation and with Preservation North Carolina, in order to proceed wisely with restoration efforts. We hope to gain internet soon for Palmyra, Gard Hall Library, and other primary campus buildings.

David Talbert of Essie & Olive photo © David Prewitt, Lenoir News Topic

David Talbert of Essie & Olive photo © David Prewitt, Lenoir News Topic

Our three duplexes and the Chaplain’s House are being maintained and rented, and the lovely Kistler Cottage will be restored and made available for rent as soon as funds are available. The fully restored commercial kitchen is being leased by the “Essie & Olive” Popsicle Company, whose owners create delicious, gourmet frozen treats in the recently-renovated Hickory Hall Kitchen.

PLEASE GIVE US YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION so we can keep you aware of all that is happening now on the Patterson campus, and do visit us when you can! Our Farm-to-Table Dinner Series will present monthly dinners prepared by the creative chefs from the High Country and Charlotte during the months of January, February and March. We’ve saved a seat for you!

‘Tis the season for giving! Please make your tax-deductible gift to Patterson School Foundation to assist in Patterson’s regeneration and restoration. You may donate directly through PayPal.

LizaPlasterHeadshotHere’s to a happy and healthy 2017 !
Liza Plaster
December 2016

Patterson School Foundation Seeking a Program Director

UPDATE: We are delighted to announce that Ben Loomis has been hired as our new Program Director.

The Patterson School Foundation has received a $20,000 grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation which will allow us to hire a Program Director. This is a full time position for at least one year, which will be responsible for overall program development and management, including an Incubator Farm program, Permaculture and Appropriate Technology Programs, health and other retreats, and music and art activities. The Director will report to the PSF Chair and will work with board members. Housing with utilities could be available, as well as a garden plot. For more information, contact Kitty Rosati, PSF Chair, at

The Foundation has also received a $10,000 gift for restoration of the interior of the (1922) Palmya Hall Administration Building, and a $5,000 grant from the Kenneth K. and Suzanne G. Millholland Endowment for exterior restoration.

The Patterson School Foundation invites you to stay in touch, and we wish all friends and alumni a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

Patterson School Foundation Gets Solar Garden!


After researching and examining many different solar farm opportunities and locations, a small spot conveniently near the campus was finally chosen in the area where the old tennis courts were located, between Stoney Gym and the pond.. Our new solar garden is convenient to the many Patterson Science Center students who will experience “hands on” the assessment of solar power generated at Patterson School Foundation. solar-panel02

More than 300 Blue Ridge customers have signed up to get a portion of their electricity from one or more of the solar panels installed on campus. The solar array is one of four that Blue Ridge plans to maintain throughout its coverage area.

Kruger Brothers Benefit Concert


All ticket sales will end this Saturday Nov 12th at Noon. Purchase Now !

Purchase tickets via PayPal.
NOTE: If you need more than 4 tickets, fill in the dollar total in the Other Amount field below.

Other Amount: USD

2016 Patterson School Cyclocross Race: Saturday Oct. 15th

Challenge of the steps

Cyclocross is returning to Caldwell County. On Saturday, October 15, over 400 racers from NC and its surrounding states will convene at The Patterson School for the ‘Patterson School Cyclocross Race’ hosted by the Fiets Maan Racing Team presented by Luna Cycles and GRAVA Bikes of Lenoir. The race is a family-friendly event and free to spectators. It is the lead-off event in the 14-race North Carolina Cyclocross (NCCX) Series, which is entering its 20th season. The Patterson Race is the first of two race days over the weekend in the High Country, with racing in Boone the following day held at the High Country Fairgrounds.

pattersonpanic-cx-race-2015-over-the-hurdlesCyclocross is form of bicycle racing that takes place off-road. Racers compete on a short circuit, typically about a mile and a half long and comprised of grass, gravel, and trail. Races vary in duration from 30 minutes to 60 minutes, with racers completing around 5-10 laps depending on the duration of the race. Courses have technical features that require racers to dismount and run with their bikes over barriers, through sand, or up short, steep hills.
With races occurring in fall and winter, competitors also have to contend with whatever elements Mother Nature gives them, such as mud, rain, or snow. Courses are set up in large, open areas, and with racers doing multiple laps, it makes cyclocross an exciting spectator sport. In addition to hosting the race, Fiets Maan Racing is designing and setting up the course at the Patterson School, and it will feature stairs, a sand pit, and plenty of hills. The layout of the course on Patterson’s campus will provide excellent vantage points for spectators to see large sections of the race course.patterson-panic-2015-going-up-the-hill

A portion of the race proceeds will go to the Patterson School to aid in restoration projects that are being done to renovate the historic school. Racing will begin at 10:00am and will go until 4:45pm. There will be 14 USA Cycling sanctioned races, with categories available for first-time racers. There will also be a free youth race at 12:10pm. Racers as young as 5 and beyond 70 will be competing, including professional races with equal prize money for both men and women. The race is FREE to spectators, and food and drink will be available for purchase. The address is The Patterson School, 4646 Patterson School Drive, Lenoir, NC, 28645.

Dorm rooms are available for rent on Patterson School campus with a hot homemade   breakfast served. Read Cyclocross Riders: Dorm Rooms Available Friday and Saturday Nights, Right on Campus! for more details.

Further information can be found at the 2016 Patterson CX Race Facebook page, and additional information about the NCCX series can be found at

Cyclocross Riders: Dorm Rooms Available Friday and Saturday Nights, Right on Campus!

Dorm rooms are available October 14th and 15th in Wiese Dorm (1966) on the historic Patterson School campus for people attending the 2016 Patterson School Cyclocross Race.
Bring your own bed and bath linens, and enjoy our hot showers!

Breakfast will be served at 7am on Saturday and Sunday mornings to the cyclocross riders who rent dorm rooms: Hot homemade biscuits; fresh, free-range farm eggs and heirloom, pasture-raised sausage, with coffee for $5 / person.

Wiese Dorm

No pets, no smoking. Rooms have two twin beds, and are available for $50 / night – some on ground floor and others on second floor. One to two apartments are also available with private bath, kitchenette and living area.

To reserve your room, please contact Susan Rowe at (preferred) or at 828 / 493-1497.

You may pay for the rooms via our PayPal account.