Settlement school restoring 100-year-old cottage

Published 11:17 am Wednesday, December 7, 2022

The Pine Mountain Settlement School is seeking assistance in restoring one of the school’s historical structures, the Country Cottage, which has been part of the campus for approximately 100 years.

Preston Jones, executive director of Pine Mountain Settlement School, talked about the structure’s history and the school.

“Pine Mountain Settlement School is a national historic landmark,” Jones said. “All of the structures on our campus contribute to that designation.”

According to Jones, nearly all the structures on the campus have some historic significance.

“Country Cottage was built right around 100 years ago,” Jones said. “It was constructed in 1922 to 1923.”

Jones explained that County Cottage was first used to house some older female students.

“It was originally called Practice House,” Jones explained. “As part of their upper-level education – probably junior or senior year – some of the older girls would live there and learn applied home economics.”

Jones pointed out the house was designed by Mary Rockwell Hook, who was one of the first prominent female architects in the United States.

“The purpose in construction was to show local people how to build that type of stick framed house, which was relatively new in those days,” Jones said. “It was meant to be a step up from the pioneer cabin.”

Jones stated the history of Country Cottage makes the structure worthy of saving. However, there are additional reasons to restore the house.

“In more recent years, it’s been a vital house for us in that it’s been used as intern housing,” Jones said. “We used to do internships regularly before COVID. We would always have a few interns working here, and that’s the place we would house them. It’s a perfect location for that. We want to revive that internship program this summer. If we’re going to do that, we’ve got to get Country Cottage in good shape.”

Country Cottage is the last of the buildings on campus currently in need of restoration, Jones said.

Pine Mountain Settlement School is now accepting donations to help with the work on County Cottage.

“We still have a way to go in raising enough to cover the entire cost,” Jones said.

Jones talked about some of the restoration work the Country Cottage requires.

“We’re pretty much going to have to demolish the porch,” Jones said. “There’s a two-story porch on the back. There’s also a lot of siding and roof work that we’re going to have to do, and some foundation stonework underneath the porch is going to have to be redone.”

Jones said the school has an experienced maintenance staff which can complete the work.

“They’re trained in historic preservation, and they work on these buildings all the time,” Jones said. “We use as close to the original materials as we can get.”

According to Jones, the best way to donate is to use the mail, as online options have small processing fees.

Anybody wishing to donate can mail a check to Pine Mountain Settlement School, 36 Hwy 510, Bledsoe, KY, 40810. To donate online, go to the Pine Mountain Settlement School website at and hit the donation button at the top of the page.

The Pine Mountain Settlement School has events, classes, activities, and many other items of interest available to the public. More information is available on the school’s website.