Tag Archives: Black Mountain College

The Supine Dome flops in a NC field

It was the centerpiece of the Montreal Expo of 1967: Buckminster Fuller’s Geodesic Dome, a vaulted structure made of lightweight materials that form interlocking polygons. Nineteen years before that majestic statement, Fuller, an architect, author, designer, futurist, inventor, and visionary, had gathered a group of students together at Black Mountain College in Bunscombe County, NC […]


Book Excerpt: ‘Black Mountain College’

In the spring of 1933, John Andrew Rice, a classics professor at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, faced an investigating team to answer to charges that ranged from wearing a jockstrap on the beach to being “disruptive of peace and harmony.”

Black Mountain cover final

Denying the former charge, but unable to fully dispute the latter because of his unconventional teaching methods and sometimes abrasive personality, Rice was fired. Several other faculty, including physics instructor Theodore Dreier, chemistry professor Frederick Georgia, and history professor Robert Lounsbury, rallied around Rice and the issues his firing brought up at the school. A few were also fired, and others resigned in protest.

That summer, many of Rice’s former students and colleagues encouraged him to start a new experimental school where they could practice many of the educational theories of which Rice had often spoken. When he finally agreed, space for the college and money to operate it had to be found quickly. Former Rollins drama professor and native North Carolinian Bob Wunsch suggested Blue Ridge Assembly, located in Black Mountain, North Carolina.

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