Columbia Athenaeum Thrived as Historic Girls-Only School
Girls learning physics in the 1800s?
Girls learning physics in the 1800s? Only at the Columbia Athenaeum, a girls-only school that flourished from 1852 to 1904. The school taught young women everything that well-educated young men would have learned at that time, including world history, physics, calculus and English literature. The rectory at the Athenaeum is all that stands of the campus today, and the building is admired for its Moorish Gothic architecture. Today, The Athenaeum Rectory is owned by The Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities and is maintained and operated by the Maury County Chapter of the APTA as a historic house museum. The interior of the home has been newly renovated and boasts beautiful flashed glass with gold dust in its construction, a cast iron fountain, and an original chandelier. Changing exhibits are featured in the home throughout the year, and the site hosts an annual week where young girls dress in 1861 period costumes and take classes that would have been offered when the Athenaeum was in full operation. Young ladies age 14-18 come from all over the country, dressed in authentic 19th century costumes, and study the same courses in etiquette, penmanship, art, music, dance, and the social graces. In addition, they participate in side-saddle horsemanship, archery and other sports. For more information, visit the Athenaeum Rectory website.