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Stecoah Valley History

Stecoah Union School welcomed its first students in October 1926. The school was built of native rock with the skill and labor of many local residents. On Dedication Day, the proud community posed for the panoramic photograph shown below and now featured in the auditorium. After sixty-eight years of service to the community, the school was closed in consolidation in 1994.

Stecoah Valley Arts, Crafts & Educational Center, Inc., a non-profit corporation, was formed by a group of concerned citizens dedicated to restoring the historic school to its original role as the center of the community.

The school property consists of the main school building, adjacent gymnasium building and grounds. The original main building burned shortly after completion; the present school building was constructed within the same rock walls and reopened in 1930. It remains today a beautiful solid stone structure surrounded by approximately ten acres of natural mountain land.

The name Stecoah is derived from the Cherokee language. The term “Usdi Gohi,” meaning “little place” was applied to many places by the Cherokee, but here the words became “Stecoah” and the name stuck.

At any time during the year, stop by to view our permanent Cherokee history exhibit that documents the history of the Cherokee in Stecoah Valley. Check out our Cherokee Culture page to learn more about the history of the Cherokee in our region.


The gymnasium was built about 1950. Part of the gym was renovated into a commercial kitchen to support the development of food-related small businesses (Stecoah Valley Food Ventures). The adjoining meeting room makes the commercial kitchen a convenient rental for community meetings, parties, etc. Though the main portion of the gym and the locker room wing have not yet been renovated, architectural plans for renovation are in the schematic design phase. This part of the gym remains closed to public use while funds are being raised for a repurposing endeavor.