A pioneer institution organized in 1889 by Justus M. Barnes, Samuel Jordan and Milton L. Kirkpatrick. This was an extension of Strata Academy, founded in 1856 by Barnes six miles north in Strata. In 1881 Strata Academy was moved to Highland Home and the name changed to Highland Home Institute.
From its inception, the school was coeducational. It brought culture to pioneer Alabama—music, foreign languages, science, literature and drama as well as "The Three R's." Although never a religious institution, Bible courses were offered. It's graduates provided the state many distinguished citizens.
When the economics of competing with the state normal schools forced it to close its doors forever in 1915, it had served Alabama continuously for 59 years. The trustees deeded this property to the State of Alabama in 1916 for educational use.