Cumberland Mountain School traces its history back to the year 1921. The school was born out of the mind of Methodist minster Robert Hall. Hall felt that the children in the rural Cumberland Plateau needed opportunities for formal education. He wanted the school to combine vocational and liberal arts.
The school was located near the confluence of the Obey and Little Obey Rivers, the Tennessee Central Railroad and the new Highway 127. Nashville architect Henry Hibbs was responsible for the construction of Susie Gray Hall and the rest of the school's buildings. The building was constructed of brick, with a short portico on its facade, along with three dormers on its roof.
When the school opened in 1921, forty-eight students enrolled. Classes offered ranged from kindergarten to 12th grade. Students were not only taught "the three R's" but were taught a trade, and also social skills. Students paid their tuition by working on the school's 340 acres. By 1922, enrollment had increased to eighty students. Many families relocated to Cumberland County just so their children would have the opportunity to attend school at Cumberland Mountain. Students in the first two graduating classes all went on to be involved in eduction, including one that went on to be a president of Duke University.
Throughout the 1920s and into the 1930s enrollment at Cumberland Mountain continued to grow and plateaued at 108 students. By the late 1930s, enrollment began to decrease and by 1938, the school was closed. From 1942-1950, the school was used as an agricultural center. In 1952, the school began use as a Methodist church camp. During its 17 years as a school, 260 students received diplomas and 400 students attended the school.
In 1993, the Cumberland Mountain School was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Shadden family purchased the property from the local Methodist church in 2022. The Shadden family are the property’s first private owner since its construction in 1921.