Prompted by a need for a local high school after the Civil War, the Chowan Academy was founded by the leaders of color of the Chowan Educational Association in 1886. Calvin Scott Brown, a Shaw University divinity student, Baptist journalist and missionary, accepted the CEA’s offer to serve as principal. The success of Chowan Academy provided an educational and economic engine for people of color in the Winton Triangle area. At the time of Dr. Brown’s death in 1936, the later-named Waters Training School educated hundreds of students and had 4 multi-story buildings along with smaller buildings.
The C.S. Brown Regional Cultural Arts Center and Museum is housed in Brown Hall, the last building constructed under Dr. Brown’s leadership. Brown Hall is a Rosenwald Foundation funded-building. A Greek Revival-style hall built in 1926, its 10,000+ square feet houses four exhibit rooms, a 3250 square foot auditorium and a kitchen room. At the time of the centennial of the school’s founding, Brown Hall was renovated and the Cultural Arts Center and Museum was opened in 1986.
C.S. Brown Regional Cultural Arts Center and Museum was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.