Stephens-Lee was named after George Henry Stephens, the first Black Principal in Asheville (Catholic Hill High School) and Mrs. Hester Lee, the wife of Walter Smith Lee, the second Principle of Catholic Hill High School. Tragically, Catholic Hill was destroyed by fire in 1917. The above photo of the "Castle" is from the Sesquicentennial International Exposition in 1926. The gym was not built until 1940, and is shown in the photo below from approximately 1947.
The story of Stephens-Lee is integral to the education of African-Americans in Western North Carolina. This is noted in Betty Jamerson Reed's book School Segregation in WNC: A History, 1860s-1970s, pp.174, 176 and 177. The importance of the school for African-Americans in WNC is documented in the Oral History Program of The University of North Carolina.
More information is available in the article "History of Education for Black People in Asheville", Part 1 and Part 2, "The Southern Oral History Program", and an article in the Mountain Express, "Up from slavery: Isaac Dickson, Asheville Pioneer".
Finally, Chapter 4 of the book The Black Heritage of WNC by Lenwood Davis gives further commentary about Black education and Stephens-Lee High School.
These are the four men who served as Principals at Stephens-Lee