George and Ada Drushal came to Lost Creek in 1905 under the direction of Dr. E.O. Guerrant of the Soul Winners’ Society, an organization that sent teachers and church workers to the mountains. They held Sunday services in the small Lost Creek schoolhouse and George was also asked to be the regular teacher in the school.
By spring 1906 the Home Mission Board of the Brethren Church bought three acres of land on the west side of Troublesome Creek for the Drushals’ ministry. A parsonage and a school building were constructed. On the top floor of the school building was a large room used as a church sanctuary and chapel. The school was named Riverside Institute.
The Drushals became involved in the needs of the Lost Creek community, George designed and helped build a suspension bridge across Troublesome Creek. With others he formed a telephone company and ran a line from Jackson to Lost Creek, and he helped persuade the railroad to extend their line from Jackson to Hazard. Ada was often called upon to help deliver babies.
On Sunday afternoons the Drushals traveled on their horse Kentucky Belle to several neighboring communities for Sunday School.
The church and school grew, more land was purchased, two dormitories were built, and other teachers joined the Drushals. A work program was created for students who couldn’t pay for their room and board. By the late 1920s enrollment had climbed to 135, and the high school received accreditation. Many Riverside graduates went on to become teachers or professional leaders in their communities.
By the 1930s public schools were becoming more accessible and the Mission Board of the Brethren Church decided to close the school. However, the Drushals believed the school was an important part of their ministry, and the teachers and members of the community supported them. Land adjacent to the original school property was donated, a log school was built, and a new corporation was formed called Riverside Christian Training School.
The school continued in the “Miracle Log Building” for several years until in 1940 an agreement was reached with the Mission Board that allowed the school to return to its original location and operate under an independent board. The Drushals’ daughter, Adah Irene, returned from college and joined them in the work.
The Beginning of a Legacy...
100 Years of Impact...
After George Drushal’s passing in 1958, Dr. Harold Barnett came to Riverside to serve as president of the school and pastor of the church.
Dr. Barnett and his wife Doris moved to Riverside in 1959 and were joined by two newlyweds Doran and Nancy Hostetler.
For many years Harold taught in the high school, served as pastor, and carried on mission work in neighboring Haddix and Rowdy. His wife Doris also taught, worked in the school cafeteria, and served as treasurer.
Doran Hostetler taught, coached, and served as principal. His wife Nancy taught English, French, and physical education and served as dorm matron.
The Drushals’ daughter Adah Irene also taught in the high school, held Sunday School at Fugate’s Fork, gave piano lessons, and provided care for her mother, who died in December, 1975.
In 1975 the Barnetts left Riverside to help start a Christian college in Maryland. They later returned to pastor the Drushal Memorial Brethren Church and care for Harold’s aging parents.
When the Barnetts left, Doran Hostetler became administrator, as well as continuing to teach, coach, and serve as principal. After over 40 years service to Riverside Doran passed away unexpectedly from a massive heart attack in January 2000.
In the spring of 2005 Adah Drushal passed away as Riverside prepared to celebrate its Centennial, a century spanned by the ministries of the Drushal family.
The Next Chapter...
A new Generation of staff, along with some of the last, have taken over the helm of Riverside led by principal, Mrs. Meg Asher, and administrator, Mr. Shane Neace.
The past two years Riverside has been met with, two devastating floods on historic levels. God has been preparing, moving, and providing in mighty ways, only solidifying the legacy will continue. Riverside will continue to be, "a light in the hills". We have never been more hungry, more excited, and more ready for what the Lord is calling Riverside to become. We are honored to be a part of God's story!
We are currently nurturing 70 students toward maturity in Christ and academic excellence. We are sharing the Gospel to these students and families by being committed to keeping Jesus at the forefront of what we do. Our students are united, serving the Kingdom, and building eternal relationships. The Lord is moving and His presence is tangible here on campus! We hold a posture of great expectation for what God will do here in Lost Creek, Kentucky!