Mars Hill University is at the heart of this small, quiet town. A beautifully manicured campus makes for a delightful stroll and the rich history of the school makes for an interesting read. Founded in 1856 as the French Broad Baptist Institute, the site served as a place for education based in the Baptist Faith. By 1859, the college was chartered by the State of North Carolina and the name changed to Mars Hill College. 10 years later, in the midst of the Civil War, the college buildings were turned into quarters for both the Union and Confederate troops - an interesting story in and of itself. Historical markers are located all over the campus and town, telling the story of the incident.