Macedon Historical Society

Preserving the history of Macedon, N.Y.

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HISTORIC MACEDON ACADEMY


The historic marker in front of the Academy building.

In pioneer days, a small tavern known as the Hollister House stood on the northwest corner in Macedon Center, and did a thriving business.  After the Erie Canal was opened and most of the travelers came into this section by way of the water route, the tavern was no longer prosperous.  It continued, however, to entertain travelers and dispense liquor under the name of the Macedon Centre House.  About this time one of the early settlers, William Barker, of Macedon Center had planned to open a Friend's Boarding School, but for some reason his plans were not carried out.   This early suggestion developed into the purchase on April 24, 1841 of the old tavern at a cost of $1,150 from John Gildersleeve.  The purchasers being Jonathan Ramsdell, Daniel T. Burton and Durfee Osband.

Later in the year of 1841, school first opened in the old tavern with Eaton B. Northrop, Principal, and Stephen Ramsdell and Austin Mandeville, Assistants.  Mr. Northrop died October 17, 1843 at the age of twenty-eight years.

On April 11, 1842, through Durfee Osband, then member of Assembly, the Macedon Academy was legally incorporated, and on September 13, Messrs. Ramsdell, Burton and Osband deeded the property to the following trustees named in the charter: Thomas C. Hance, Thomas Barnes, Philander Packard, Ira Odell, William C. Johnston, Evert Bogardus, Henry Tillou, John Johnston, James Cunningham, Israel Woolsey, Joshua Delong, John C. Marshall, John VanVleit, Walter Johnson and Caleb VanDuzer.

September 14, 1842, it was resolved to build an extension for the Academy proper, and use the old tavern for a boarding house.  The contract was let to Evert Bogardus.   The present building was erected in 1853, and the first session opened in it on November 7 of that year, with 160 students.  In 1859 the old Academy was sold to Dr. Esten, removed to the site of William Barker's residence, and burned September 6 of the same year.

The Academy was founded by adherents of the doctrine of the Society of Friends, and for more than half century had a powerful influence in guiding the morals and elevating the standard of education in this section of Western New York.  Plain and unpretentious in its outward appearance, its curriculum governed by strict rules, sometimes locally termed "Blue Laws", fostered by the Board of Regents of the State, it had ever maintained an enviable prestige and flourished while many similar institutions succumbed to the changing times.

The last graduating class to be held at the Academy was in 1902.  For the year 1903 the State refused to give future aid to the school, and this closed the Academy which had served so well for over half a century.

The District School of Macedon Center met in the building for a few years until the district School on North Street was ready, and then the Ladies Society of the Methodist Church purchased the Academy building.  It was used as a Social Hall by the Macedon Center Methodist Church.

In 1968 ownership of the Academy was transferred by the Trustees of the Macedon Center Methodist Church to the Macedon Historical Society.