The Rev. William Townley taught the first school, a preparatory department of the Mercer Collegiate Institute, in the building now occupied by Mrs. Hollenback as a residence. An effort having been made to establish a college under the auspices of the Presbyterian church, a large brick building was erected on the plot of land now known as Center addition to Aledo.
The college was not supported, however, in a manner to secure success, so the idea of a college was abandoned, and the Presbyterian church having come into possession of the property, it was used for church purposes. In 1871, the building being deemed unsafe, the property was sold, the building torn down and the ground laid out into lots now known as "Center Addition."
The Methodists laid the foundation for a college building on the farm now owned by John C. Dool adjoining the town on the west. The plans indicated an imposing structure; a fine residence was built for President Humphrey (now owned by I. N. Bassett), but no money coming in, the enterprise collapsed and the brilliant prospect .of making Aledo an educational center passed away. Prof. J. R. Wylie came next and established the Aledo Academy. He worked hard to make his school a success, but jealousy having arisen among some of the adherents of the public school against the academy, it failed to receive .the support it deserved and, after much effort on the part of citizens to sustain the enterprise, it was closed and Aledo lost an educator worthy of support in any community.
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Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois
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