Thursday, November 8, 2012

Education in Union Village

In the early 1830s, a Union College graduate named James Irvine Lourie came to Union Village (the present village of Greenwich) to start a private school. The venture proved a success, & in 1836 the Union Village Academy was formed with Lourie as principal.

James Lourie grew up in Jackson, & attended the Cambridge academy. In 1840, he resigned as principal & began practicing law with the Honorable Judge Charles F. Ingalls here in the village. Also in 1840 he married Mary Harriet Robinson. In 1854 he was elected to the NY State Assembly & became an ardent supporter of the Temperance Movement. In 1868 he was elected county surrogate judge. Judge Lourie died July 13, 1888.

The 1st building of the Union Village Academy stood where the Presbyterian parsonage stands. In 1849 the academy built the large brick building at 6 Academy Street.^ In 1869, the academy became part of the free public school system in Greenwich. By 1907, the building was condemned & sold to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge (IOOF). A new high school building was constructed on Gray Ave. The story goes that the Gray Ave site was decided by a vote of 277 to 276. The loosing site was on Bleeker St.* The  new high school building burnt in 1926 & had to be reconstructed.

Union Village Academy after it was sold to the IOOF

In 1850 Union Village Academy had 135 students. By 1937 the Greenwich School District had 756 students. Current enrollment is 1153 students.

Noteworthy students during the early years of the academy...
Daniel Anthony (brother of Susan B.)- governor of Kansas
Reverend James A. "Ticonderoga" Tefft- missionary to the West Coast of Africa
Chester Alan Arthur- 21st President of the US

^ Now the current home of the Village of Greenwich offices, the Greater-Greenwich Chaber of Commerce, the  Greenwich Youth Center, & the fire department. The addition to the building is now condemned & the fire department is search for a safer location.

* Much of the above information can be found in History of Secondary Education in Washington County by Roscoe L. Williams. Originally produced as a Master's thesis in 1937, it was published in 1991 by the Fort Edward Historical Association & is available at their gift shop.

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