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Batt, James R. (ed.) / Wisconsin Academy review
Volume 20, Number 4 (Fall 1974)

Vanderbilt, Paul
"Inter silvas academi",   pp. 18-19

Page 18

sil as
academ i
  By Paul Vanderbilt
  Before it was named Waukesha, the town was
called Prairieville and the academy was Prairieville
Academy. This is not the first building of the Acade-
my (1841-1850 and subsequently as a separate in-
stitution), but the second, or first College building,
built in 1851-52 and burned in 1885. And this is
not quite the view reproduced in the 1893 pamphlet
history of Carroll College, which shows a cut from
-te--tr  a ge ,-wih-a-fit ure-on-h tsb ar k,-a-carl-
riage, tiny students lounging on the lawn and at
windows but not on the roof gallery, and minor
differences of architectural detail. In specifying that
this view is from an ambrotype (an early photo-
graphic process), the publisher would imply to us
that his version is accurate. The College stood thirty-
six feet by seventy-four feet and during the presidency
of Dr. Savage, four classes (1857-1860) comprised
a total of nineteen graduates.
  Let us look at this college structure from two more
or less symbolic points of view: as a monument,
standing there squarely as though it were a smaller
stone bearing an inscription to an extraordinary
struggle for existence, and as a vault or storage
battery from which was released an energetic if im-
mature outpouring of literary and spiritual written
  When the College was incorporated in 1846 and
briefly took over the Academy, it was named for
Charles Carroll of Carrollton, of Maryland, a gener-
ous, unprovincial gesture, on the theory that other
signers of the Declaration of Independence had been
so honored and that this practice should be extended.
Though not so stated, one suspects a deliberate con-
cern for his name in extending the initial invitation
to the presidency to Daniel Carroll of Philadelphia;
he was told that he would thus become the "presiding
genius over the literary interests of Wisconsin' (at
$1,000 per year, 1846), but he declined. There were
two professors at the Academy: J. W. Sterling, later
vice-president of the University of Wisconsin, and
Eleazar Root, later the first president of the Univer-
sitys  Pn ard ol ~ e e t A r f s   R oo   w a   p i ci a
of the Academy (the College would have a president)
and he also held in his own name the lease on the
building for seven years, with the stipulation that he
at his own expense enclose the ground with a board
fence. The two professors had salaries of $800 per
year. The financial uncertainties led to a split, the
Academy holding the building, and the paper College
holding only its charter. After some years as a pri-
vate school, the old Academy became the German
Evangelical Reformed Church, and was finally de-
molished in 1891 to make way for a new church.
  The College, not yet truly a college, came under
the control of the Presbytery of Wisconsin, Old School,
and this church body was to then appoint all further
trustees, nominate and elect officers and faculty, and
raise the money. Some land, worth $2,300, was lo-
cally donated, and for the money-raising job, Rev.
John A. Savage was hired (at $800 from the church
plus $400 out of what he raised). Another Root, the
Reverend Lucius I., meanwhile conducted some solo
classes in the church basement. Savage raised $1,523
in 1851 and $1,874 in 1852, partly from Waukesha
citizens, but mainly from churches in the East where
he went speaking and begging. The new building

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