Genealogy and History
Atlanta Early Schools
The old seminary building was erected early in 1853, when the whole number of houses in town did not exceed twenty. This part of the county was, however, quite populous, and at that time was almost always known as the "Four by Six." It had been obtained from DeWitt County, and contains twenty-four sections, four wide and six in length; hence the name.
A very good school was maintained in the village from its earliest existence. In February, 1855, the Atlantic Seminary was chartered, and a school of higher order immediately opened. This was still in the old frame building, which occupied the most eligible site in town. The first board of trustees were Samuel Bevan, Samuel Foster, James Tuttle, A. C. Rankin and R. T. Gill. This board had full power to confer academic degrees, erect buildings, purchase land, appoint teachers, regulate the' course of study, etc. It was especially provided that the school should not be made denominational, and if in the opinion of the board its interests could be advanced by converting it into a town school, the board could do so. The stock in the seminary was divided into shares of twenty dollars each, each share being entitled to one vote, and each stockholder liable to a tax of one dollar per share to pay debts. The first instructor was Rev. L. Foster. He was succeeded by Messrs. Atkinson and West. In May, 1856, Rev? W. M. Guilford took charge, and an era of prosperity at once began. The four departments were all occupied. The course of instruction was comprehensive and thorough, and for two years the school's progress was constant. In 1858, it was decided by the board of trustees that the interest of the town children would be better served if the school was placed immediately under the control and maintenance of the town. Mr. S. A. Briggs was chosen principal this year, and had about the same number of assistants heretofore employed. The school was conducted under this management until 1869, when, at the organization of the city government, the school was also organized under the state school law as a graded school. The district was enlarged to include territory one mile each way from town, and a board of school directors were elected, who assumed entire control of the school. In 1870, the old seminary building was found inadequate for the accommodation of the school population, and measures were adopted to erect a larger building. The old seminary was removed to a corner of the lot, and used until the new one was completed, when it was taken to the farm of Augustus Reise, where it yet remains. The new building is three stories in height above the basement. It contains ten school rooms, a spacious hall and an office. The building is surmounted by a tasty cupola, in which a large town clock, having four dials, is placed. These can be seen from any portion of the city, and are a great convenience. The strokes of the clock can be distinctly heard in any part of town. This adornment cost $800 - raised by contributions. The contract price of the building was $24,485; to this, $500 was afterward added. The entire cost, including the clock and furniture, was $28,500, for which outlay the city of Atlanta has one of the best schools in the county. Nine graduates have finished the complete course here. The present principal is Mr. J. S. Cole.
[History of Logan County, Illinois, 1878; transcribed by cddd]
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