Claverack College


Hudson River Institute


Columbia County,

New York

By Captain Franklin Ellis29




    In the fall of 1854 the institution was most auspiciously opened.  Addresses were delivered on the occasion by the Rev. Isaac Ferris, D.D., Horace Greeley, and the Rev. Dr. Porter.  The trustees selected the Rev. Ira C. Boice as their president, and the Rev. Alonzo Flack, Ph.d., became the lessee and president of the institute.  This position he has since retained, and under his skillful management the school has become one of the best of its kind in the State.  It has eleven departments of instruction,--classical, French, German, English, normal, musical, painting, military, commercial, telegraphic, and agricultural,--each in charge of a trained principal, and assisted by a corps of able teachers.  In addition to these academic and special courses of study, there is a collegiate course for women, prescribed by the board of regents in June, 1869, which entitles those completing it to the degree of Mistress of Art.  The instruction in every department aims at thorough scholarship.  Young men are here prepared for the junior class in college.  Among other supplementary means of instruction, the institute has a large library and good philosophical and chemical apparatus.  A special feature, which has given the institute great popularity, is the "form system" of dividing the school into six divisions, according to age and culture, each receiving such especial attention as the students in that "form" require.  Every male student is required to take military instruction, which has been found beneficial in promoting the healthfulness of the students, and in inducing habits of order and obedience.


    The buildings of the institute stand in an elevated campus, containing twenty acres, and command a fine view of the surrounding rich and handsome Claverack country, and the famous Catskill mountains, eight miles distant.  The college edifice is a frame, four stories high, and contains one hundred and forty-six students' rooms, for two pupils each, thirteen teachers' rooms, twelve lecture and recitation halls, twenty-eight music-rooms, society and reading-rooms, a library, a chapel, offices, and thirty-five rooms for the domestic uses of the institute, which boards students of both sexes.


    There are, also, on the grounds an armory, and a large drill-house and gymnasium.  The trustees of the institute at present number twelve members, having Peter Hoffman for president, and F. N. Mesick for secretary and treasurer.


Residents of Claverack College from the 1880 census, click here.


A list of autographs of residents of Hudson River Institute, circa mid 1800s, click here.