Mc Elwain Institute

   Mc Elwain Institute


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The Formation of the McElwain Institute

In the spring of 1880 an institution of learning, known as the New Lebanon Institute, was established. W. T. Solomon was a prominent factor in agitating the subject, but did not see his project thoroughly materialized. The people of the place, recognizing the necessity of greater educational facilities than they had previously enjoyed, subscribed $2,500 for the purchase of land and the erection of a suitable building for academic purposes. Four acres of land were secured, and the erection of a suitable building was begun in the summer of 1880, but not completed until January, 1881. The two-story brick edifice, with four class rooms and two smaller ones for library and office respectively, on first floor, and a hall with capacity for 400, besides two class rooms on second floor, was dedicated February 22, 1881, Prof. G. W. Williams, of Allegheny College, delivering the address. The cost was $7,000. The sum of $4,650 was subscribed at the time of dedication. By vote of the board of directors, the institution was dedicated under the name of the McElwain Institute, in honor of John McElwain, Esq., of New Vernon Township, whose generous benefactions and sympathy gave the enterprise its proper impetus. On the 16th of May, 1883, the institution was incorporated as the McElwain Institute, with the avowed purpose “to establish and maintain an institution for the instruction and education of persons of both sexes in science, literature and art.” The directors at that time consisted of John L. McCormick, James Lindsey, James W. McConnell, A. D. McCracken. R. C. Farver, James C. Brown, A. J. Palm and W. P. McElwain. In the list of principals are to be found the names of E. L. Richardson, W. H. Dodds (at present [1888] principal of the Pittsburgh High-school), S. H. Sheakley, George H. Lamb and M. B. Griffith. 

History of Mercer County, 1888, pages 479-482

McElwain Institute

McElwain Institute [is] a splendid academic school at which hundreds of young men and women have received a training for responsible careers. The influence of such a school cannot be measured better than by referring to the many who have received their preparation for life within its walls.

McElwain Institute.—Many citizens of the vicinity of New Lebanon and elsewhere owe their education to McElwain Institute, one of those institutions of academic rank which have exerted remarkable influences toward enlightenment and culture in the state of Pennsylvania. When it was established in the spring of 1880 this was known as New Lebanon Institute. It was founded for the purpose of affording local opportunities superior to those given in the common schools. Some citizens subscribed $2,500 for the purchase of land and the erection of a building, which was begun in the summer of 1880 and completed about the first of the following year, being a two-story brick building with an auditorium on the second floor. The total cost was $7,000, the balance of the debt being subscribed at the dedication on Washington’s birthday, 1881. John McElwain of New Vernon township had proved the most liberal supporter of the institution, and by a vote of the board of directors his benefactions were recognized by the change of name to its present [1909] form, McElwain Institute being incorporated in May, 1883. 

Twentieth Century History of Mercer County, 1909, pages 150-151.



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