Lucas, C.S.-HV


No. 102. View of balloon ascension, Poughkeepsie, N.Y. This is the balloon Atlantic.


View of College Hill No. 12.  Shows a steam engine train. Looks like the tender is in the shed probably being filled with wood or coal.


Cook’s Collegiate Institute, Poughkeepsie, NY. Long before the opening of Vassar College, there existed a desire to educate young ladies in the city of Poughkeepsie. As a matter of fact, several schools popped up in the mid-19th century that strongly encouraged a proper education for girls. They included the Poughkeepsie Female Academy, located on Cannon Street, the Mansion Square Female Seminary, and the College Hill Female Seminary. This school pictured here went by a few different names, but lasted longer than the others: the Poughkeepsie Female Collegiate Institute, a.k.a. Cook’s Collegiate, a.k.a. Lyndon Hall School. The year was 1848, and small schools had been popping up all over Poughkeepsie. Dr. Charles H.P. McLellan was in the midst of creating a school dedicated to giving young ladies the knowledge to establish themselves as housewives or teachers. McLellan wanted to create a school that was small and selective, with room enough for some students to live, but also able to cater to those who could commute. The school was located on the corner of Catharine and Mill Streets. It began as a small brick building, which opened in 1849. The first graduating class was in 1850 and had only four girls; two from Poughkeepsie, one from Fishkill, and one from Staten Island. In the 1850s, the cost for a year at the school was about $200, which included a furnished room. In 1862, the school was sold to the Reverend C.D. Rice, who continued to operate it as the Poughkeepsie Female Collegiate Institute until the 1870s, when Professor George W. Cook bought the school and the name changed to Cook’s Collegiate Institute. During his tenure, Cook included a course that prepared girls for freshman year at the newly established Vassar College. The young ladies published a monthly editorial known as “The Tyro,” which could be found around town and included pieces written by the students on matters such as travel, natural sciences, and poetry. In 1875, they began to produce the “Alumnae Quarterly,” which showcased the writing talents of those who had graduated, including a passionate piece by A. Harwood on the need for women to have access to higher education. In it, Harwood questioned why women were still not being given the chance to improve, as God intended them, and proffered that there was more to being a woman than commonly believed. The school changed names again in 1884 when Professor Samuel Wells Buck, previously the principal at Poughkeepsie High School, purchased the building, along with his wife who worked with him as a teacher. The Bucks renamed it The Lyndon Hall School and kept it going for another 25 years, until 1909. The Alumnae of the school were still making news into the 20th century when some of them served overseas as teachers during the First World War. By 1921, the building had been converted into apartments. The building was eventually demolished and recently it was a municipal parking lot. [Shannon Butler]

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