Green Mountain College
HathiTrust has the 1892 and 1900 catalogs for Troy Conference Academy and the 1873 “Prospectus” for Ripley Female College. Ancestry.com has four yearbooks for Green Mountain Junior College. As a recently closed college, Green Mountain College has a strong alumni association with an internet presence. The school seal is from their website.
Troy Conference Academy was incorporated in 1834 by the newly created Troy Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Classes began in 1836 at the coeducational preparatory school. By 1860 T.C.A. made national news by offering a Mistress of Literature degree. Sold to private hands, the school became Ripley Female College in 1863. But in 1874 the Troy Conference repurchased the school, restoring its name and coeducational status.
The 1900 catalog shows an enrollment of 164 students through twelfth grades, with special music, art, elocution and commercial classes. Students had four literary societies as well as chapters of the YMCA, YWCA and WCTU.
In 1932 Troy Conference opened a two-year college on the same campus, called Green Mountain College. The 1936 Peaks yearbook shows 177 college students. In addition to the yearbook, students had a small orchestra, performed an operetta, and had a chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa. During World War II Green Mountain College became a two-year women’s college and remained so until 1975, when it returned to coeducational status and began a four-year degree program.
In 1995 G.M.C. developed an environmental liberal arts focus. This focus led to the opening of the 85-acre Lewis Deane Nature Preserve in 2002 and students’ installing wind turbines and solar panels on campus. In 2018 it received the Sierra Club’s #1 coolest campus award. As part of a sustainable agriculture and food production program, the school added the 22-acre organic Cerridwen Farm, with its solar harvest center. The campus received a Campus Sustainability Leadership Award in 2007.
But Green Mountain College was a small private school in a rural area with a shrinking population. Beset by financial difficulties, it closed in 2019.
Bricks and Mortar
The first college building, a three-story red brick structure with Doric columns, was finished in 1837. In addition to recitation rooms, it housed both male and female students—though “association” or “correspondence” between ladies and gentlemen was forbidden. In 1892 a chapel and a gymnasium were added. The chapel contained an auditorium, society rooms, and classrooms for music and art. In 1908 the main building burned to the ground. By 1909 Ames Memorial Hall had been completed on the site of that building. Again it was a three-story brick structure, but it housed only female students. By 1913 Moses Hall for men had been completed.
Since Green Mountain College has closed, the campus in on the market. Real estate ads show it has grown to 155 acres with 23 buildings. All buildings generally conform to the red brick, classical design pattern of the original building. Ames Memorial Hall and Moses Hall are still part of the central campus. The chapel was renovated in 1968 as Ackley Hall, now without its rose window.
Ames Hall in 2013. Photo by Meg Stewart. CC by -SA 2.0 (accessed 10-29-2019)
School colors: Green and Gold
Team name: Mountaineers, later Eagles
The first newspaper reference I found was an 1886 note that the football association had issued a challenge to the Castleton “village boys” for a game. Later notices showed football games with Burr and Burton Seminary and Middlebury College as well as participation in prep track meets. The 1900 catalog shows a football team.
College Football Data Warehouse shows college-level football from 1933 to 1942. The Mountaineers enjoyed considerable success at their level. The 1935 team won all six games, allowing only one touchdown. They defeated Nichols College, the Norwich Frosh, the Vermont Frosh, Montpelier Seminary, Manlius School, and Clark School. The 1935-36 basketball team posted a 13-3 record, while the baseball team were 10-1. The track team won both meets.
More recently, GMC enjoyed success in both men’s and women’s soccer. As a member of the NAIA Mayflower Conference the women qualified for the national tournament four times between 1990 and 2001. The men qualified five times between 1991 and 1999.
Troy Conference Academy football team of 1899.