Camden Point Military Institute
Camden Point, Missouri
The State Historical Society of Missouri provided five available catalogues for the Military Institute, source of the logo (right). Louis C. Gabbert’s 1949 history of the school appeared in the Platte County Missouri Historical Society Bulletin in 2020. Librarians from the Mid-Continent Public Library assisted with research in local newspapers. The 1905 ad (below) is from Western Life.
The preparatory year consisted of basic arithmetic, grammar, civil government, history, elocution, and penmanship. The English curriculum added two additional years of course work. The Classical curriculum added three additional years, including Greek and Latin, to prepare students to enter “Missouri State University.” Students wishing to prepare for careers in business or for teaching had curricula designed for that purpose.
Catalogues note that all students were required to be an active member of one of the organized literary societies and to be a participant in exercises consisting of “music, essays, declamations, orations, dialogues, mock trials, etc.” In addition to teachers of academic courses, faculty were employed to teach elocution, physical culture, art, and vocal and instrumental music.
In 1892 there were no public high schools in all of northern Platte County. Camden Point Military Institute was created to bridge the gap between grammar school and college. Its purpose was to “prepare young men either for college or for honorable and useful business career.” Baptist minister G. W. Everett persuaded twenty local men to put up $100 each to found the school. The 1893 catalog shows forty students. Almost all were from Platte County, most from the communities of Camden Point or Settle Station, four miles away. Boys twelve years of age or older were eligible for admission.
The first catalog notes that the military component, “essential as an aid to developing true manhood will not be of a character to detract from the regular school work.” Students wore military uniforms and drilled from 3:30 to 4:00 each day. Newspapers show that the cadet corps was a feature in parades throughout Platte County and competed against Leavenworth High School in drills.
While Gabbert asserts that no school records are available, he believed that an improved public school system led to the demise of the Institute. Newspapers show a Camden Point High School by 1914.
President Winston N. Stagner taught psychology, mathematics, and military science. His wife May Layton Stagner taught history, geology, and astronomy. Image from the 1897 catalog.
Bricks and Mortar
Catalogues emphasize the location more than the building. Located on the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad, Camden Point was easily accessible. It was a community of “wealth, culture and Christian influences.” Catalogues note that no alcoholic beverages were sold within three miles and that there were no pool halls or places of evil. The two-acre campus is described as a grassy lawn situated at a malaria-free elevation.
Gabbert describes the building as a two-story frame structure. The ground floor contained a drill hall, while the second floor held a study hall, with classrooms “in the space that was left over.” That building was later razed and the timbers used to build a private residence.
Team name: Cadets
School Colors: The above seal suggests that they were Red and Blue
The first actual football result came in 1903, a 12-0 loss to Leavenworth (KS) High School. Before the game Leavenworth newspaper complained that C.P.M.I. had many advantages—financial support from the school and salaried coaches. After the game it further noted that two of those coaches actually played, and that one—Professor Woodson—“put up a very dirty game.” Later that season the Cadets also lost to the Cameron town team 6-2.
The 1907 team defeated Whitmere Business College and the Edgerton town team and played a scoreless draw with Liberty High School. The 1908 team played a scoreless draw with Spalding Business College but was badly beaten by Midland Lutheran College and also lost to the Trenton town team.
Newspapers show football games involving Camden Point in 1910, but it is unclear which of these actually involved C.P.M.I.