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Columbia Normal Academy

Columbia, Missouri


Travel and E-Travel

The State Historical Society of Missouri has copies of the Mirror, the student yearbook.  As a graduate student at the University of Missouri, I often passed the site of  C.N.A.


Beasley Academy was begun in 1895 by University of Missouri graduate George H. Beasley and John B. Welch, owner of University Military School.  In 1898 the partnership was dissolved, and the school was chartered as Columbia Normal Academy For Young Men and Women.  It was advertised as "the best school in Missouri  in which to  prepare for entrance to the University."  In addition it offered "unexcelled advantages in Music and Elocution; splendid training for teachers."


C.N.A. was one of twelve approved summer schools in the state with "work especially suited to teachers of district and village schools."


Initially a small school with a faculty of five (Beasley himself taught mathematics and  science as well as serving as president), C.N.A. had a small graduating class in 1902--fifteen from the academy, two from elocution, one from piano and one from Normal.  However by 1905, C.N.A. was advertising an enrollment of 380.


Advertisements appearing in 1906 formalize the four departments--academic, normal, music and elocution.


The Mirror shows that students had chapters of the Y.M.C.A. and Y.W.C.A. and two literary societies:  the Ciceronian and the Philomathean.  Students also edited the yearbook.


Beasley was also president of Columbia Business College, a few blocks away on Broadway.  In 1908 he announced that he would close the normal school to concentrate on the business college.


The 1903 Columbia Normal Academy building.  Image from the 1908 Mirror, courtesy of the State Historical Society of Missouri

Bricks and Mortar

In 1903 C.N.A. moved into a new brick building, three stories over a basement, built by I.L. Davis.  Located at the corner of Cherry Street and 10th Avenue, it was only a few blocks from the University of Missouri campus.  Apparently some of the space--likely the top floor-- was used to house female students.  In 1908 when Professor Beasley closed the school, he rented the building to the University for use as a laboratory high school. 


When Townsend Hall was completed in 1935, it became the home for the university lab school.  The C.N.A. building was later razed. Today a business/apartment complex called Cherry Street Centre occupies the site.  It is across the street from one of the watering holes of my graduate days.


            Colors: Orange and Black

            Team name:  Wildcats


The yearbook shows that C.N.A. fielded teams in baseball, basketball and football.  Opponents included four-year colleges (Westminster), independent teams (Centralia Boilermakers), junior varsities (University of Missouri), military academies (Missouri and Kemper) and the local Columbia High School.  Results often were not positive; they included a 90-0 loss to Kemper in 1905.


In 1899 the St. Louis Republic reported that Columbia Normal Academy was one of the "high school-and-above" institutions  participating in the first Missouri state field day to be held in Columbia. Washington University and William Jewell College were among the higher education schools.  In 1907 C.N.A. sent two athletes to the University of Chicago Interscholastic Track Meet.

The 1907 Columbia Normal Academy football team.  Image from the 1908 Mirror, courtesy of the State Historical Society of Missouri.

Note: Images are used in accordance with their “terms of use” as I understand those terms.  Recopying or republishing these images may be restricted or forbidden.

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