top of page

Ewing College

Ewing, Illinois



“The Town a College Created” was long the only online material available on Ewing College. College bulletins through 1921 have now been digitized and put online by the University of Illinois.  History of Ewing College by Aaron Erastus Prince, as well as a brochure, has also been digitized by Internet Archive.


Ewing High School was founded by a small group from the Baptist Church of Ewing, IL. Dr. John Washburn was the first president of the high school.  The school used the church for classrooms until a building could be built.  When the founders chartered the school and looked for a building site, they decided to create a college.  The bulletin states that Ewing College provided “an education more distinctively Christian than is obtainable elsewhere.”  To meet the diverse needs of a small community, it offered seven departments—collegiate, academic, normal, divinity, law, business, and music.  It offered four-year programs leading to a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees, but it also allowed students the opportunity to attend college taking only such elective courses as their background would warrant. 


The bulletin notes that the school sponsored two literary societies—Pythagorean and Logessian.  Ewing College awarded five prizes each year in oration, declamation, and essay writing—one of the essays in Latin.  The Mary Elizabeth Bryan Prize was donated by her son William Jennings Bryan. 


Through the years the college maintained an enrollment of around 300 students—323 total in 1900—and the town of Ewing grew up around the college.  Ewing College provided training for most of the preachers and teachers of the area.


In 1910-11, what Prince calls the golden age of the school, it experienced a rupture between those wanting a more closely aligned Baptist school and those who did not.  This rupture cost the school its president, four faculty members and fifty students.  Prince felt that the school never fully recovered.


During World War I, many families had to move from the area, and many students went into service.  The Baptist decided to close the college in 1925.


Ewing College Quartet, 

( created 1-31-2017



Bricks and Mortar

The first building at Ewing College was called Wakeman Hall, built in 1871.  It was razed in 1918.  A girl’s dormitory was added in 1872 and razed in 1899.    Willard Hall was added in 1891.  The three-story red brick building served as the administration building and home to the literaty societies until the college closed.  In 1947 the campus was purchased by the Ewing-Northern school district.  Prince notes that Willard Hall was razed in 1952 and a new Ewing-Northern Grade School was built on the site. 


In 1920 the college acquired a three-story brick feed mill building to serve as the boys dormitory, replacing Wakeman Hall.  In 1991 this building was offered free to anyone who would renovate it.  Later razed, it was the last building associated with Ewing College

Willard Hall.  Image credited to Emily Minor, taken from her article "The Town a College Created. ( accessed 1-31-2017


        Colors: Red and White


The association of Ewing College and Sports occurs only twice in newspapers covered by Genealogy Bank.  The first was that the school had won a baseball game against Southern Normal 7-5.  The second occurred after Ewing College had been closed; an editorial stated that perhaps the school should have spent more time at football.


Still College Football Data Warehouse shows teams playing perhaps sporadically between 1904 and 1924.  Several games listed were against high school teams, but along the way Ewing played against Nashville University, Shurtleff College, Southern Normal, and St. Louis Christian Brothers College.


Bulletins show some images of football and baseball teams. The 1906 bulletin shows a women's basketball team.


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.

bottom of page