Grand River College was a co-educational institution, andis said to be the first college in Missouri to admit women on equal terms with men. It opened to the public in 1850 at Edinburg, Mo., and maintained there for 40 years. But because Edinburgh was an inland town, the trustees decided to remove to another location and enlarge its facilities. Gallatin was selected.
Gallatin citizens agreed to furnish the college site and erect a builting to cost not less than $15,000 within two years. The community also agreed to further support the institution with funds. Five acres, known as the Jaems Bolin tract, adjoining the city on the south, was the site selected for the college.
Built in 1893, the college became an alma mater for hundreds of students. The college had seven departments and degrees were granted in Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, and Master of Arts. It was first operated by Pope yeaman, then directed by the Hatton Brothers.
Around 1900 an addition was added to the east end of the original building which housed the college president and his family, and also the women students. At a later date, a men’s dormitory was built across the street west of the main building.
Grand River College became Grand River Academy and served as a preparatory school for William Jewell College when William Jewell College agreed to pay off the mortgage and provide an endowment for the institution. The school was directed at that time by Dr. Dow. In 1909 a $6,000 dormitory was erected but the Academy closed the following year in 1910.
The school reopened in 1914 as a school for girls. A full 4-year course was offered. During the fall of 1918 an attempt was made to make Grand River College an accredited military school for the Student Army Training Corps. Before the government acted upon a petition, the college burned down in 1918. This terminated this institution of higher learning which served Gallatin and the surrounding area.
— taken from the History of Daviess County Schools (AAUW 1976); Daviess County Centennial Edition (1937); and from a historic inventory prepared by Eddie Binney for the Daviess County Historical Society in 1978