Grand River College was organized and opened to the public in 1850. It was located at Edinburg, Missouri, in Grundy County. It was named Grand River College Association, and was under the direction of the Baptists of Grundy and adjoining counties. After it had operated a few years, the name was changed to Grand River College.
The college remained at Edinburg until 1892 when the trustees deemed it necessary to enlarge it and move it to Gallatin. A contract was made between the college and Gallatin. Some of the provisions were:
1. It was to belong to, and be under the control of six Baptist churches and their associations. The college would be open to students without reference to their religious belief.
2. A site consisting of a few acres adjoining the City of Gallatin on the south was agreed on as a suitable location for the college.
3. Before August 4, 1893, a college building had to be erected, to cost no less than $15,000 including building and furnishings.
4. The college building was not to be removed from Edinburg to Gallatin.
The Gallatin citizens kept their promise and secured a small plot of land for the campus. They soon had a building with 21 spacious rooms including a chapel with a seating capacity for 400 people. The whole building was heated by steam, perfectly lighted, and ventilated.
The college opened it’s first session at Gallatin, Oct. 3, 1893. During the first year, 106 students were enrolled, 60 others enrolled in the preparatory department, taught in the old college building at Edinburg.
The students were admitted into the various departments on a certificate of examination given by an examining committee. The college was to be a co-educational institution and it was said to have been the first college in the state to admit women on equal terms with men.
The school was divided into two semesters. The degrees offered were “Bachelor of Science,” “Bachelor of Arts,” and “Master of Arts.” Certificates of graduation were given in any department upon the completion of the studies in the area.
At first, the out of town students boarded with local families for $2.50 to $5 per week. Around 1900, an addition was added to the east end of the original building in which the president and his family lived and which housed the women students. A large central dining room occupied a part of the first floor, where a couple did the cooking, walking each day from their home in North Gallatin. Later, a men’s dormitory was built across the street west of the main building.
The tuition fee was $38 with added fees in the different departments. Unfortunately, sometime in the early 1900s the college was forced to close because of financial reason. A little later, William Jewel College assumed it, and it flourished for several years. About 1910, the college had the misfortune of having to close its doors. It was sold to an eastern educator who brought his family to Gallatin to live. The college was doing well until the building was destroyed by fire.
Researched by Wilbur Bush