This article examines the organization and growth of Northwestern Classical Academy as a stand-alone Christian school in Orange City, Iowa. Founded in 1882, it was an institution that helped fulfill the northwest Iowa Dutch-American colonists’ aspirations for a community where, in words of Henry Hospers, "they might live under the shadow of the Church and School [kerk en school]." The Academy, a private preparatory school at the secondary level, was intended to be “an Institution of learning for the promotion of Science and Literature in harmony with, and Religion as expressed in, the Doctrinal Standards of the Reformed Church in America.” By 1894, its first permanent building was opened (originally Academy Hall, now Zwemer Hall). The founding and growth of the Academy is illustrated in this article not only by archival photographs but also by attention to leaders such as founder Henry Hospers and Principals James F. Zwemer and Thomas Welmers. Furthermore, analysis of graduates such as B.D. Dykstra, Hendrina Hospers, Jeane Noordhoff, James Muilenburg, and Jacob Heemstra help unpack some of the life and legacy of early Northwestern. After World War I, Northwestern was stable enough to expand. In 1924, a second permanent building joined Academy Hall on campus, and in 1928 the Academy became, in effect, a feeder school to a new Northwestern Junior College. (In 1960-1961, the Academy ended and Northwestern became a full four-year college, still self-identifying as a Christian institution affiliated with the Reformed Church in America.)
Anderson, Douglas Firth
"“Our People Excel in the Love of Education”: Northwestern Classical Academy, Iowa, 1882-1928,"
Northwestern Review: Vol. 5
, Article 2.
Available at: https://nwcommons.nwciowa.edu/northwesternreview/vol5/iss1/2