The oldest institution of learning in this vicinity was the old Shad schoolhouse situated on the sight of the present meat market. It took its name from the weathervane in the form of a fish which surmounted the building. This school was built by public subscription and as money was scarce in those days all of the subscriptions were in terms of lumber, iron or work. The work was commenced in 1823. Forty years after its erection it was bought by Bryan Hanaway and moved to the lower end of Elmira Street to make room for a new School house which, converted into a meat market, still stands on the old site.
The McKean Female Seminary was founded about 1838. It was situated on West Main Street, on the site of the double house owned by the late Mr. N.M. Pomeroy. The building served the double purpose of school and church, and is now used by Mrs. Harry Mitchell as a barn. It was named for Gen. Samuel McKean, by whom it was endowed in his will. In the year 1839, Miss Mary Sayer was principal.
The Troy Academy was built in 1840 by James Riddle under the direction of Colonel Pomeroy. Among those who originated and aided in the undertaking were Colonel Pomeroy, V.M. Long, Francis Smith and S W Paine. In 1842 it was incorporated and for some time received aid from the state, but this was not its only means of support. Its chief revenue was derived from the tuition, paid by the students in cash. This building was long used for the Academy, and today, as a dwelling-house, it stands on its original site on Paine’s Hill.
The Academy opened in 1842, with Rev. Freeman Lane, an Episcopal clergyman, as the first principal. The rates were moderate. Mr. Charles C Paine was the second principal and his assistant was a Miss Greenough.
The third principal was Mr. Ezra Osden Long. Miss Margaret Eglin was assistant teacher. A little later Mr. Long died and Miss Eglin continued as assistant to Mr. Liddell and later, for a time, with Ambrose Axtell, who succeeded Mr. Liddell. Miss Eglin was succeeded by Miss Ribley, of Owego. The curriculum at this time embraced " a thorough English education" or a study of literature including a study of the classics. There was a primary branch and a common branch and a higher English branch including Geometry, Surveying, Chemistry, Natural Philosophy, Botany, Classics and Modern Language, Drawing and Painting. The advantages of this imposing array of subjects could be procured for the munificent sum of from one dollar and a half per term in the primary branches to five dollars per term for classics and modern languages. At this time board could be procured for from one dollar to a dollar and a half a week.
In 1848 H Boardman Smith was principal; and his sister, Grace, had charge of the primary department. The Kellum family was next in succession. Mr. John H Kellum was principal, his sister, Augusta, as teacher of the primary department and Mrs. Kellum as music teacher.The next principal was P. S. Ruth, who also served as Rector of the Episcopal Church. It has been said of Mr. Ruth that he had a withered arm, but a sound head.
Next came Dr Pratt, who was interested in music to the extent of having the pupils learn and recite their lessons in a sing-song way. On good authority it is stated that there was no school from the spring of 1854 to the fall of 1856.
During the summer of 1856 the building underwent some necessary repairs. In the fall, school was opened with Hiram C Johns as principal and for the first term his assistant was a Miss Seymour; for the second term his assistant’s place was filled by Albert C Hopkins.
About this time many strong debates were held in the Academy on the question of slavery, for at that time there were just as many who believed in that great evil as there were who opposed it.
The next year (1857) a former pupil states that there were one hundred and one pupils in all grades in the school, some of them very far advanced. Mr. Johns was succeeded by J J Crandall with Miss Willmot and Miss Mary Bowen as assistants.
Rev Sidney Mills was principal during a part of the year 1857 and during the year 1858.Besides teaching he put in his spare time as minister to the Presbyterian Church. One of Mr. Mills strong points was that he was a superior elocutionist and to him belongs the credit of introducing oratory into the school.
Prof Daniels succeeded Rev Mills. He was noted for his strict discipline. He was succeeded in turn by Prof Cowry, Mr. Goss, Prof F N Cross and Prof Verrill from Maine taught in 1865.
There was open all this period a district school. But in 1868 a public school was founded which absorbed all others. The first principal of the Troy Public Schools was Prof Johnson, he had no assistant at first, but later he was ably assisted by Mrs. Delos Rockwell. There were Primary, Intermediate, Grammar and High School departments under this system.
Mr. Hutton re-organized the whole school into grades, as there had been no real grades, as we know them now. Mr. Hutton was succeeded by Professor J T McCollum, so the Troy Public School became the Troy Graded and High School. Professor McCollum was in charge of the school for a number of years and it is partly due to his excellent management and business ability that the Troy school established such a fine reputation. Professor McCollum was succeeded by Professors Fleisher, Murray, Whatenecht, Gordinier, White, Denison, Crosley and Croman.
Two teachers who served for many years in Troy High School were Mrs. Sarah Willett and Miss Grace Sayles. Many alumni are thankful that they had the privilege of studying under these enthusiastic and devoted teachers. Their influence has been very great.
The school at one time boasted a fine library of 1,500 volumes. These books were moved down town to form a nucleus for the Public Library. In 1913 an agricultural department was added to the school and in 1915 a large annex to the school was built. In this year a complete modernization was undertaken with the Junior High School idea as the main objective.
In 1917, the Van Dyne Civic Building was added to the school plant. This is the gift of Mr. E E VanDyne to the people of Troy and vicinity. It contained an auditorium with a large stage and fine scenery and a moving picture outfit, a gymnasium for basketball, indoor athletics, dancing, etc, a kitchen, a free public library, and rest rooms. This was a wonderful gift and was highly prized by the citizens and students.
In 1920 Mr. Henry P Davison gave to Troy Borough School District the beautiful house known as the Principal’s Home. This was completely furnished. Mr. Davison also purchased and remodeled the buildings known as the Davison Apartments. In doing this he had two objects in mind. First, that the income from these apartments would pay for the upkeep of the Principal’s Home, and second, that the center of the town would be greatly beautified.
In 1921 the Alumni Association erected a second annex to the building. This balanced the annex on 1915 and made an imposing looking structure.
The entire building was destroyed by fire on January 6, 1922. The present building was financed by what is known as the Troy Plan. Sessions were begun in the building March 18, 1924.
In 1925 a Commercial department was added to the courses of instruction and in 1926 a Home Economics department. This same year the school was officially approved as a Junior-Senior High School. In 1932 the playground was enlarged and modernized.
The growth of the school in recent years has been quite remarkable as is shown by the following table of enrollment in grades 9-12.
1931-32……... 332 Students
The present needs of the school are better facilities for the Music department and a larger library in the school building.