May 21

Stone Academy existed before Iowa statehood

by in Iowa

Originally known as Big Grove Township School No. 1, the historical Stone Academy was a site for learning years before Iowa earned statehood. Although it operated as a school from 1842 to 1953, it is now an historical site and educational center — often a field trip destination for area school children.

Memorial at the Stone Academy historical site.

In 2001, the site was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Unfortunately, none of the information has yet been digitized.

According to signage at the site, the school was founded at a time when Native Americans roamed the area and children were often warned to be watchful on their way to and from the facility. Many times the students were young men of age, often older than the teacher, who studied during the winter downtime after harvest.


The site, which is an excellent quiet spot for a picnic, is open on Sundays from 2-5 p.m. between Memorial and Labor days or by appointment. According to Preservation Iowa, some work has been done to preserve the school, much of it done in the wake of a tornado in the 1970s.

Stone Academy Sign

Stone Academy is located two miles north of Solon on State Hwy 1 (which leads to Mount Vernon and was known as Old Military Road, a thoroughfare and stagecoach route from Dubuque to Iowa City in the 1840s).

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2 Responses to “Stone Academy existed before Iowa statehood”

  1. From deb:

    They’ve done a lot to restore this property. I’m not sure it is worth it. And, hey, you didn’t mention the crazy neighbors’ sign. Gotta love it.

    Posted on June 1, 2013 at 3:32 am #
  2. From ReallyDonnaReed:

    I driven by this spot several times & had no idea what it was or why it was there. Thanks!

    Posted on June 15, 2013 at 9:57 am #