UTAH'S DIXIE HISTORICAL SITES
SONS OF THE UTAH PIONEER - COTTON MISSION CHAPTER
 

A19 - ST. GEORGE (DIXIE) ACADEMY

 
Teachers St. George Academy Dixie Academy Leisure Services

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Where is it?
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The original building still stands today on the southeast corner of Main Street and 100 South Street in St. George. The Dixie College designation has been removed and replaced by a sign indicating that the St. George City Department of Leisure Services now occupies the building.

St. George Academy

It was not until 1871, ten years after St. George was settled that children had anything other than an elementary education available to them. However, on 28 October 1871, those present at a “Bishop’s meeting” voted to establish a high school in St. George to be called the St. George Academy. The Academy was established and survived until 1893 when it was discontinued as a result of lack of funds; however, no schooling was provided between 1874 and 1887. Nevertheless, on 16 July1888, the St. George Stake Presidency granted permission for a St. George Stake Academy to use the lower rooms of the tabernacle for instruction. LDS Church President, Wilford Woodruff was contacted about providing a principal for the academy. The request was referred to Karl G. Maeser, President of Brigham Young University, who recommended that Nephi M. Savage be contacted about accepting a “calling” to teach for a period of five years at a salary of “fifty dollars above the cost of his board and lodging.” Savage accepted and after the five-year time, he was appointed principal of the academy.

 By March of 1890, however, it became clear that the Tabernacle basement was unsatisfactory as a meeting place, due to the fact that the floor was below the level of the group. The rooms were difficult to heat, the ceilings too low, and the entire area was too dark and poorly ventilated. The area was just unhealthy for students. The Academy was shortly thereafter discontinued until 1908 when the Church Board of Education allocated $4,000 toward erecting a new St. George Academy, with work to begin in the fall of 1909. Numerous difficulties, including a devastating flood, were confronted during the construction of the academy building, and it was not opened until Tuesday, September 19, 1911. 

 The resulting building was three stories high, with six rooms on the basement level, six rooms on the main floor, and an auditorium/amusement hall with a seating capacity of 200 on the third floor. The curriculum was designed to provide for four years of high school work. Although the academy was late opening enrollment exceeded expectations with 121 students registering the first week and 135 students enrolling later in the year.

By 1913  the institution was referred to as the Dixie Academy. Later the school became known as Dixie Normal School, Dixie Junior College, Dixie Community College, Dixie College, and, now as Dixie State College of Utah.

Written by R. Wayne Pace, 19 February 2004.   Source:  Edna J. Gregerson. 1993. Dixie College: Monument to the Industry of a Dedicated People: The Evolution of Dixie College as a Public Institution of Higher Education in Utah from 1871 to 1935. Salt Lake City, Utah: Franklin Quest Co, pp. 26-31, 43-51.

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12 May 2007