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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Kemper Military Academy

Kemper Military School was founded by Frederick T Kemper as "The Kemper Family School" and the first class took place on June 3, 1844. At the time it was just a one-room schoolhouse and there were only 5 students enrolled. But by the fall of the same year, enrollment had expanded tenfold. Its popularity increased over the years and it expanded to meet the demand, eventually moving out of the original location to the buildings it would inhabit for all of its subsequent years. By the 1860's, the school was large enough that it was able to remain open during the Civil War, one of few to do so. Graduates of Kemper actually fought on both sides of the Civil War and many even participated in a local battle near the school.

Following the death of its founder in 1881, one of Kemper's earliest and most successful students, Colonel T A Johnston, became its president and the school itself was transformed into a proper military academy. It was thus renamed Kemper Military School. Thomas A Johnston had served as a Cavalry Scout in the CSA as a Kemper Alumni and after the Civil War he returned to Kemper as an instructor. Johnson then went on to lead the school for nearly 50 years, and it was under his leadership that Kemper became a highly regarded military academy, one that notable graduate Will Rogers famously referred to as the "West Point of the West".

Enrollment increased fairly steadily over the years until it ultimately peaked at 544 in the 1960's. But, following leadership turmoils and public distrust of the military during Vietnam, by 1976 only 86 cadets were enrolled. Over the years, the military academy had created an expensive athletic program that produced several NFL players, but by the 2000's could no longer afford it. By this time, years of poor management and misuse of funds had emptied the school's accounts and debts were piling up.

"On May 31, 2002, 158 years after Frederick T. Kemper taught his first class at the Boonville Boarding School, the flag was lowered for the final time and the Kemper Military School was closed."

Click here for video.

See the previous visit (from 2008) here.

Source(s): 1, 2

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

Kemper Military Academy © 2015 sublunar

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