Constructed in 1774, Kingston Academy illustrates the importance that American colonists placed on education. Founded by the trustees of the freeholders of the City of Kingston, Kingston Academy instructed students in the "learned languages"--Latin and other romance languages--as well as basic mathematics, sciences, and the arts. Only 3 years after the school's opening, however, the British burned the academy and the rest of Kingston to the ground, suspending teaching until 1778. John Vanderlyn, one of the academy's most famous students studied here in the late 1780s and early 1790s, completing his studies in 1791. Vanderlyn, who has many of his paintings on display in the Senate House, is perhaps most famous for the Landing of Columbus, located in the Rotunda of the Capitol in Washington, DC. The building continued its role as a school until 1830, when the city constructed a larger academy on what is now known as Academy Green. Like so many other of the buildings in the Stockade Historic District, the Kingston Academy has had many different owners and uses; in the 19th century a cabinet maker worked out of the building, and in the early 20th century a local newspaper, The Kingston Daily Leader, used the building as a print shop. Today, radio station WGHQ occupies the second floor, and a restaurant operates on the ground floor.
Photograph by John E. Reinhardt
Kingston Academy, c. 1913
Photograph courtesy of John F. Matthews
The Kingston Academy is located in the Stockade Historic District at 82 John Street, at the corner of Crown Street. The ground floor is currently occupied by a restaurant and is open to the public. For more information, call 845-340-9895.