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Timeline: 1851-1880


  • Rev. Williston Jones and his wife open a school ("The School of the Prophets") in parsonage of Presbyterian Church; his intent is to prepare young men for the ministry; school also includes three young women.


  • New York farmer Daniel Coe donates $1,500 to support Jone's school which will provide equal education opportunities for both men and women.

  • The Cedar Rapids Collegiate Institute is incorporated.  Trustees purchase an 80-acre farm.

  • David Blakely is hired as principal  of the Institute.


  • Cedar Rapids Collegiate Institute is suspended due to low attendance.

  • Institute's Board attempts to give acquired property to the Iowa City Presbytery; offer is declined.


  • Many of the original founders of the Cedar Rapids Collegiate Institute create Parson's Seminary, in hopes of securing financial support from the Parsons estate.

  • Parson's Seminary begins its three-year span.


  • Parson's Seminary Building, the west half of Old Main, is completed in the summer; used by the seminary beginning in the fall of its second year.


  • Parsons Seminary Board report in February records institutional debt at $7,000.


  • Due to declining enrollments and increasing debts, the Parsons Seminary suspends operations at conclusion of spring term.


  • New fund-raising efforts are made to begin a new Presbyterian college in Cedar Rapids.


  • Trustees vote to put Parsons Seminary to rest and incorporate a new school, the Coe Collegiate Institute.

  • On September 1, Robert Aaron Condit is appointed Principal of the Coe Collegiate Institute.

  • Coe Collegiate Institute starts its first term on October 1 with 40 pupils.


  • Institute establishes a Conservatory of Music with C. W. Kidder serving as its principal.

  • Fall term enrollment for 1876 is 160 students.


  • First graduates of Coe Collegiate Institute receive their diplomas in June.  Commencement exercises at the First Presbyterian Church.  Six graduates; Miss Maggie S. Cooper is valedictorian.


  • Institute's second graduate class, two graduate.

  • Announcement during the school year; the Institute will become Coe College.


Forward: 1881 to 1890

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