Cooper College

Moundville, Missouri

There was an early desire in Moundville to have a quality school. In the early 1890's a meeting was held to raise money in order to start a "college" in Moundville. A railroad contractor, W. H. Cooper, led the efforts. Construction was started, but the college was not ready for the fall 1892 semester, so the first classes were held in the Methodist church. The large brick building was two stories high with a tall bell tower above. Well known educator, Professor Miles, was the main teacher.

In the early 1900's Cooper sold the building and it was later sold to Professor Miles. Ill health caused Professor Miles to trade the building to Reverend Lowe. Soon the college was losing money and by 1911, it was sold to the Moundville community and was then used as the public school for a number of years.

The building stood until the late 1950's when a tornado damaged it. It was not being used as a school by then, so the building was torn down in 1959. The bell was placed as a memorial to the old school in what is now the Moundville park which was the location of Cooper College.

Here is an excellent photo of Cooper College. I do not know what year this was, but hope to find out. Some have speculated that it was taken in 1893 because of the newly planted trees. 


This is a most interesting photograph.  Not only is it a great photo of the College, but it also shows that Moundville was Prairie in 1890's when the photo must have been taken.

I have made enlarged scans of sections of the above photo. Click on an area of the photo and you will be taken to a page that shows a close up. If you can identify anyone, let me know.

Here are some other Cooper scenes:

"Intellectual Boulevard." Thanks to Lindell Haverstic for this scan.
Thanks to Lindell Haverstic for sharing this scan of "Lover's Lane"

Thanks to Dennis Boatright for sending me this letterhead. His grandfather was a student at Cooper College.

Thanks to Marion Shrimplin for sharing the two images above of the former Cooper College building following the 1958 Moundville Tornado. At that time it was serving as the Moundville Elementary School. The building was torn down due to the extent of the damage.

If you have a photo of a Cooper College Graduate or Scene, send me a scan and I will add it to this site. Follow this link to see photos of submitted Cooper College Grads.

Take a look at the 1895 Cooper College Catalog.

See several Cooper College Views from the Ward Family Collection

View a photo of the Cooper Graduating Class of 1901.

View a photo of the Cooper Students in 1908.

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This page was designed and is maintained by Lyndon Irwin