Dakota Interior Academy of Northern Illinois

Interior Academy of Northern Illinois
A black and white photo of a church

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Dakota, Illinois – picture from 1970 History of Stephenson County

The History of Interior Academy, Dakota

Dakota, Illinois (population 499) is located 10 miles northeast of Freeport along Illinois Route 75 in northeast Stevenson County in Northern Illinois. It is about 25 miles northwest of Rockford along Trask Bridge/Cedarville Road. Dakota currently has a public high school, but once had a private academy for high school-aged students called the Interior Academy.

Interior Academy was first formed as the College of Northern Illinois in 1882, under the leadership of local pastor Frank Werzel. That closed in 1897 and became a high school called the Interior Academy of Northern Illinois. At that time, Dakota High School had not been established. The Academy was known for its challenging education. It is cited in the 1970 history of Stevenson County that ” … many students went to the academy for a year or two, but few ramined to graduate.”

Rising costs and enrollment decline forced the school to cease high school curriculum operations in 1913, but was used as a K-8 boarding school until the 1963-64 school year.

The building’s fate was soon realized after the closure. It was left for neglect and was torn down in 1965.

Dakota Interior Academy “Quick Facts”:

Year school organized:                                   1882

Year high school program began:                   1897

Year high school program ceased:                 1912

Year closed:                                                    1964

Building Status:                                              Razed

School Colors:                                                Unknown if existant

School Mascot:                                               Unknown if existant

School Song:                                                  Unknown if existant

Need Your Information

The Interior Academy may have offered sports and other extra-curriculars, but that is not known at this time. We are hopeful an area “buff” will fill in the open areas regarding the history and accomplishments of the Interior Academy.  If you have any information you can offer including our unknown “Quick Facts” information, please drop us an E-mail at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net – or – you can write to us at:

Illinois High School Glory Days
6439 N. Neva
Chicago, IL  60631

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