Dover Academy

A building with a flag on top

Description automatically generated with low confidence

The History of Dover Academy

Dover (population 172) is located in the central area of Bureau County in north-central Illinois.  U.S. Route 34 is the main roadway to and from Dover, connecting the town to nearby Princeton, just 5 miles to the southwest. According to the webaddress of , Dover was “laid out” in 1837 and originally named Livingston. The name was later to changed to Dover.  The town was officially incorporated in 1873.

This same Geneology Trails web address (listed above) provides the following information on the Dover Academy:

Dover citizens gathered and made the decision to create an academy in their town. The townspeople agreed to construct a building to house the academy.  The cost of the building would be nearly $5,100 and would be named Dover Institute. The Dover Institute began in May of 1858. It was officially incorporated in 1859 and named the Dover Academy.  The school ran from 1858 through 1867 before ending its usage as a school. In 1876 a third story was added and the school re-opened. After two more years of operation the school eventually closed once more. The building would still see itself used for education purposes once again, as school opened yet again in 1881. The third and final version of the school closed 1887.

The building lied dormant until 1901, when it was purchased by the Deaconness Association of the Congregational Church. It’s fate is a sad one, as it was burned to the ground in 1919. A new public school was since built on these grounds.

The Dover Academy is included on the Glory Days site for the following reasons:

*There were very few high schools established in the 1850s.  Most students went to 8th grade and then to the working world.

*Dover Academy allowed students to continue their education without having to travel far to do so.

*The term “high school” was not likely utilized at that time. Academy or Institute was a more common term for any school after the 8th grade.

If you have any further information on Dover Academy or the town of Dover itself, please contact us at A photo of the building is especially being sought.

High school aged children of Dover today attend Princeton High School.

Dover Academy Quick Facts

Year opened:                  1858

Year first closed:             1867

Year re-opened:              1876

Year closed as a school: 1878

No Athletics Offered

Need Your Help

We are hopeful an area “buff” will fill in the open areas regarding the history and accomplishments of Dover Academy.  If you have any information you can offer please complete a Guest Commentary Form. We would really like to share a photo of the old school building to share on this page. You can e-mail us photos and information at or write to us at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva Ave.

Chicago,  Il.   60631


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