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McCray-Dewey Alumni Looking To Fund Improved Monument

By Charlie Feldman

Donations are still being taken for the improvements to the monument to the old McCray-Dewey School site, even as the finishing touches are being made.

The school, built in 1929, saw its last graduating class in 1959 when Triad High School opened. A monument was placed on the site in 2015. That is being expanded.

“We’re building a wall around it and pavers going down to the patio,” said Allen Holloway, Class of ’53. “They’re finishing it up probably this week. More brick patio, brick walls to the back of the monument.

“There was a group of us who felt it would be good to have some kind of memorial there,” he said. “A committee of the McCray-Dewey alumni association.”

The high school was named after the free McCray-Dewey Academy that was open to Troy residents under 26 years old. It opened in 1886 in a refurbished house formerly owned by Dr. John S. Dewey and his wife Angeline McCray-Dewey, closed due to financial reasons in 1890, reopened a few years later, closed in 1901, then was open from 1905 to 1917. It had been closed for 10 more years by the time the school district and its developers successfully sued to tear it down and use the land for a new high school. Troy then passed a bond issue and the new school opened with a parade and speeches in 1930. The courts gave $4,000 to the academy for the land, then ordered them to dissolve, pay off their bonds to operate it and never use the name again.

The new high school used it instead as a kind of tribute. Now it, too, is gone and its monument is now being enhanced to help new generations remember its name.

When the changes have been completed, Holloway said, “We don’t have anything planned as far as I’m concerned. To my knowledge there’s not going to be anything like that – a dedication or ribbon-cutting.

“We are about two thousand dollars short of what it’s going to cost,” Holloway added. “The Cliff Landscaping Company is donating $2000 themselves. The fellow who owns the landscaping went to school there. He didn’t graduate from there but he went when it was a junior high school. Owner is Adam Cange. Out of Maryville, Illinois.

“We have been having a drive but we’ve reached a point where it’s been real stagnant,” he said.

Donations may be made to McCray-Dewey Reunion c/o Bill Moeller, 59 Will Vina Drive, Collinsville, IL 62234.

Deadline? Probably by the first of April.

That’s when the bill will come.

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