HILL MILITARY ACADEMY

Compiled by Mary Farrand Robson, under direction of President Joseph A. Hill.
[From Hill Military Academy Directory Un-dated]


Engraving Left: Bishop Scott Academy

High on the side of Rocky Butte, lies Hill Military Academy, occupying 150 acres of wooded hill-side. From its Campus a gorgeous view of the Columbia River valley, far below, unfolds its beauty; Oregon's three great Mountain Peaks, -- Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, and Mt. St. Helens, -- are seen; also the majestic Columbia and Willamette Rivers, rolling onward to the Sea! -- It is a beautiful Campus!

Crowning the Butte is the Joseph Wood Hill Memorial Park, honoring Dr. J. W. Hill, one of Oregon's most beloved Educators, and father of President James Adams Hill, and Vice-President Benjamin Wood Hill, of Hill Military Academy; at the base of the Butte is the Shriner's Hospital for Crippled Children; and the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sorrows, sponsored by the Order of Servite Fathers, also lies on the Butte.

The Institution, now known as Hill Military Academy, received its early start in 1852, in a crude log-cabin built by the Reverend William Richmond and his wife, at Yamhill, Oregon. The Epscopal Church has always concerned itself with education, and has been a founder of schools and colleges where, formerly, there were none, and is a dis-believer in co-education, to quote from the June, 1924 Quarterly of Oregon Historical Society: "In March, 1851 Reverend William Richmond set out from New York by way of Panama, as a Missionary to Oregon. He arrived in Portland in May of that year, and a short time later, took up a claim about eight miles northwest of the town of Yamhill. The next year he wrote: 'On Tuesday, I returned to my mountain cabin, found Mrs. Richmond well and her school-room, which she had commenced before I left home, covered in. The rest of the week was spent in labor on the school-room. All timber except the boards for the floor, was procured from our claim -- cedar shingles made, fir-trees cut and split for boards, etc. Of course it is a rude building, 16 x 16 feet, forming the cabin. It will probably cost about $200.00, and I am in great need of assistance in paying it. On Monday, the 16th of March, Mrs. Richmond commenced her school with six scholars present.'

"This school was later moved to Milwaukie, then to Oswego and finally to Portland, in 1870, and its name changed to Bishop Scott Grammar and Divinity School in honor of the first Episcopal Bishop of Oregon Territory, and was under the direction of the Right Reverend B. Wistar Morris. There followed an eight-year period of varying vacissitudes, and a bad fire in 1877.

"A new building was erected on the site of the old one, and Dr. J. W. Hill, of Connecticut, a graduate of Yale University, was secured as Head Master. Dr. Hill describes his coming as follows: 'When I, as a Young man, fresh from College, entered upon this work, it was certainly a day of small things, as far as the school was concerned. I well remember the opening day in 1878, when I sat at the table with five boarding-pupils, one of whom, fortunately for me, was a full-pay pupil, two of them were half-pay, and the other two paid their board and tuition by doing janitor work about the school. Here it may be proper to say that from the beginning, I had assumed not only the management of the school, but also, the financial responsibility,--or in other words---that I conducted it under a lease from the Bishop, until 1889, when Oregon became a diocese.'"

Soon after young Mr. Hill arrived, he took a course in Medicine at the Willamette Medical School and received his degree, but never practiced. He immediately changed the name of the school to Bishop Scott Grammar School. This name was used till 1887, when the school was changed to a Military Academy and Military Training was introduced, and the school called Bishop Scott Academy which has always been associated with the name of Dr. J. W. Hill, M. D., as leasee.

The first Military instruction was in charge of Col. F. E. Patterson, a West Point graduate who did not enter actual Service, but came to the Academy as instructor. The only Government supervision or regulation at that time, was a loan of Springfield Rifles, remanants of the old Civil War. At that time an Armory was built, and Samuel W. Scott was Head Master and Teacher of the Classics. In 1889 there were added to the Faculty--John W. Gavin, Harrison G. Platt, both Yale men, and Allen M. Ellsworth and Walter A. Holt. Soon after the arrival of John W. Gavin, the first foot-ball team in the Northwest was organized under the leadership of James White. They played their first game--the first foot-ball game to be played in the Northwest--against a team organized by Will Lipman and called The Star Athletic Club; this game was played in the Fall of 1889, and from this developed Multnomah Athletic Club of Portland. The first Inter-State game was played the following season, with a team from Seattle, Washington,--the Olympic Club team. Over half of the men on the Multnomah Club were from Bishop Scott Academy. A baseball team was organized in 1890, which was one of the earliest baseball teams in the Northwest.

Then came the Panic of 1892, and enrollment dropped tremendously.

In 1898 Dr. Hill tried to renew his lease with the Episcopal Diocese, and asked for compensation for the erection of an Armory and other improvements, by being awarded property on Washington and 19th avenue. The Board of Trustees at first agreed to do so, but later repudiated their action. In 1900 the Board refused to renew Dr. Hill's lease, and in 1901 he refused to work on a salary, and left, forming his own school. He erected a new building on Marshall street, Block 13, Goldsmith Addition, where he owned two lots, and purchased three additional lots. There were practically no houses in the neighborhood, and he thought there was ample ground for all time. The building he erected was a four-story, wooden building, with a donjon-tower.

The Panic of 1907 forced Dr. Hill into involuntary bankruptcy, and in 1908 a corporation was created, placing the majority of the stock in the name of Mr. Joseph A. Hill, Dr. Hill's eldest son. This Corporation paid off its creditors and all indebtedness, and Hill Military Academy was incorporated under the laws of the State of Oregon, with Mr. Joseph A. Hill as its President.

The period from 1908 to 1922 was one of reorganization. Major G. C. von Egloffstein was Commandant and Joseph A. Hill, President. During this time, the World War I broke and the School went down in enrollment because of the slogan, "I Didn't Raise My Son To Be a Soldier!" Enrollment went down to only ten boys, and when United States entered World War I, three of these went to the first Army Training Camp. That left seven boys. Mr. Hill drilled an Honor Guard composed of girls interested in War work; which later became the Junior League of Portland; they paraded on Decoration Day with seven Companies, each led by a Cadet. This advertisement gave the Academy 28 students the following year. Enrollment picked up, and additional housing was necessary, and expansion was inevitable.

In 1922 the Voters of Oregon passed the Oregon Compulsory School Act, requiring all children between the ages of 8 and 16 years to attend public schools. This measure was sponsored by the Klu Klux Klan. The Law stated that: "Any parent, guardian or other person in the State of Oregon, having control or charge or custody of a child under the age of sixteen years, and of the age of eight years or over, at the commencement of the term of public school of the district in which said child resides, who shall fail or neglect or refuse to send such child to a public school for a period of time a public school shall be held during the current year in said district, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and each day's failure to send such child to a public school shall constitute a separate offense. Provided, that in the following cases, children shall not be required to attend public schools." The four exceptions were: Children physically unable; Children who have completed the eighth grade; Children who live too great a distance from school; and Children being given private instruction, but they must pass an examination every three months. A fine of "not less than $5.00 nor more than $100.00, or imprisonment in the County Jail not less than two days, not more than thirty days; or both such fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court," was imposed. This Act was to be effective the first day of September, 1926.

Three judges of the United States Court, sitting en banc at Portland, united in a decision that this law was unconstitutional, and the case was appealed and brought before the Supreme Court of the United States on June 1, 1925, which declared it unconstitutional and void. Justice McReynolds delivered the opinion of the Court. It held that "the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteed against the deprivation of property without due process of law consequent upon the unlawful interference with the free choice of patrons, present and prospective; and declared the right to conduct schools was property; that parents and guardians, as part of their liberty, might direct the education of children by selecting teachers and places. Also that the schools under consideration were not unfit or harmful to the public, and that the enforcement of the challenged statute would unlawfully deprive them of patronage, and thereby, destroy their business and property."

No question was raised concerning the power of the State, reasonably, to regulate all schools, to inspect, supervise, and examine them, their teachers, and pupils; to require all children of proper age to attend some school; and that certain standards of curriculum and teachers be required. "The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all government in this Union reposes, excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The Child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations. Generally speaking, Corporations cannot claim for themselves the liberty which the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees. But Schools have business and property for which they claim protection. They are threatened with destruction through the unwarranted compulsion exercised over present and prospective patrons of their schools. The injunctions here sought, are not against the exercise of any proper power; but protection is asked against arbitrary, unreasonable and unlawful interference with their patrons and the ensuing destruction of their business and property. The suits are not premature; but present and very real,--not merely a possibility in the remote future. Prevention of impending injury by unlawful action is a well recognized function of courts of equity. The decree was affirmed."

About the time this controversy over Oregon Compulsory School Act was going on, negotiations were under way for the purchase of Rocky Butte,--a small volcanic formation just outside the boundary of the City of Portland. It is the beginning of the Great Columbia Gorge. The property was first located upon by Charles G. Schramm in 1859. It was deeded by the United States Government, through President U. S. Grant, on June 10, 1879; and was acquired by the Oregon Railroad & Navigation Company in 1882, in the time of Henry Villard, because of the marvelous rock that makes-up the Butte. This rock was used extensively before the advent of cement, for building purposes. The Penitentiary at Walla Walla, the Portland Hotel, Old Commonwealth Building, in Portland, and all culverts on the Union Pacific Railway, the Old Steel Bridge, and many other prominent structures, were built from this rock. But, with the coming of cement for building material, the Butte's value declined, and in 1923 the Butte was purchased by Joseph A. Hill, as a future sight for Hill Military Academy, which was in need of expansion.

This was also the period of the visit of Queen Marie, of Romania, with her son, Prince Nickolas and her daughter, Princess Ileana, to Portland, on December 19, 1926. The Hill Military Academy Cadets were honored by being part of her Escort at the dedication of the Museum at Maryhill, Washington.

After the purchase of Rocky Butte, the Academy, in 1931, built 13 concrete buildings on the North-end of Rocky Butte. There were barracks, school buildings, large Armory, flag-pole, Mess Hall and Kitchen, Executive offices, and housing for Staff, Faculty and Employees; and Hill Military Academy moved to Rocky Butte, in October, 1931. Then came the Depression; . . . All Junior financing was stopped and the Academy experienced great difficulty in securing furniure and school supplies. Everybody was dependent and when the Banks were closed on January l, 1933, by order of President Roosevelt, ways and means had to be devised to feed and keep up the Academy. One of the New Deal Ideas was the Work Project Authority. The Academy suggested the construction of a road to the top of the Butte.

In 1935, the County of Multnomah, with the aid of Federal Funds, and helped by the Park Rose Lions Club, started the construction of a Scenic Highway to the top of the Butte. It proved to be one of the most scenic drives in all U. S. A. The Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners at the time, was Mr. Frank L. Shull; George W. Buck was Road Master; and Paul C. Northrup, Assistant Road Master. The road was built to the top of the Butte, and the Academy gave the County the right-of-way for the road. The rock used for abutments and walls, was carted from Rocky Butte Quarry, and worked into shape and place under the guidance of Ralph Curico, Master Stone Mason--an American of Italian extraction, who was very skullful in this type of work, and who trained large groups of men in the art of stone-masonry and building. The training given these men was one of the great secondary values of this project to Portland.

The building of this road to the top of Rocky Butte was done during the trying days of the Depression of 1939, and proclaimed by the County Commissioners the most worth-while projecf that was undertaken by the Commissioners. No constructive work was being done at the time . . . only men sweeping leaves from one side of the street to the other, to keep them busy and on a pay-roU. Not only was this Scenic Road built, but, on top of the Butte, was developed a Park, dedicated to the memory of the late Doctor Joseph Wood Hill, one of Oregon's early outstanding Educators, and for many years Head of Bishop Scott Academy, from which grew the present Hill Military Academy.

In 1938 it was decided to build a road down the other side of the Butte, but because of the very steep grade, a tunnel was proposed. The tunnel idea was, at first, ridiculed, but the Butte was too steep to make a turn without making an unusually large fill, extending out from the Butte, which was not practical. So the tunnel was constructed; and proved so satisfactory that many other tunnels have been patterned after it, over the State. The idea was to make the turn in the tunnel, not outside in the open.

After the completion of Joseph Wood Hill Memorial Park and the two roads approaching it, the County Commissioners--and particularly Mr. Frank Shull,-were highly complemented for having vision enough to employ these Work Project Authority men in a worth-while project that was of real benefit to the community. There has been no project by WPA that has rendered so much pleasure to Tourists and Sightseers as this development of Rocky Butte; nor one that has created as much development and resource. Today, Joseph Wood Hill Memorial Park is one of the things to see in Portland. The view from its Heights, over the Columbia Gorge is marvelous!--and the view of Portland in its evening-attire of brilliant lights, is something to remember!

Here is located the first Air Beacon, which guides all air-ships in and out of Portland. Many new homes now cluster at the base of the Butte.

A vocational Building was built in 1936, but burnt in 1938.

The Fall of 1937 saw Hill Military Academy's foot-ball team off for Old Mexico to play a match-game with the team of the Mexican Polytechnic Institute, under the guidance of Coach Jack Wahl. It was a wonderful experience for the Cadets. They returned winners with a score of 24 to 6 in their favor. One of their number, Arthur Chase, had to be left behind in a Mexican hospital for a few weeks, because of an attack of Appendicitis, which required immediate surgery. However, he had the best of care and attention, and made a speedy recovery and return. The Winter of this same year (1937) snows were unusually heavy, and caused the Lamelle roof of the Armory to collapse. This was, also, the year the World Famous Athlete, Glen Cunningham, first appeared at Hill Military Academy's Indoor Relay Carnival, which is given annually.

In 1938, Hill Military Academy became a non-profit corporation; and the following year--1939--President Joseph A. Hill was elected President of Puget Sound Naval Academy on Bainbridge Island, near Seattle, Washington, and Hill Military Academy became a Twin-Academy, with Mr. Joseph A. Hill, President of both Academies.

1942 was marked by two tragic events. First, Cadet James M. Harper of Pasco, Washington, in rescuing a fellow Cadet from a falling builder, while the two were exploring a Cave near the Campus, was himself caught by the boulder and lay pinned beneath it for 13 hours, before his desperately working rescuers could free him, and he died, soon after from the effects. The Second,--the death of Young Captain Joseph Adams Hill, II, who was killed in action in the African Campaign of World War II, on November 8, 1942. Captain Hill, son of Mr. Benjamin W. HiU, was named after his Uncle Joseph A. Hill. Young Captain Joe, II, was being groomed for his Uncle's place, to carry on the tradition of the family.

In 1944, a new Gymnasium, conforming to the structural-unity of the Campus, was built, and formerly opened by the Annual Halloween Dance given October 27, 1944. The Gymasium is completely modern, and houses a Canteen, Bowlingalley, Billiards, Locker rooms, Showers, and Tailor-Shop. It has a regulation Basket Ball Court, with a playing-surface 50x90 feet, Fluorescent lighting, a Spectator's Balcony accommodating 2500 people. Also it has a well equipped and lighted stage, with Scenic Curtain and Property-rooms to be used for Dramatics. An outside Swimming Pool v~as constructed beside the Gymnasium for the pleasure of the "Dypes" or Junior Cadets.

It was this year, on December 6, the great 184-foot Flag-Pole, made from one straight Douglas Fir stick, had to be taken down because of dry-rot, and the severity of the East Wind that sweeps down the Columbia Gorge, made it dangerous. It had stood for 13 years.

The Academy was now enjoying a steady growth and improvement. October 19, 1945, a hot-water boiler in the Kitchen of the Mess Hall exploded, wrecking the Mess Hall and injuring several Cadets. Improvements were made at once and after about 60 days everything was as usual.

Highly efficient, record-breaking Rifle Teams were developed during 1946 and 1947; they broke Shooting records, and brought National Trophy Cups to the West Coast for the first time in the history of each Cup. The 1946 Team won First, Second and Third Places in the preliminary Sixth Army Area Matches. Something no one school had ever done before. This gave our Team the right to compete Nationally, for the Intercollegiate Trophy Cup, which they won, and brought the Cup across the Mississippi for the first time. The 1947 Team won the William Randolph Hearst National Trophy Cup, which, too, had never been on the West Coast before. This is outstanding sportsmanship for any School, and an event of National scope in West Coast Sportsmanship!

The graduating class of 1947 dedicated a Memorial Chapel which was secured from the Army from Camp Adair and moved to the Hill Military Academy Campus.

Each year certain set activities take place and are eagerly looked forward to by Hill Military Academy Cadets. These highlights are: The Trip to Salem to See how Government is operated; Cross Country Run, Indoor Relay Carnival, and Basketball Tournaments; Rifle Team Shooting Matches; Government Inspection; HMA Minstrels; Junior and Senior Proms; and Commencement Week. Mrs. Benjamin W. Hill is in charge of social life of the Campus, and sponsors all Cadet Dances and Festivities.

Being an Honor School, Hill Military Academy has the privilege of sending one Cadet a year, to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. The Candidate must be recommended by President Joseph A. Hill, and the Commandant of the Academy. The Candidate and three Alternates, are sent up for West Point Examinations, which are usually held at Ft. Lewis, Washington, for this locality. These examinations must be passed before the Candidate is received.

In both World Wars, Hill Military Academy has had large representation, and produced much Officer-material; many of them served with outstanding bravery, gallantry, and honor; many of them did not return; and some of them returned disabled. All were brave and did their part. Hill Military Academy is proud of its Sons and of their achievements! . . . "It believes that Boys of America have inherited their manifold blessings from a disciplined ancestry, and should be trained to preserve this heritage, and to transmit it, enriched, to a grateful posterity; * * The making of men who are worthy to live because they are not afraid to die."

And so, through the years, as they roll Class after Class into the "March of the Alumni," "Mr. Joe" (President Joseph A. Hill), and "Mr. and Mrs. Ben" (Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin W. Hill), and Hill Military Academy are real and cherished Memories.