The school was named after Methodist Bishop Elizah Hedding. Probably at the time when Hedding College was at its height around 1924, the Methodist Church decided that there were too many educational institutions in Illinois and that they would have a difficult time sub-sidizing them all. In 1922 the last degree was conferred and the college course was discontinued. An attempt to revive the school as a junior college failed (the board of trustees recommended Hedding be re-opened in September 1924 as a junior college). It appears Hedding was a junior college from 1924 - 1926 approximately.
The college was discontinued as an independent educational institution and in 1930 its records were transferred to Illinois Wesleyan University. The four 25-foot limestone pillars of the main building now stand in the gateway of IWU. They were presented to the university by H. Harlan Bloomer, son of a former president of Hedding's Board of Trustees.
The campus was used by the Roosevelt Military Academy for awhile. The building was torn down in 1947. In 1953, a modern, one story, 24 classroom elementary school was constructed at the same location where almost a century before the first cornerstone was laid for Hedding College.
Their school song, 'Alma Mater, The Orange and the Blue', had the following lyrics (pictures below)...
"ALMA MATER, THE ORANGE AND THE BLUE"
"A song to Alma Mater with voices loud and clear; To sing of hearts devoted, Who hold they mem'ries dear; Thro' clouds and sunshine always Our love to thee is true; Here's to the dear old colors - the Orange and the Blue. Oh, Hedding! Dear old Hedding! Live forever; Brave sons and daughters true Will e'er uphold thy colors - the Orange and the Blue"
From the 'History of Knox County' (1878):
The main building was commenced in 1873. It is a substantial brick structure, 71 by 70 feet and three stories above the basement. Main entrances on the east and south. Basement contains three rooms. There is a main hall on the first floor, the south entrance of the main building connecting directly with the hall of wing. On the east side of this hall are the President's office, Treasurer's office, hall to east entrance, reception room and music room. On the west side are three recitation rooms and stairway leading to the second floor and the chapel. Second floor, east of the hall are the recitation room of the Professor of Natural Science, laboratory and museum, also a small music room; west of hall, three recitation rooms. The institution has a small supply of apparatus and quite a good cabinet. The third floor has four rooms on the west side, both of which were tastefully finished and elegantly furnished by the members of the societies. These societies admit both sexes, and are in a very flourishing condition.
The first building, erected in 1856, was a brick structure 70 by 40 and two stories high. The lower story had a north and south entrance, with a commodious hall, on each side of which were three recitation rooms. The upper story contained the chapel. Over the northern portion of the building is the belfry. This, with the addition of some ten feet constitutes the wing of the present college building. The upper story of this wing is now the college chapel. The lower story is now devoted to a reading and library room, janitor room, suite of rooms for the President and a ladies' reception room.
The college building as it now stands furnishes ample room for 500 students. There are three courses of study - the Scientific, of four years; the Latin Classical, of five; and the Classical, of six. The expense of either course, including tuition and incidentals, is only thirty-six dollars per annum.
From the 'Blue Book of the State of Illinois' (1909):
Hedding College, located in the city of Abingdon, Knox County, though under the control of the Methodist church, is non-sectarian in its teaching and numbers among its students and graduates, members of various religious denominations.
This college had its origin in the founding of Hedding Seminary, which was opened Nov. 19, 1855, in an old Methodist church building, still standing, but no longer in use.
In 1857 a school building was erected which now forms the north wing of the present college building. In 1873 an additional building, now the main college building, was begun but not completed till 1876. In the meantime, Aug. 10, 1875, the seminary had been reorganized and incorporated under the laws of the State as Hedding College. Rev. N. C .Lewis was the first principal of the academy and Dr. J. G. Evans the first president of the college. The enrollment for the first collegiate year was 331 and for the present year 250. The alumni numbers something more than 300.
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