ruff of the LDS Church, asking that Church academies be built. Needed funds would come from local stake donations. These donations were minimal, so the Academy Board, including Canute Peterson, Henry Beal, and John B. Maiben, selected the social hall on the second floor of the co-op store on the corner of 100 North and Main Street in Ephraim as a temporary classroom site. It was the fifth day of November in 1888, when Principal Alma Greenwood and Mrs. Kerri Henry Payne, along with the first Sanpete Stake Academy class of 120 students, climbed the outside, walled-in stairway to reach a single classroom and begin what would eventually become what Snow College is today. This classroom was divided into two rooms by a heavy curtain. Mrs. Fannie Green Thompson, a student of the first class, recalls that “there was no light [in the stairway] except what came through the open door at the bottom of the steps by day and a coal-oil lamp hung at the top of the steps by night… There were two stoves—one on the stage and one in the main room. Classes were held in both rooms. The curtain, which was used to separate them during classes, was a heavy, painted canvas attached to a pole the length of the stage and was raised and lowered by means of a rope.” After a few years, the classes grew out of the upstairs room and had to meet in the North Ward meetinghouse, as well as in various businesses all over town.
Sacrifice Secures and Saves Snow Academy
Top: Canute Peterson, Founder of Sanpete Stake Academy Bottom: Ephraim Co-Op
Launching this type of institution was difficult for the local church units, but maintaining them required endless endurance. In 1898, only 10 years into the Sanpete Stake Academy’s existence, disheartening communications came from Salt Lake City that the LDS Church would not be in a position to fund the Academy and that the new building for which they had broken ground would have to be put on hold indefinitely. Principal Newton Noyes was determined to keep it going. On September 9, 1898, he announced, “The Academy will not close!” Dedicated faculty members chose to take a cut in pay, working as part-time missionaries as well as part-time instructors. Recent graduates were hired to fill in vacancies, knowing their pay was uncertain. The Academy’s only piano was sold, and Principal Noyes took no salary for several months to ensure that those remaining could be paid. During these dark days, the people of the college and the community wondered if Snow College would survive, but their faith, loyalty, and willingness to sacrifice carried them through. On March 30, 1900, the school was renamed Snow Academy after LDS Church President Lorenzo Snow and Apostle Erastus Snow. Of the 22 church academies that began in the sunny days of Snow College’s inception, only six remain today. The founders and supporters of Snow College simply would not let it fail. The members of the local community agreed to help cover the costs of the college, and they survived and flourished. The time arrived when the Sanpete Stake was authorized to resume its plans to build the Academy Building with the expectation that construction would cost $25,000. They soon discovered, however, that even with $15,000 of donated labor, the final cost would be $56,000. Local members raised the majority of these funds from many sources. Perhaps one of most inspiring stories
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Fall 2013 Snow College Magazine