Allen Academy

Allen Academy, a private school in Bryan, traces its beginnings to 1886, when John Hodges Allen became the principal of Madison Academy, at Madisonville. After nine years of successful operation of Madison Academy, Allen requested and received a charter from the state to establish Madison College, a secondary school. Rivers O. Allen, Allen’s younger brother, moved from Tennessee to become coprincipal at Madison College. In 1896 the name of the school was changed to Allen Academy.

In 1899 the Allens decided to reorganize Allen Academy as a private boarding school for boys. They moved it to Bryan that summer. During the early years the Allens were the only teachers in the school, but the academy prospered and overcame many obstacles similar to those that forced other private schools to close. In 1899 the Allens purchased five acres and a two-room building; in 1968 the school had 470 acres and thirty-eight buildings. From an initial enrollment of twenty-seven students in six grades, the number of students reached an average of 600 students enrolled in eight grades. In 1916 military training was introduced into the academy, and three years later an ROTC was organized there. The military program made rapid progress, and in 1927 Allen Academy was selected as an honor military school, the highest rating given to a military school in the United States. The academy continued to retain this rating throughout the years that it maintained its ROTC program.

Under the supervision of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (now Texas A&M University), the first year of junior college was added to the Allen curriculum in 1927. The courses were instituted primarily to accommodate students who lacked a few high school credits to satisfy the entrance requirements for college. Therefore, a student was able to complete his high school work and at the same time receive some college credit. In 1947 the second year of college work was added to the curriculum, thus completing the requirements of the junior college division of the school. The academy continued to offer a junior college curriculum until 1968, when Blinn College in Brenham assumed the responsibility and began to teach the courses at the Allen Academy location.

The changing economic climate persuaded the Allen family to relinquish private ownership of the academy, and in June 1953 Allen Academy was transferred to the Allen Academy Foundation, a nonprofit educational trust. During the 1970s and 1980s the administration modified the school to meet educational demands. The military program was discontinued in 1982, and the next year the school had 250 students. In the summer of 1988, the school property was sold to the federal government for a minimum-security unit of the federal prison system. Allen Academy was moved to a modern facility located between Bryan and College Station. In 1994 the school was coeducational and offered instruction to students from preschool through high school. The enrollment was 305.