Hill Military Academy

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Hill Military Academy
Hill Military Academy 1903.png
Main building in 1903
Active 1901–1959
Type Military academy
College prep
Location Portland, Oregon, USA
45°32′57″N 122°33′47″W / 45.549285°N 122.563149°W / 45.549285; -122.563149Coordinates: 45°32′57″N 122°33′47″W / 45.549285°N 122.563149°W / 45.549285; -122.563149[1]

Hill Military Academy was a private, College preparatory military academy in Portland in the U.S. state of Oregon. Opened in 1901, it was a leading military boarding school in the Pacific Northwest. Originally located in Northwest Portland, it later moved to Rocky Butte where it remained until it closed in 1959. The school was a party to the Pierce v. Society of Sisters United States Supreme Court case.


The academy's founder, Joseph Wood Hill, was born in Westport, Connecticut, on May 28, 1856, and was raised in Connecticut.[2] He attended the Selleck school in Norwalk before enrolling at Yale University in 1874, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in 1878.[2] Hill then moved west to Oregon where he was hired as the headmaster of the Bishop Scott grammar school in Portland in 1879.[2] In 1881, while still serving as headmaster, Hill graduated from the Willamette University College of Medicine with a Doctor of Medicine.[2] The grammar school became Bishop Scott Academy in 1887, with Hill becoming principal that year of the expanded school, serving until 1901.[2]


Joseph W. Hill
G. C. von Egloffstein, principal from 1910

In 1901, Hill left Bishop Scott Academy and founded the Hill Military Academy on Marshall Street in Portland.[2] John W. Gavin served as the vice principal and headmaster at this time.[2] The school was incorporated in 1908, and Hill’s oldest son Joseph A. became the vice president of the school that year.[2] The son took over as manager in 1910, with Major G. C. Von Egloffstein taking over as headmaster. Joseph Wood Hill remained as principal until at least 1911.[2]

In 1922, Oregon voters passed the Compulsory Education Act, an initiative supported by the Ku Klux Klan as an anti-Catholic measure that required attendance in public schools.[3] Hill Academy and a society that ran several Catholic schools both sued the state to prevent the enactment of the law on First Amendment grounds, and won in federal district court.[3] On appeal to the United States Supreme Court, that court upheld the injunction against the law in Pierce v. Society of Sisters.[4]

In 1931, the school moved to a new campus on Rocky Butte in eastern Portland.[5][6] The school’s enrollment then declined, and the school closed in 1959.[6][7]

Campus and academics[edit]

Hill Military Academy’s original campus was located in a residential area in northwest Portland.[2] The campus consisted of two buildings, the main building and an armory.[2] The two-story armory measured 50 by 100 feet and included a drill hall and workshops.[2] Hill’s main building was a four-story structure with battlements on the exterior wall, and in general designed in the Scots Baronial Style.[2] This building housed the boarding students of the academy.[2]

Students at Hill wore uniforms and attended college preparatory classes as well as classes in the military department.[2] The school had both boarding students and day class enrollees.[5] Summer courses were held at camps held on the Oregon Coast or in the mountains.[2] The school was considered a pioneer in military education in the Pacific Northwest.[5]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Hill Military Academy (historical)". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 1980-11-28. Retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Gaston, Joseph. 1911. Portland, Oregon, its History and Builders: in Connection with the Antecedent Explorations, Discoveries, and Movements of the Pioneers that Selected the Site for the Great City of the Pacific. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co. Vol. III. pp. 451-454.
  3. ^ a b Paulson, Sara (2006). "State of Oregon v. Hill Military Academy". The Oregon History Project. Oregon Historical Society. Retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  4. ^ Pierce v. Society of Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, 268 U.S. 510 (1925).
  5. ^ a b c Corning, Howard M. (1989) Dictionary of Oregon History. Binfords & Mort Publishing. p. 114.
  6. ^ a b Tucker, Kathy (2002). "Young Cadets Drill at Hill Military Academy". The Oregon History Project. Oregon Historical Society. Retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  7. ^ Wexler, Geoffrey B. (2005). "Guide to the Hill Military Academy Records 1881-1973". Northwest Digital Archives. Retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  8. ^ "Bill Bowerman Timline". Oregon Experience. Oregon Public Broadcasting. Retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  9. ^ "Harry Pulliam Cain". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. United States Congress. Retrieved 2009-11-12. 

External links[edit]