The Prep. Building
The Academic Building of the Michigan Military was constructed in 1877 and was described in an 1891 publication as "one of the most complete school buildings in the West." The building still serves as an Academic Center for St. Mary's Preparatory. Among those who attended classes here were Edgar Rice Burroughs, author of Tarzan, and Frank Joslyn Baum, whose father wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. On June 1, 1909, the history of Michigan Military Academy at Orchard Lake came to an end with its sale by the Rogers family to Attorney Allen Campbell, who represented an unknown purchaser. The bid had been $24,000, subject to nodded indebtedness held by the Union Trust Company, and the widow's dower amounting to about $8,000. The final price came to $83,000 and the sale was completed on June 22, 1909, when Attorney Campbell handed the attorney for the Roger's Estate a check for $24,000.
For a period of times many had thought that the Jesuits had purchased the property; however, the rumor soon began that officers of the Polish Seminary in Detroit had been looking over the grounds, since their present quarters, in Detroit , had proven to be inadequate for the growing number of students.
The only building to exist on the grounds prior to the founding of the Academy was "The Castle." Built in 1858 by Judge Joseph Tarr Copeland upon his retirement from the Michigan Supreme Court, the ten-room house was converted into a hotel in 1872 with the additional of two wooden wings. The panic of 1873 killed the enterprise.
The cadets, dressed in "West Point Gray," sit down to a meal in the mess hall with old fashioned gas lights hanging above their heads.
The Class of 1892 poses for a photo. None of the cadets realized that 17 years later the Academy would close its doors forever as a military school.
History & Facts
Joseph Sumner Rogers, Founder and Superintendent of the Michigan Military Academy. He was a tragic figure who died within hours of President William Mcnickly's death in 1901....Liberty cannot be enjoyed by uneducated people.
-Fr. Joseph Dabrowski
In 1877, Captain Joseph Sumner Rogers purchased the hotel and on September 4, 1877, the Michigan Military Academy was incorporated. With a wing projecting from the back, the Mess Hall would later become the Campus Chapel and finally our "Galeria." The rear wing burned to the ground.