Post details: Wellington Military Academy

12/04/06

Permalink 08:45:39 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 1258 words   English (US)

Wellington Military Academy

Recently, Silverstreak and I had a chance to visit a place that I had been wanting to go for awhile now. It's a little drive from the St. Louis area, so we loaded up the car with our gear and plenty of coffee and hit the road.

I knew what city the school was in, but had been unable to find an adress before leaving, so I wasn't sure exactly where I was going. We drove around for awhile, trying to aim for the areas where we assumed a military academy might be located (what those areas look like, I was never quite sure). Finally, after backtracking awhile, we saw a sign that said "Wellington Military Academy" and had an arrow. Frick! I wished I had seen that when we drove through that area the first time, because after being in the car for so long, we both REALLY had to pee.

I parked the car, grabbed my gear, and did the "boy, I sure have to pee" shuffel, where one can't really walk upright or at a full pace anymore. We passed an Episcopalian church, and Silverstreak got a strange look in his eyes.

"You're Episcopalian, right?"

"I sure am!" I said. I'm always Episcopalian when I have to pee and they have the nearest bathroom! Unfortunately, it seemed they were having choir practice, and we didn't want to interrupt.

After walking another block or so, we arrived at the academy. My awe at the size and beauty of the place would have to wait until we found a suitable corner for which to drain our respective dragons. Having done that, I was able to step back and admire the historical school and its many impressive buildings.

Silverstreak and I wandered around for about an hour through the snow, admiring all the old buildings and peering through windows. This academy is the most well preserved location I have ever explored; There are books still in the library, magazines in the rooms, and furniture in the President's office. For this reason, I have changed the name of the school, although I am sure with a little digging one can figure out what the school's real name is. "Wellington" Military Academy was the oldest military school west of the Mississippi River when it closed in 2002 due to low enrollment and poor management of finances. The school is now owned by the city in which it resides. The city is very interested in preserving the historical aspects of the school, and has refused offers to sell the property, probably because the intentions of the new owners didn't preserve this historical integrity. As Silverstreak and I began seeing the many interesting features of the school through the windows (the library was a big one), we knew we had to find a way in. I even had him boost me up to an ancient ladder on the side of one of the buildings, hoping it would lead to a roof with some sort of trap door, but as I got to the top I realized that he roof was steeply slanted and had rounded clay tiles. There was no was I was walking on that, especially since it was covered with ice! These are probably things I should check BEFORE I climb up four stories on a 100 year old ladder (I have no idea if it was 100 years old, but it was that old in my mind when I was at the top of it!).

Finally, after much trial and error, I found a way into the main administration building. As Silverstreak and I began to wander around, we seemed to mutter "Oh man!" after every corner. This place was FULL of history, and there was practially nothing in the manner of vandalism or tagging. It was pretty apparent, though, that when the school closed four years ago, many of the buildings must have been in pretty advanced stages of disrepair. There is no way walls crumble in four years of neglect. Some floors and areas were much worse than others. We walked through the President's office and admired the large fireplace and bay windows. We were especially impressed with the library, with many books and magazines remaining. Much of the school was tagged with lot numbers, and we assumed that a lot of the furniture was sold off at auction when the place closed. I guess much of it just wasn't wanted, though, because so much remains to this day.

The famous round tower of the admin building was especially interesting, with the lower part housing a room with bookcases in the library. The upper room, however, is a shower room! It must have been so great for the guys to get together in a circle after a hard day and shower in a room with windows on all sides! Yahoo!!!

After the admin building, I was psyched to check out one of the other buildings. After much scouting, I found a pretty easy way into the largest building on the campus. The only problem was that it was in an area pretty visible to the surrounding homes. I didn't think it would be much of a problem, but Silverstreak seemed to have different ideas, and began reminding me of our original plans to continue on to check out some sights in Jefferson City. At first I wasn't sure why, after seeing how awesome the first building was, anyone would want to pass up the oppertunity to see another of the buildings. Then I realized that Silverstreak was suffering from an affliction that he commonly develops whenever he thinks there's a chance he may be caught or injured. It's a condition known as Spontaneous Vagina. This is actually a medical term used to describe when a dude suddenly becomes a woman. Luckily, I had brought his medicated salve, and we were able to continue. I made a quick dash and dove into the opening I had found, and Silverstreak soon followed.

The second building was obviously not as old as the first, but still contained many interesting areas: the theatre, ceremonial drill floor, and cafeteria. On the fire escape windows on the upper floors, I saw signs reading "This building is off limits. Those found in violation will be brought to disciplinary board under Colonel 'whatever'." Apparently, this building was being renovated the year the school closed. Many off the upper floors had been stripped and there were large "construction area" signs. Not really fearing a board with the Colonel, we continued up, and then down to the basement. We found the Quartermaster's area, where cadets would have been issued their uniforms and supplies. Sadly, this is one of the only areas that was completely empty aside from a few cleaning supplies.

After seeing the theatre, Silverstreak was extremely glad that we had explored the second building. A theatre was one of the places on his list of "things I'd like to explore." After we exited back into the snow and wind, we both decided that it was time for us to depart. It had been a long, cold day, and we had quite the drive ahead of us back to St. Louis. There are still many buildings at the school that I would like to return and explore. I'll have to allot more time next visit. With so much history, I hope the city remains selective about who they consider selling it to. There's too much legacy there to waste on turning it into apartments or some crap like that.

Comments:

Comment from: silverstreak [Visitor]
Man I am glad that Vaginitis $hit cleared up, what would I have done if you hadn't brought some testosterone for me? Good thing cause it's highly contagious. You rock....and so does that photo of the stairs you posted.
Permalink 12/05/06 @ 23:55
Comment from: Nathan [Visitor]
Where exactly is this military academy?

I'm in St Charles, MO.
Permalink 12/21/06 @ 16:03
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Permalink 01/03/07 @ 01:53
Comment from: lynn scott [Visitor]
So, is this Western Military Academy in Alton, Illinois? My dad always used to threaten me when I screwed up that he would send me to WMA. Always avoided it, but seeing what I missed (especially in 1960)) maybe I cheated myself!!!!!!!!!
Permalink 05/02/07 @ 16:58
Comment from: Scout [Visitor]
Extremely cool cover of the old military academy. I will respect your wishes and not out the location. I, like one of the others who commented (although it isn't in Alton, IL) was threatened many times with military school.

I could list some cool details about the school and its recent activities, even after being shut down, but to do so would probably give up the location.

Great piece on a great location. Thanks for sharin'.
Permalink 10/28/07 @ 10:16
Comment from: Gerd [Visitor] · http://www.cigland.com
Very nice site!
Permalink 01/29/08 @ 08:58
Comment from: oldboy [Visitor]
Please dont f-up my old school. The school's name is Kemper Military Academy. It was founded in 1844 and that first building dates from that time period. It closed in 2002. After a huge effort to try and get it re-opened the city bought the property. We are a proud Alumnis and dont want any vandals messing up the school. If you explore please have respect. It is a museum. THANKS!! :)
Permalink 04/11/08 @ 01:16
Comment from: Chuck Pasque [Visitor]
I went to WMA in 1965 for the full year. It was the most influencial part of those very formative years. I wish I still had the year book from those days. I was Charles Jackson Jr's room mate and would like to touch base if anyone knows where he might be. I loved that school.
Permalink 06/03/08 @ 14:04
Comment from: John [Visitor]
Enjoyed the photographs and the tour of the old campus. Place creaks and groans when you walk through it making it even more fun to explore. Although, it is closed there are many memories which still cling to the walls.

Thank you for the pictures.
Permalink 08/27/08 @ 01:02
Comment from: macc niemann [Visitor]
i graduated high school from this school in 1997...the name is Kemper Military School & Junior College opened in 1844...if you have any more questions i will be glad to answer what i can...email me at meniemann@hotmail.com
Permalink 09/06/08 @ 03:46
Comment from: kaltz jeff [Visitor]
I miss that school and all of you that went there with me! my name is kaltz jeff my email is kaltzj@yahoo.com
Permalink 09/18/08 @ 13:28
Comment from: diccon dawson [Visitor]
I went to Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, Mo. Kemper was our biggest rival and had been for a very long time. I can't describe how sad I am to see that come to an end.
Permalink 09/23/08 @ 16:08
Comment from: Nikki Bartholomew [Visitor]
I was so excited when I came across these photos. I went to Kemper in 1987 and 1988.
Permalink 11/24/08 @ 22:29
Comment from: Stacie Cordell [Visitor]
Wow. So cool that even someone who didn't attend KMS can appreciate it. I graduated from there in 98 and couldn't wait to get out, but looking back, it was some of the best times and one of the most unique experiences I will ever have. Thanks for exploring and putting up pics. Good memories. I've been there since they closed down and it's pretty depressing. The building you were trying to get into on the stairs was probably the girls' barracks. Be careful on the roof...it is steep, but we never lost one! There is someone that lives nearby that has a key and would probably let you explore if you didn't want to do any more breaking and entering! Just a thought...:)
Permalink 12/22/08 @ 17:04
Comment from: travis weaver [Visitor]
this is kemper military school in boonville missouri. it shut down in 2002 my junior year. it is the oldest military school west of the mississippi river opened in 1844. the showers with the windows actually were haunted. a boy hung himself in there in the late 1800's. will rogers' room is on that floor. they filmed the movie childs play 3 there except they edited the name to kent military school at the last minute in the movie to avoid paying royalties. former president c w stewart embezzled an undisclosed amount of funds from the school resulting in a bankruptcy. i went to the auction when the bank sold its property. not one of the more fun days i can recall.
Permalink 12/25/08 @ 04:50
Comment from: Daniel Cookson [Visitor]
Yep. KMS. Attended 1970-1973. Some of the buildings looked like this when I attended. LOL. Sure wish it was still open and running. I would send my 9th grader.
Permalink 01/17/09 @ 01:22
Comment from: Mark [Visitor]
I expected Tom Cruise, Sean Penn, and Timothy Hutton to jump out and arrest you at any juncture. That place looks right out of "Taps".
Permalink 01/28/09 @ 11:02
Comment from: Meghan Wilcox [Visitor] · http://www.facebook.com/meghanchristinawilcox
OMG! It is so cool to see pictures of my old school Kemper Military School. I went there '97-'99. I loved and hated that school at times. I never wanted to get out of there but ended up doing it. The Admin Building is actually haunted along with the Girls (Band and Delta) Barracks. I remember when the new-boy girls got there our room was the very top floor next to the old boy rooms. It was eventually turned into a chill room with a tv and couchs, Also haunted a girl hung herself there a long time before i got there. I remember when i signed and became an Old Boy i couldnt wait to walk on the Old Boy porch through the front doors instead of around it all the time. There are so many memories there i cant even type them all. I wonder if they allow special events there. My husband and i are doing our ceremony when he returns from iraq cause we got married right before he left. I would love to get married on Center Court or Parade Ground by the Commadants Home. I heard somewhere that Ghost Hunters actually investigated KMS. Im gonna request the Paranormal Society or TAPS go investigate it and that i wanna go with them.
Permalink 03/13/09 @ 14:42
Comment from: Meghan Wilcox [Visitor] · http://www.facebook.com/meghanchristinawilcox
I dont know if anyone noticed. Look at the theater picture. The theater has a door on each side of the stage. On the left you see the buddy of the guy taking the picture. Look on the right there is a figure peeking round the corner of the door. Talk about freaky, I got goosebumps as soon as i saw it. And to think I actually use to go to KMS. And spend plenty of time in the theater.
Permalink 03/14/09 @ 17:17
Comment from: Eric Myers [Visitor]
Tears to my eyes. So Sad.

Attended from 1974-75
It was the worst and one of the best years of my life.
The picture of the hall (21 Shot) was one of the rooms I lived in Hotel Barracks. I think it was built in the 1920"s(?) We moved in right after Parents day. We were in K barracks. The theater club brings back memories - Meghan, the reflection on the right might be the old costume dummy. I will have to visit KMS really soon.
Permalink 04/16/09 @ 20:35
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Permalink 08/01/09 @ 22:35
Comment from: tdd [Visitor]
I actually went to that school in the mid-90's for a year. When I was there the 3rd floor of the administration building was already disused and was in bad shape. It was closed off but I managed to find my way up there and poked around one day. I actually remember those old computers sitting in the stairway then! I remember hearing that the school shut down, interesting to see what happened to it.
Permalink 08/14/09 @ 00:09
Comment from: Boys Military Schools [Visitor] · http://www.militaryschools411.com
This is a vintage boys military school. Hope they must give more effort to revive this facility and able to continue What they have started this could give education and a future ahead to a career path in life for most teens.
Permalink 09/21/09 @ 03:45
Comment from: Rod Evans [Visitor]
Yup, it's Kemper Military School.I went there from 1967-1969.I hated the place when I was there but, I hate to see what has happened to it since then.With all the money that some of the families had it is almost a crime to not save it somehow.
Permalink 11/25/09 @ 03:56
Comment from: edhardyclub [Visitor] · http://www.edhardyclub.com
Thank you for your help!
Permalink 12/03/09 @ 21:49
Comment from: B.Leedham [Visitor]
Eric, the hotel barracks your referring to is D-Barracks(pic.#5) and that building was constructed in 1917. God knows there's a ton of history in that entire complex. I never thought when I attended K.M.S. from 77-80 I would actually ever miss the place but as I grow older I do miss that old school and all the friends I'd made at that time in my life. I guess the memories will be something I can reminisce over as an old man.
Permalink 12/04/09 @ 06:10
Comment from: Ryan Richey [Visitor]
This is Kemper Military Academy. I went there from 1996-1998.
Permalink 01/19/10 @ 22:45
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Permalink 09/24/10 @ 10:57

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