Wallcourt: Miss Goldsmith’s School for Girls, 1895—1928
In 1895, Wells College closed its preparatory department, which had been a popular offering at many women’s colleges and seminaries. To meet the demand of the existing preparatory students, Sarah Yawger of Union Springs rented the house from the late Henry Morgan’s estate and opened the Wells Preparatory School. In 1899, Sarah hired Anna Goldsmith, a Wells College alumna, to teach at the school, and upon her death in 1901, she left the school in Anna’s care.
Anna subsequently purchased the property from the Morgan family and began making changes to grow the school. The “vine house,” or greenhouse, was removed; the remaining brick wall from Henry Morgan’s garden inspired Anna to rename the school “Wallcourt: Miss Goldsmith’s School for Girls.” By 1910, enrollment at the school grew to the point that a new dormitory was needed; Wallcourt Hall (today, one of the Inns of Aurora) was constructed to provide additional housing for students and teachers. Wallcourt graduates frequently went on to study at Vassar, Wellsley, Smith, and, of course, Wells. Anna’s school was held in such high esteem that its annual literary magazine, The Wallcourt Lion, attracted advertisements from both local and major businesses, ranging from the Tea Room in Aurora to Tiffany & Co. in Manhattan.