It has been thirty-nine long years since the last W.M.A graduation class walked across the stage in the Lower Gym. Thirty-nine years since Col. Moore gave the final command, “Dismissed."

Weather, neglect, vandalism, theft, arson and the wrecking ball have severely scarred Western’s once beautiful and historic campus. Only the Administration Building, Lower Gym and “C” Barracks remain along with the Front Gate and the Memorial Entrance Way. Over the years many of Western’s sons, faculty and staff have departed from this world. Many of them made the ultimate sacrifice bravely serving their country so that those of us that are alive today are able to live in a free and prosperous country.

Western’s alumni, faculty and staff excelled not only in military service, but also in many other fields such as business, education, medicine, television, movies, art and music. This SAVEWESTERN.COM web site represents a limited number of these success stories, since the school’s records stop in 1971 and many of the success stories prior to the 1930’s were unavailable while compiling this tribute.

Some of the remaining grounds of the former W.M.A. campus are already included in the Upper Alton Historic District and are therefore protected via the Alton Historic Commission and the Historic Code under the Preservation Ordinance.

It is our deepest hope that this SAVEWESTERN web site will generate enough interest that a group will be formed that will be dedicated to preserving what remains of Western’s proud and distinguished history in accordance with the Historic Code. Time is the enemy. The remaining +- 37 acres of the former Academy grounds are currently for sale for $3 million. We may not be able to obtain enough funds to restart Western, but we and other outside interests could at least explore the possibility of purchasing the grounds for preserving the remaining three historic buildings and 37 acres of grounds.

Thirty-nine years have been too long. Let’s not let another year pass without at least trying to preserve what remains of the campus. These long and painful thirty-nine years have taught all of us that unless we of Western heritage make this final effort, no one else will, and in the future nothing of Western’s once proud and historic history will remain.

Please sign our electronic petition to "Save Western". You can also support this effort by encouraging others to sign the petition, by contacting government officials and service organizations contained in the Contacts section on preserving the campus and by helping find a suitable use for the campus.

- Ralph B. Jackson, Jr.

Post a Comment