ELMWOOD INSTITUTE. Elmwood Institute was a college-preparatory academy in Celeste, Hunt County. The catalyst for the school's establishment was the arrival of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway, which built through the area in 1886 to intersect the Missouri, Kansas and Texas. The intersection of the two lines transformed Celeste from a one-business rural community to a shipping point for area farmers. The town soon acquired the businesses that had operated at Kingston, three miles southeast. Kingston was the home of Calhoun College. As Kingston declined, the faculty of Calhoun joined the exodus. In 1890 C. C. Perrin established Perrin School. By 1897, however, it had changed hands and operated successively under the names Gladstone College and Hawthorne College. Unable to compete with the increasing number of schools offering college-level courses in the county, the residents of Celeste abandoned the idea of a college and in 1899 collected $10,000 towards the establishment of an academy. B. A. Stafford and C. F. Gibson owned and operated the college preparatory school called Elmwood Institute, located in an eight-room stone and brick building. The institute provided two dorms for girls and a curriculum designed to prepare students for college. Like the colleges that preceded it, Elmwood Institute failed to compete with the introduction of nearby academic institutions. The Celeste public high school enticed students from the private school, bringing declining enrollment, decreasing funds, and the decision in 1910 to close the academy for good.
Ethel Cassles, A History of Hunt County (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1935). Jackson Massey, A History of College Education in Hunt County, Texas (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1928).