Oldest Adventist Secondary School in Wisconsin

Oldest Adventist Secondary School in Wisconsin

Did you know that Bethel Junior Academy is the oldest Seventh-day Adventist secondary school in Wisconsin? (The first Adventist elementary school on record in Wisconsin was opened in 1867 in Monroe, WI.)

Bethel Junior Academy opened in 1898 as Woodland Academy. The first five families in Bethel were the families of T.B. Snow, John Frazier, Frank Putman, Charles Baker and J.C. Mikklesen. Bethel was founded as a logging town. It was said that the trees were so thick at that time that you could not see the sky.

As Woodland grew and more families came it became more organized. In 1901 the name was changed to Bethel and in 1902 land was purchased for a church and cemetery.

On December 30, 1906, a cold winter day, two farmers started to the woods to cut bolts. On of them told of his queer dream that he had the night before. “I saw the Bethel Academy burning” he said. “Say, that’s my dream! It burned rapidly” the other man said. Neither told others of the dreams, but on January 1, 1907 they were awakened by a bright light in the sky. One man looked out his window and exclaimed, “Oh, my dream!” The Academy burned rapidly but thankfully no students were injured.

After the fire, classes were held in the Bethel Church until other arrangements could be made and new dormitories constructed.Then in 1949, Wisconsin Academy was established near Columbus, replacing the 12-grade Bethel Academy and Walderly School.

To learn more about the current 8-grade Bethel Junior Academy, visit their website.

If you are aware of early Bethel school pictures, we would be interested in sharing them here. Contact Juanita Edge.

Juanita Edge, Communication Director