The state school system was inaugurated in 1795, and in that year a log school-house was built in Onondaga Hollow, and the first teacher was Dr. Gordan Needham. For twelve years this school-house was the place of religious, social and public meetings. In the structure was the forerunner of the Onondaga academy, an institution that has greatly promoted education in a broad field. The state in 1812 put its public school system on a definite footing, and that year saw the beginning of the academy scheme. The academy was located in the rear of the Presbyterian church, the site of which was given by the givers of the church site, Joshua Forman and William H. Sabine. The academy building was at once erected, the structure being of stone, 74x34 feet, three stories and a basement. It was not completed till the spring of 1815, and not occupied till the next season. The cost was $6,250. In the basement were a dining hall, kitchen, pantry, cellar and laboratory. In the second (ground) floor, were the chapel, two large rooms for the school and two bedrooms. The third and fourth floors contained each nine rooms for the students. In 1845 a department for girls was added and occupied the Joshua Forman residence. This building was sold in 1850, and in 1853 an addition was made to the academy building at a cost of $5,550, and in 1890 still further additions were made.
Twenty-four principals have conducted the academy, and in this list are the names of Dr. Caleb Alexander, the Rev. Edward Fairchild, Samuel S. Stebbins and Ely Burchard (these two were before the principals of the Pompey academy), William P. Goodelle, O. W. Sturdevant, Samuel B. Woolworth and David H. Cook. The students and graduates, numbering many hundreds, have gone out into the world well prepared to meet its responsibilities and many of them have made names of note.
Another old log school-house in the town of Onondaga was located near the Court House site at Onondaga Hill, and its first teacher was Oliver R. Strong, in 1803.
Richard R. Slocum has written a history of the Onondaga academy, which contains very full information. The institution is now the "Onondaga Academy and Union Free school, District No. 1, town of Onondaga."
With the beginning of the new century there will commence a series of school and academy centennials in the county of Onondaga.