In September 1893, the Hasbrouck Institute opened at the corner of Crescent and Harrison Avenues, now the site of Lincoln High School, with 305 students. The stately-looking Richardsonian Romanesque Revival style building designed by architect George Lewis Bettcher (1862-1952) had modifications for an urban classroom building and appeared suited to the classical studies program for its students. It had red brick walls with brownstone trimmings. Iron was generously used to bind the walls and sustain the floors and roof. Iron girders and concealed columns added to the stability of the building. The first floor included a library, kindergarten, and assembly hall with a seating capacity of approximately 800.
The Institute, founded in 1856, opened at 53-55 Mercer Street. It relocated to the Lyceum Classical School (1839-59), established by William L. Dickinson at 109 Grand Street.
Professor Washington Hasbrouck (c. 1824-1895) began the private school to prepare young men for admission to the nation's foremost colleges and universities and entry into public service. Hasbrouck had founded a similar school in Saugerties, NY, before moving to Jersey City. He remained with the Institute until 1876 when he became the principal of the State Normal School at Trenton (now the College of New Jersey).
In 1880, the Institute added a department for girls with a continuation of its kindergarten to high school program. To accommodate the city's growing population, it acquired the property at the corner of Crescent and Harrison Avenues in 1892.
Several prominent Jersey City leaders graduated from Hasbrouck Institute. Among them were: John T. Rowland, Jersey City's architect who designed the Medical Center, Dickinson, and Snyder High Schools, and the A. Harry Moore School, among other city schools; Joseph Dear II, an editor and publisher of the Jersey Journal; Charles Henderson, son and succeeding president of the Peter Henderson Company; and George M. Culver, MD, a president of St. Francis Hospital and the Hudson County Medical Society.
On February 13, 1906, Dr. Booker T. Washington (1856-1915), founder of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (now Tuskegee University), spoke in the assembly hall. Mayor Mark M. Fagan welcomed Dr. Washington to the podium who delivered an address regarding social and political injustice facing Black Americans. The following day, The Evening Journal (later the Jersey Journal) reported: "His address brilliant and punctuated with rare wit, and his audience--white and black people--listened to him with rapt attention" (Quoted in Gomez, Jersey Journal, 27 February 2023).
The availability of similar educational programs in the Jersey City public schools soon affected enrollment at the private school. As part of its school building expansion program, the Jersey City Board of Education purchased the Hasbrouck Institute for $117,000 for a new high school in 1912. A New York Times article comments that the acquisition indicated "the growth and progressiveness of Jersey City" (11 August 1912). The city appropriated $5000 to renovate the building as a public school while Rowland prepared for the new Lincoln High School on the grounds.
The Hasbrouck Institute held classes in private homes for several years before closing the preparatory school. The girls' division merged with the Bergen School in 1914. The building was razed by 1920.
Gomez, John. "Honored Guest: Walm Welcome in Jersey City for Legendary Booker T. Washington. Jersey Journal 27 February 2023.
Harris, Cynthia, and Leon Yost. Changing Jersey City, A History in Photographs. PA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2009
"New Business Centre in Jersey City Rapidly Developing on the Heights." New York Times 11 August 1912.
"Professor Washington Hasbrouck." New York Times 26 February 1895.