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 building was Romanesque in design with modifications as required for its use as a classroom building in an urban environment. By all appearances it was suited for the classical studies that it provided its students. The construction of the walls was of red brick 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 for approximately 800.
This was not the initial site for the Institute. It first opened at 53-55 Mercer Street when it was founded in 1856. It then relocated to the Lyceum Classical School (1839-59) founded by William L. Dickinson at 109 Grand Street.
Professor Washington Hasbrouck (c. 1824-1895) established the private school for the purpose of preparing young men in Jersey City to attend the nation's foremost colleges and universities and enter 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 a department for girls was added to the Institute with a continuation of its program extending from kindergarten to high school. To accommodate the growing population in the area of Jersey City Heights, the property at the corner of Crescent and Harrison Avenues was acquired in 1892.
A number of prominent Jersey City leaders graduated Hasbrouck Institute. Among them were: John T. Rowland, the architect for the city of Jersey City for over forty year who designed the Medical Center, and 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.
The availability of similar educational programs in the Jersey City public schools soon affected the 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 was an indicator of "the growth and progressiveness of Jersey City" (11 August 1912). Since the Institute was on a large site on the crest of the Jersey City heights, $5000 was appropriated to renovate the building as a public school while Rowland prepared for the new Lincoln High School on the grounds.
The Hasbrouck Institute continued for several years holding classes in private homes before the preparatory school operation closed and the girls' division merged with the Bergen School in 1914.. The building was razed by 1920.
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.