The Lawther Block
Wright L. Beeman had been teaching writing around the state when he decided to open his own school. In 1886 “Beeman’s Actual Business College” opened with three students on Third Street. The school grew and the next year Beeman moved it to the Lawther Block (built 1864), where it remained until the 1920s.
Tuition was $30 for a three-month school term. The school had more than one hundred students annually for a time and employed professors to instruct the students in English, bookkeeping, shorthand, typing, and penmanship.
The school had a superintendent’s office, rooms for recitation and typing, and a large room called “The Commercial Hall.” It featured a chartered bank. The “actual” part was teaching students in a setting that included mock businesses - freight offices, a commission house, a real estate-insurance venture, and a commercial exchange, allowing the students to go through the steps of everyday commercial transactions.