In 1858, in what was then a remote wilderness, the Rev. Charles E. Bailey and four families from his Ohio Congregational parish founded Benzonia colony. It was to be an "educational Christian colony" modeled after the earlier Congregational settlements at Oberlin, Ohio and Olivet, Michigan. As an integral part of the new community, Grand Traverse College was chartered in 1863. Its first building was erected on this corner. During the pioneer era it provided college preparatory work and teacher training. The school was reorganized as Benzonia College in 1891. It supplied college-level education until 1900. Benzonia Academy was then maintained until changed conditions led to its closing in 1918. Benzonia College and Academy fulfilled the founders dream of bringing coeducational opportunity to northern Michigan.