Our school existed in various incarnations before 1926. It began as the Ashland Academy in 1872 with the Reverend Joseph Henry Skidmore as president. Over the years it was known as the Ashland Academy and Commercial College (1878), the Ashland College and Normal School (1882), Ashland State Normal School (1887), and the Southern Oregon State Normal School (1895).
When our school began as the Ashland Academy in 1872, it was located at the site where the Briscoe Elementary School was later located. It was there until 1890. Then in 1893 a new venture was started as a partnership between Portland University and the city of Ashland. This new incarnation was at the intersection of Beswick Way, Normal Avenue, and Siskiyou Boulevard. Although the original partnership failed, by 1895 the Southern Oregon State Normal School was opened at this location. This version of our school lasted until 1909. The school was then closed for 15 years before finally being reestablished at the current location in 1926.