The school was very popular, and in December there were 168 pupils enrolled, including day pupils and some out-of-town boarders. On March 27, 1865 the Utica Female Academy burned to the ground. A new building, the one which later housed the Y. M. C. A. for 50 years, was erected on the same ground about 1869-70. At that time it was one of the finest structures in the state and a source of great pride to the citizens of Utica.
In 1875, Mrs. Julia G. Piatt, a New Englander who had made teaching her life work and had conducted a school in Norwich, Conn., became head-mistress and changed the name to Mrs. Piatt's Female Seminary. Mrs. Piatt's school was run successfully for twenty-five years. In the autumn of 1900 Mrs. Piatt's school was taken over by Miss Edith Hall and Mrs. Saunders who renamed it the "Balliol School." After five years Mrs. Saunders left, and soon Miss Hall closed the boarding-school, which was opened later purely as a day school. Miss Hall was succeeded by Misses Howland and Brownell. After three successful years it became "Miss Knox's School." The school continued until 1920, when Miss Knox retired.
In 1921 the original board of trustees of the Knox School with a few new members asked the legislature at Albany if they might take over and continue the original corporation ownership of the Utica Female Academy and change its name to the Utica Country Day School. Their request was granted and included in chapter five of the laws of 1921, which became effective February 15, 1921. Thus the Utica Country Day School became a direct continuation of the Utica Female Academy.
On Tuesday, March 7, 1922, the doors of the Utica Country Day School, situated on the grounds bought from the Yahnundaeis Golf Club in New Hartford, were opened for the formal inauguration of the new buildings. For its time, it was considered to be the finest most modern school in the United states. The new buildings were constructed by R. Richards and Son of Utica, by plans by Pember and Company of Albany. Initially, 185 pupils were enrolled in the 10 grades. The structure, however, was designed to comfortably house 250 with a possibility of adding onto the wings without destroying the lines of the building.
The school housed a large auditorium, with a seating capacity, including the gallery, of 600. The stage, a copy of that of the Garrick Theater of New York, the home of the Theater Guild, was completely equipped to produce all required effects of lighting and scene arrangements. This auditorium served the city for amateur theatricals, dances and similar entertainments.
The west wing contained the lower school classrooms, while the corresponding wing on the east had the classrooms for the six upper grades. The northeast extension of the corridor had a cafeteria, where lunches are prepared for the children and teachers. Adjoining this was the department of home economics, laid out in a series of unit kitchens for the teaching of cooking. Connected with this department was the domestic arts room for the study and practice of sewing, dressmaking and millinery.
The laboratories, one for chemistry, the other for physics, general science and biology, with storage closets and photographic dark room, were located immediately over the offices and teachers' rooms, on the second floor.
The gymnasium was on the playground level, and could accommodate basketball and indoor baseball. There were rooms for the storage of athletic material for both boys and girls. On this level was the school shop for carpentry and industrial arts.
Supervised study and play were features of the Country Day School, which was operated as an all day school. The pupils, boys and girls, attended sessions, from 9am until 5 pm, during which time play periods were given as well as study.
For a number of years the school flourished greatly but, because of the financial severity of the depression and the improvement in the public schools of Utica and New Hartford, the attendance fell off. In 1943, the school closed its doors and, on April 7, 1944, the corporation was dissolved. The century-old institution of learning became a thing of the past.