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Maryville had been enthusiastic about acquiring a higher education institution since the 1800s. A "Normal School" for teacher education was opened and was known as the Seminary, which was initially not state-funded, but rather financed by the Methodist Church. The Methodist Church had been supporting the construction of such schools since the 1830s. The Seminary in Maryville was built in 1889 and had a golf course in the front yard.
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