There was great excitement in Crieff in 1859 when the work began on the Scottish baronial styled building with its crow stepped gables. The local paper waxed lyrical. "Its healthful locality and commanding view of extensive and beautifully romantic scenery cannot be surpassed, if at all equalled, by any such public building in Scotland".
The Academy that opened on 1 October 1860 owed its foundation to Thomas Morison or Morrison (it is recorded that both spellings of his surname were used), a native of the nearby village of Muthill. Born in Muthill in 1761, his mother belonged to Crieff.
Thomas trained as a stonemason and, following some years spent working in Auchterarder, he moved to Edinburgh, set up his own business and made his fortune as the builder of a substantial part of the city's beautiful Georgian New Town.
He decided that he would tell his trustees, in the words of his will, to;
"erect and endow an institution or institutions as to them shall appear best calculated to promote the interests of mankind, having a particular regard to the Education of youth and the diffusion of knowledge".
And he continues,
"although I do not wish to confine this object to a particular place, yet I have regard in my views to the part of the country where I was born, and to the city of Edinburgh, where I long resided and acquired my fortune"
He finishes by saying
"I rather incline to point at a new institution which may bear my name and preserve the remembrance of my good intentions for the welfare and happiness of my fellowmen".
Thomas died in 1829 and after a number of years of searching for a suitable location his trustees decided on Crieff, the part of the country where Morison was born, rather than Edinburgh which was already well served with schools. They purchased the old market site where the cattle tryst used to be held before it moved south to Falkirk. The School opened for business on 1 October 1860.