The site of the Donglin College is located in the Sujia alley of Dongmen, Wuxi City. It is an activity center where the members of Donglin party of the Ming Dynasty gave lectures and discussed the public government affairs. The Donglin College was originally the place where Yang Shi (1054-1135), an expert of the Confucian school of idealist philosophy in the North Song Dynasty, gave lectures. In the 32nd year of the Wanli's reign in the Ming Dynasty (the year 1604), Gu Xiancheng, an officer of the Bureau of Appointments (Wenxuansi) in the Board of Civil Office in feudal China, was removed from his post and sent back to his home town. Under the support of Ouyang Dongfeng, the district magistrate of Changzhou, and Lin Zai, the county magistrate of Wuxi, he together with townspeople, such as Gao Panlong, established the Donglin College in then the site of lectures. Since the activities of giving lectures in the Donglin College induced the strong jealousy and opposition of the party of castrated men, in the fifth year of Tianqi's reign (the year 1625), an imperial edict was issued to destroy all the colleges in the country. In December, the leader of the party of castrated men framed up the accusals of the Donglin Party. He issued an imperial edict in the name of the Emperor, publicized "the list of the members of the Donglin Party" and made an open arrest, resulting in the massacre of many upright officials in cold blood all over the country. Gao Panlong also drowned himself as he was unwilling to give in and be arrested. In April of the sixth year of Tianqi's reign, apart from the Daonan ancestral temple, all the colleges were forced to be pulled down. During the period of Chongzhen's reign (1628-1644), the party of castrated men receded into the background, and therefore the misjudged case of the Donglin Party was exonerated. Moreover, an imperial edict was issued to renovate the colleges. In 1981 and 1982, the renovation was conducted.
The original ancestral temple is large in scale. There is a stone memorial arch of the "site of the Donglin College" in front of the college. The existent buildings include Donglin fine shed, Daonan ancestral temple, Donglin merit temple, Lize Hall, Yiyong Hall, Yanju Temple, Shiyu Room, Kangxi tablet pavilion, etc. The ancestral temple keeps 20 tablet carvings of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, which are preserved by the college and embedded in both walls of the hall. It was rebuilt in 1981 and 1982 and has been open to the public.