Timeline

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Luther College Arch

The Nineteenth Century

1857 --October 10, 1857---the Norwegian Synod decided to establish an institution of higher learning with a Norwegian background in America, but first used Concordia Seminary in St. Louis (Missouri Synod) having a professorship there until there was enough money to start a college. The church council that made this decision met at Washington Prairie church. [1]

1859 --Laur Larsen started his position as professor at Concordia Seminary on October 14, 1859. This is now recognized as Founder’s Day. [2]

1861 --September Luther opens in Halfway Creek, Wis. [3] Beginning of the American Civil War.

1862 --September 8, the first classes were held in Decorah [4]

1864 --June 30, cornerstone laid for the original Main building [5]

1865 --Oct. 14, dedicated the first Main building, progression of the college [6]; Luther was legally incorporated in Iowa [7]; first student newspaper, Moderlandet, was published from 1865-66 [8]

1866 --first graduating class with eight members [9]

1867 --Campus House was built by the congregations of Nils O. Brandt and later purchased by college [10]

1869 --first organized musical ensemble: the Idun Quartette [11]

1872 --college publishes first catalog, called Katalog for det norske Luther-college i Decorah, Iowa, 1861-1872. [12]

1874 --Dec. 2, after new wing of Main built, the college bell is rang for first time. [13]

1876 --First Lutheran was built--to be shared by the college and the FL congregation. Luther owned a half share of the property until 1930. [14]

1878 --the college band was first organized and started to perform [15]

1880 --Luther gets an alumni organization—the Luther College Alumni Forening which, David T. Nelson says, shows the Americanization of Luther as opposed to the Norwegian past [16]

1883 --In 1877 the first orchestra started to form, and in 1883 it performed its first concert, and has been in existence ever since [17]

1884 --College Chips 1884 founded [18]

1886 --first concert band tour [19]; beginning of intercollegiate athletics with baseball game of Luther vs. St. Olaf [20]

1889 --May 19, the first Main Building was destroyed by fire [21]

Main I burning

1890 --New Old Main Building was dedicated October 14. [22] The rebuilding of it in Decorah was strongly advocated for by Koren. It received a new bell from the same man who donated the previous bell, Bjorn Haatvedt (Edwards).

1892 -- Luther College Athletic Association was formed, and school colors established in the nineties [23]

1896 --Luther College Boarding Club founded, and it lasts until 1931. [24]

1897 --“To Luther,” the college song, written [25]

A New Century

1902 --C. K. Preus elected as the second president of Luther (LC61-61, p. 161, info. on his life, p.170 ff)

1903 --basketball begins with the first intercollegiate basketball game against Upper Iowa (LC61-61, p. 205-206)

1905 --Sperati came to Luther; developed Concert Band and led many tours (LC61-61, p. 190)

1907 --October 13, 1907 Laur Larsen Hall dedicated. A dormitory, with space for laboratories and music

1911 --Luther statue presented by pastors’ wives and women of Norwegian Synod in 1911 in honor of the 50th anniversary of the college (Luther College 1861-1961, p. 174); October 14, Luther’s endowment fund began, with an initial sum of $250,000 (LC61-61, p. 174)

1914 --Concert Band travels to Europe

1915 --Tuition was first charged (LC61-61, p. 178)

1916 --Loyalty Hall (LC61-61, p.175-176)

1920 --The Pioneer was first published (LC61-61, p. 198)

1921 --Luther Fight Song written in 1921 by Arthur J. Tolo ‘18 and N.G. Maakestad ‘21 (homecoming 2006); Koren Hall dedicated Oct. 14, 1921 (LC61-61, p. 176-177); 1921 Oscar L. Olson became president of Luther--first interim and then permanent. (LC61-61, p. 211-215); 1921 Luther College Bulletin was established (LC61-61, p. 220)

1925 --Norwegian-American Historical Museum was established in 1925 and grew with gifts from Norway and moved downtown in 1932 (LC61-61, p. 225-227); magna, summa, and cum laude introduced at Luther; orientation course 1927 (LC61-61, p. 238)

1926 --KWLC got license (LC61-61, p. 220); October, Preus Gymnasium built(LC61-61, p. 218)

1928 --Luther College News Service organized (LC61-61, p. 220)

1929 --January 12,Luther College bought Jewell farm (360 acres) for $60,000 (Luther College 1861-1961, p. 218-19)

1930 --the school was officially called Norwegian Lutheran College until it was changed in the Articles of Incorporation to Luther College (LC61-61, p. 60)

1931 --modernized of curriculum, drop classical requirements (Luther College 1861-1961, p. 244); athletics was reorganized to be under the control of a board, not students (LC61-61, p. 238); 1931-1932---”watershed between the old and the new college.” Olson was forced out as president, but first he got a new curriculum to be passed---this curriculum broke the ties with the classical curriculum of the past. In 1932 Olson also pressed, unsuccessfully, for coeducation. (Stability and Change, p. 9)

1932 --Olson resigned as president in 1932, but he kept teaching English until 1952; in 1951 he was given an honorary Doctor of Letters; 51 years is longest teaching service in college history (LC61-61, p. 249--here there is also an analysis of his contributions to Luther); Ove J.H. Preus president of Luther College 1861-1961; years of financial difficulty; August 1,[The Decorah Junior College for Girls] opened (Luther college, 1861-1961, p. 257)

1933 --1933 [Decorah Junior College] operates jointly with Luther. There are two student bodies, but they share everything at Luther. (LC61-61, p. 259);

first summer session held 1933 (and it was coed) (LC61-6 ... \n
  1. Nelson, 1961, p. 33
  2. Nelson, 1961, pp. 38-39
  3. Nelson, 1961, p. 49
  4. Nelson, 1961, p. 54
  5. Nelson, 1961, p. 58
  6. Nelson, 1961, p. 65ff
  7. Nelson, 1961, p. 102
  8. Nelson, 1961
  9. Nelson, 1961, p. 98
  10. Nelson, 1961, p. 93
  11. Nelson, 1961, p. 118
  12. Nelson, 1961, p. 113
  13. Nelson, 1961, p. 94
  14. Nelson, 1961, pp. 94-95, 219; Homecoming 2006
  15. Nelson, 1961, p. 118
  16. Nelson, 1961, pp. 141-142
  17. Nelson, 1961, pp. 118, 156
  18. Nelson, 1961, p. 154
  19. Nelson, 1961, p. 156; Homecoming 2006
  20. Nelson, 1961, p. 157
  21. Nelson, 1961, p. 133
  22. Nelson, 1961, p. 136
  23. Nelson, 1961, p. 160
  24. Nelson, 1961, p. 140
  25. Nelson, 1961, p. 160