Brandt Hall

Construction

Brandt Hall was dedicated on May 14, 1950 as a women's dormitory. The idea was first proposed by A.C. Bishop, of the Decorah Public Opinion, who was eager to see better housing for female students. Situated just south of Preus Library and west of the Jenson Noble Hall of Music, Brandt Hall lies in the center of Campus close to a majority of the campus buildings.

Proposal

A.C. Bishop knew that funding for a women's dormitory could be hard to come by, so he proposed in his newspaper that they reinstate the "pig club" fundraiser used in World War I to raise money for the Red Cross. The idea consisted of asking farmers to set aside one piglet in the spring and waiting until it reached market size. The pig was then sold and the proceeds donated to Luther College. Unsurprisingly the idea never caught on for the fundraising of Brandt Hall, due to the not-so-complimentary linking between female students and pigs. However this suggestion did encourage the alumni to organize and elect a committee of 10 in 1939, an organizational meeting in 1940, and a campaign that by 1942 had raised $46,000 in cash and $39,000 in pledges. The building of Brandt Hall, however, was sadly halted when the second Main building burned down on May, 31, 1942.

Funding

The money raised in the first wave, though thought to be adequate, was hardly that. When ground was broken on Oct. 14, 1945 and construction finally started by the summer of 1948, the structure needed $55,000 just to pay for furnishings and $620,000 for the West and Center wings. To fund this structure a bond issue of $280,000 was needed, making it the first ever in the history of the college. In addition the Luther College Women's Club of Decorah furnished the main lounge and the Luther College Women's Club of Chicago furnished the recreation room. The East wing was funded much later, seven years after the completion of the West and Center wings, and needed $550,000 for furnishings. This was financed in part by a federal loan of $400,000.

Planning

The dormitory was meant for Luther College women of all grade levels. The Center wing included a large lounge area as well as a recreational room. The end of each hallway on the south side was set aside for a small study area. However due to increasing numbers of students attending the college, Brandt Hall was converted to a freshman women's dormitory as a complement to Ylvisaker Hall, the freshmen men's dormatory.

Dedication

Brandt Hall was named after Diderikke Ottesen Brandt, wife of the first college pastor in the late 19th/early 20th century, Nils Olsen Brandt. She was known as the "mother of Luther College." The West and Center wings were dedicated on Mothers' Day, May 14, 1950 with V. Trygve Jordahl (class of 1922) officiating. The East wing was ready for women in September of 1958. The building, in its totality, could accomodate 392 women.

Developments

Today Brandt Hall is a co-educational frehsman dormitory. Each room houses 2-3 people, with fourth floor penthouses of 4 people. There is now wireless internet available throughout the building as well as new furniture including loftable beds.

Resources

Brandt Hall Residential Building