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Contact Information

Hayley Jackson
College Archivist

Preus Library 310
Upper Floor
Luther College
700 College Drive

The Archives is open for research from 1:00-4:30, Monday-Friday, and by appointment.

archives@luther.edu

Phone: 563-387-1805

Buildings

Construction
Baker Village was opened in 1999 as a new residential area primarily for seniors at Luther College. Situated across College Drive from the campus, >Baker Village faces the driveway of the college and Valders Hall of Science.

Planning
Baker Village was built in four sets of six townhouses with Scandinavian-style architecture set at the nexus of a rustic farm park area, a flowering prairie, and a lush wooded area. The buildings incorporate several environmentally responsible features, including geothermal heating and cooling, compact fluorescent bulbs throughout, low-flow shower and faucet heads, low-flush toilets, and landscaping restored to prairie meadows. Shirley Baker Commons was built to accommodate the students lounge and laundry needs. Baker Village currently offers three styles of units, housing a total of 100 students. The goal is to foster a sense of independence and community throughout the village while linking residents with the energy of the main campus.

Dedication
The residential complex is named after Jeffrey Baker, the eighth president of Luther College (1996-1999) while the Commons is named after his wife, Shirley Baker. Baker Village borders on one side Anderson Prairie, planted in fall of 1998 using a seed mixture that included 72 species of prairie wildflowers and five species of grasses.

Developments
In 2008-2009 Baker Village will expand in the hope of housing 200 students there in the near future. The new development is planning to use the same style of architecture as the original buildings.

Resources
Baker Village Information

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

Campus House


Residential Use
Campus House was built in 1867 thanks to donations from the three congregations served by the campus pastor, Nils O. Brandt. It is now the second oldest building on the Luther College campus. Campus House is situated just north of Koren Hall and east of Brandt Hall.

The Brandt Years
Soon after the building was finished in 1867, it was bought by Luther College to house the campus pastor and his wife, Nils O. and Diderikke Brandt. The family of seven aided the campus in multiple ways including opening their house to many individuals. At one point, around the 1870s, Campus House served as the home of three or four Comitia Dumriana students (female members of the Luther community who took certain classes from Luther professors on an unofficial basis), a few college students in the attic, two or three bachelor professors, and the necessary house help.

Presidential Housing
In 1893 Luther College President Laur Larsen moved into the Campus House, setting a trend for the following presidents. During this time the house was also opened up to professors and important visitors to Luther College.

Renovations
The first renovation of Campus House occurred in 1937, one year after the official acceptance of co-education at Luther College. It had become necessary to provide on-campus housing to the new female students that was separated from the larger male population of the college. The renovation changed the campus house from a family living residence to a female dormitory. In the 1960s attempts were made to make another renovation of Campus House necessary but these attempts failed. The main expectation was that it would soon be torn down as it would cost too much to renovate. However in the early 1970s the idea resurfaced and in the 1972-73 school year, it was completely renovated.

Developments
Today Campus House serves as the offices of the Communication Studies department and members of the Political Science department. Although the building is no longer used as a residential unit, the house has maintained its exterior homey appearance.

Center for Faith and Life


Construction
The Center for Faith and Life was dedicated on Oct. 16, 1977 after years of planning and preparation. The idea of a music/chapel area was first proposed after the fiery end of Preus Gymnasium, the former home of daily chapel at Luther College. Situated just north of the Dahl Centennial Union and south of Main, the Center for Faith and Life faces the center of Campus across from Larsen Hall.

Proposal
In 1962 Luther College engaged George Wickstead to draw up a new campus plan after the burning of Preus Gymnasium. The Wickstead plan suggested building a combination chapel-auditorium-fine arts center on the site of the old gym, where the Center for Faith and Life now stands. By 1963 the religion and philosophy department issued a statement, written by Robert Jenson, regarding the need for a religious facility on campus. After a second statement asserting that the building needed to be big enough for the whole college congregation, a chapel building committee of the faculty was formed. In 1966 a plan was brought up, using ecclesiastical language, listing the needs and use requirements of such a building on the Luther College campus. However, other construction needs took precedence at this point including the building of the Regents Towers, Preus Library, and the completion of the Dahl Centennial Union.

Planning and Funding
In 1969 the chapel building again came to the fore with the launching of the Vanguard Campaign. The goal of the fund raising campaign was to find $1.5 million for what was now being called the Center for Faith and Life. In 1970 a building committee was formed with musicologist Bartlett Butler as chairman and including President Farwell, Robert Larson, Gordon Smedsrud, and two students. This committee put together a proposal on the philosophy of the Center for the Luther College community which involved a multipurpose facility with a warm feeling of welcome and dignity. In 1972 the Board of Regents approved the firm of Olson, Gray, Thompson, and Lynnes to be the contractors through the preliminary plans. Also in 1972 the committee was changed to reflect a new chairman, Wilfred Bunge, who served to the completion of the project. Black Hawk Construction Company was given the cost-plus contract in 1975 for $3,308,257. Additions made to the plan raised this another $50,000. Including all of the furnishings and final costs, the building came to a total of $3.9 million.

Controversy
During the planning stage of the Center for Faith and Life many issues were raised by both faculty and students. One issue was found in the ambiguity of the purpose for the building. At the beginning of planning, the idea was for a chapel that could also function as an auditorium but later plans seemed to focus on the opposite. Even after this was somewhat cleared up, many people expressed problems with the cost of such a building project. Faculty salaries, at this time, were not keeping up with those at other college and other buildings, it was felt, were more necessary to the college. Some students and faculty members used these reasons as an opportunity to vocally protest their dissatisfaction with the administration of President Farwell, who was an avid supporter of the building project. During construction signs were seen near, and even on, the construction site which read: “Monument to Farwell” and “Farwell’s Folly.” College Chips, Luther College’s student-led newspaper, became a forum for these discussions. One large protest came when history professor Luis Torres, a native of Puerto Rico, was notified he would not be up for tenure. It was believed that he was sacrificed to help pay for the Center for Faith and Life. In December of 1974, a students for Torres committee was formed but to no avail. The final reason given for the loss of this professor was that the history department was overstaffed in relation to the enrollment.

Dedication
The ground was broken for the Center for Faith and Life on March 24, 1975 and was opened in 1977, although it was not yet fully completed. The official opening included a colorful procession of students, faculty and guests into the building. President Farwell could not attend due to illness. The building was dedicated by ALC bishop David Preus with a booklet put together by Wilfred Bunge.

Areas of Focus
The main Auditorium seats almost 1500 people with a versatile staging area. The three canopies with transparent acrylic panels suspended above the stage are a part of the acoustical design of the hall and can be raised or lowered. The Rost Memorial Organ was made possible by a single gift from Jeanne Preus Rost ’41 in honor of her late husband, Lawrence E. Rost. The Center Recital Hall, located on the north side of the main Auditorium, is a smaller room used as a performance space for soloists and small ensembles, lectures, and Wednesday evening Eucharist when school is in session. The O.W. Qually Lounge, named in honor of former dean, vice president, and classics professor O.W. “Pip” Qualley (class of 1918), is used often for receptions. The Prayer Chapel is open to the campus community 24 hours a day via an outside entrance. Ceramic wall tiles and worship pieces in the chapel were made by former faculty member Dean Schwartz. The exterior sculpture is of concrete and cedar wood which visualizes the tree of life (Revelation 22.2) anchored in the rock of faith (Numbers 20:11, Matthew 16:18, and others). A drainage tile above the sculpture bathes it with the living water of the rain which falls on the roof of the building.

Developments
Today the Center for Faith and Life is used daily for chapel as well as on Sunday mornings for Campus Worship. During the school year, the building is used for the Center Stage Series which brings in outside performing groups to the Luther College Campus.

Resources
Center for Faith and Life Information
College Chips

Center for the Arts


The Arts
The Center for the Arts was dedicated in April of 2003 as one of the newest buildings on the Luther College campus. It is situated just south of Jenson Noble Hall of Music and west of Koren Hall.

Proposal
The Theatre and Dance departments had previously been situated in Valders Hall of Science but the emergence of a strong program warranted new facilities. The art department as well had been displaced in the Korsrud Heating Plant and Loyalty Hall. It became imperative that these two departments have a building which had the facilities necessary for these two very different disciplines.

Use
The Center is an interdisciplinary arts facility that brings together theatre, dance, and the visual arts in a 60,000 square foot space. Features include the Jewel Theatre, a 225-seat flexible theatre; a fully equipped scene shop; a large costume construction area; a spacious dressing/make-up room; two studio spaces, the Sunnyside Cafe, and numerous comfortable lounge areas for students to study and gather. In addition, several classrooms are shared with the Art Department. That department’s special classrooms such as pottery, computer art, drawing/painting, photography and fiber arts add to the energy of the Center. Faculty offices are also located in the Center for the Arts.

Resources
Dance Department
Theatre Department

College Apartments


Construction
The College Apartments were finished in 1971 as housing for married students of Luther College. Situated south of Baker Village and Anderson Prairie, the College Apartments are across College Drive from Preus Library.

Proposal
After World War II, there were a small number of married students attending Luther College. In order to house them, the college purchased surplus wartime barracks, half with tarpaper exteriors and half with corrugated steel exteriors.

Planning
It became necessary in the 1960s to have improved housing for married students so the barracks were demolished; the tarpaper barracks in 1964 and the metal barracks in 1966. By 1971 row-house type apartments, 24 total, were built with air conditioning throughout.
Funding
The total cost of the new apartments was $254,875.

Developments
Today the College Apartments house a combination of married students, students with children, and traditional students. The apartments provide a more independent living environment for upper-class students while retaining campus connections.

Resources
College Apartment Information

Dahl Centennial Union


Original Construction
The Centennial Union building project began on May 17, 1960 with a groundbreaking ceremony. The Main building had functioned as the Luther College center prior to the construction of the Centennial Union, but the college required a larger building to house the various offices, food facilities, and student lounge areas. Since Luther College had seen virtually no new buildings during the previous years of depression and war, President Ylvisaker knew that it was essential to expand. After much planning by students and faculty the Centennial Union became the sixth major building of the Ylvisaker administration. Situated just north of Main and south of the Center for Faith and Life, the Centennial Union lies at the top of a bluff on the west side of campus.

Proposal and Funding
Luther College hired Porter Butts, of the University of Wisconsin, as the primary consultant in 1958. At the beginning of the school year in 1959, a new charge appeared in the student tuition to raise money for the construction. Each student was to pay $12.50 per semester for the use of the Union. In addition, the college was given a federal loan of $750,000. The original parts of the Union, which excepted a section of the north end first floor and the entire north wing on the top floor, cost $1,312,519. To finish the Centennial Union, a second loan was needed of $996,000 from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. These north wing sections were not completed until 1973 at a cost of $958,000.

Planning
The Centennial Union was built for several purposes, so it required a number of interesting additions. The Union needed to house the bookshop, College Chips, Pioneer yearbook, the student post office, and the Admissions offices. The building was also designed to have wide open spaces acting as lounges for the students. For recreational purposes a bowling alley was added as well as places to shoot pool. A dim lit cafe, called Dante’s, was placed on the lower floor as a place to offer live entertainment. On the first and second floors of the north wing, two dining rooms were placed, as well as multiple smaller conference rooms for special occasions. It was suggested by Warren Berg that these rooms be named after winners of the Nobel Prize for Peace: Hammarskjold, Nansen, Soderblom, Schweitzer, Mott, Borlaug, King, Addams, Marshall, and Williams. The largest area of the Centennial Union was given to the new dining facility where every student on campus could eat at the same time, something that had not been accomplished since World War II. The Union also has the distinction of being the first building on the Luther College campus to be air-conditioned.

Dedication
The Centennial Union was named for the Luther College 100th Anniversary, which was being observed in the 1960-61 school year. On May 5, 1961 the cornerstone was laid by A. Alvon Nelson (class of 1929) who read Joshua 24:27 to commemorate the event. The entire building was not fully completed until 1973.

Renovation
In 2006 Luther College began a $2.6 million renovation and addition to the Centennial Union. When it was finished in 2007 the Union now contained the major dining halls; Marty’s (formerly Dante’s, now a cyber-cafe); Oneota Market (a food pavilion connected to a student lounge with open seating, a fireplace, a solarium overlooking the Oneota Valley, and computer workstations); a centralized mail center; a new, large book shop; the diversity center; the student-run radio station (KWLC); lounges; conference rooms; the college president’s and vice-presidents’ offices; offices for student services, student government, student organizations, and student publications; career development offices; public information offices; student life and admissions offices; an art gallery; and banquet and community dining facilities. With all of these additions, there was still room to place an entryway with a 30-foot-tall glass-enclosed atrium.

Dedication
In October of 2006 the Union was rededicated as the Bert M. and Mildred O. Dahl Centennial Union. The Dahl family contributed the funding which made the renovation possible. Orville Dahl also aided in drawing up the campus plans in 1957 which included the first Union to be built.

Resources
Luther College Archives

Farwell Hall


Construction
Farwell Hall was finished in 1991 as an upper-class campus dormitory. Situated just west of Main and east of Storre Theatre, Farwell Hall faces the Upper Iowa River Valley.

Planning
Completed in 1991 the building offers an alternative concept in housing for students. The rooms are arranged in clusters, three on each floor, with both double and single rooms. Each cluster has a common room and each floor has either laundry or kitchen facilities. The top floor is a large study/social lounge with fireplace, kitchen, and conference room. The hall is connected to upper campus via a 116-foot skyway.

Dedication
Farwell Hall is named for Elwin D. Farwell, president of the college.

Developments
The building was renovated in 2000 to update the rooms with wireless internet and better wall connections.

Resources
Farwell Hall Information

Gjerset House


Construction
Gjerset House was built in 1897 on High Street. The house is situated southeast of Jenson Noble Hall of Music and east of the Center for the Arts.

Planning and Development
Gjerset House was built as a retirement home for Laur Larsen, the first president of the college. Also named the Peace and Justice House and the Women’s Center, the building is now a meeting place for Global Concerns and Diversity groups, along with other student-led groups. The Women’s Center provides an environment that enriches the academic, social, physical, and spiritual well-being of area women as well as recognizes the unique and powerful role of women in modern society.

Dedication
The house is named for Knut Gjerset (1865-1936), former professor of history and Norwegian, whose career at the college spanned the period 1902-36.

Jenson Noble Hall of Music


Construction
The Jenson Hall of Music was opened after a ribbon cutting ceremony on September 18, 1982 and formally dedicated during Homecoming of that same year. Koren Hall, Norby House, and the Korsrud Heating Plant had all functioned as the Luther College music facilities prior to the construction of Jenson. The idea of a new music building was unanimously decided upon by all contributing faculty, students, and administrators. Situated just south of Preus Library and west of Brandt Hall, the Jenson Noble Hall of Music faces, on one side, the Center for the Arts.

Proposal
Various proposals were submitted to solve the problem of the music facilities at Luther College but it became obvious, due to the increasing enrollment and prestige of the program, that a major building project would be the only solution. Hammel Green and Abrahamson, Inc., an architectural firm from Minneapolis, was engaged to plan the building. Nelson Company of Caledonia, Minnesota was awarded the general contract.

Funding
The total cost of the Jenson Hall of Music was $2.7 million, financed through funds raised by the Luther Advancement Fund. Gifts were also given from The Bush Foundation of Saint Paul ($100,000), the Kresge Foundation of Troy, Michigan ($200,000), and the Gardner and Florence Call Cowles Foundation of Des Moines, Iowa ($50,000). A major gift of stock in the Sun Oil Company was given by Martin and Avis Jenson of Mankato, Minnesota. Martin Jenson also gave a second donation at the time of his death.

Planning
In planning the Jenson Hall of Music, the architects decided to strive architectural integrity using the same red brick facade of the neighboring buildings. The interior was designed in a Norwegian motif with an expansive corridor running the entire length of the main floor which was to recall the old wharves of Bergen, Norway, the home of composer Edvard Grieg and Norway’s “city of music.” The building was also built to house the various rehearsal and recital halls, studios, practice rooms, faculty offices, and classrooms needed for the expanding music program.

Dedication
The Jenson Hall of Music was originally named after the Jenson family whose contributions helped to make the construction possible. The ground was broken on Oct. 9, 1981 and, although the building was not ready for use by the beginning of fall term in 1982, it was completed by mid-September of that year.

Developments
In 2002 the Jenson Hall of Music underwent a renovation to improve faculty offices and to add a 235 seat recital hall named after Weston Noble who had served on the Luther College Music Faculty from 1948 to his retirement in 2005 after 57 years of dedication to the college. In honor of this new hall the building was renamed the Jenson Noble Hall of Music.

Notable Rooms
The Sundt Organ Room financed by Ruth Sundt in memory of her parents, Frank and Gertrude Penning; the Weston H. Noble Choir Rehearsal Room; the Weston H. Noble Recital Hall; the Preus Reception area in honor of Dr. and Mrs. J.C.K. Preus; the Carlo A. Sperati Rehearsal Room honoring Luther’s Concert Band director from 1905 to 1943; the Clara M. Hoyt Room, honoring the women’s choir director of 1936-1958.

Construction
Library
Koren Hall was dedicated on October 14, 1921 thanks to the physical labor of students and the fund raising activity of the Preus family. Originally the building was meant to house the Luther College library and museum collections although today it is the home of faculty offices and classrooms. The library was first proposed by students in 1909 and was followed closely by the acceptance of the Board of Regents, making the new library the next construction project for Luther College. Situated just south of Campus House and north of Olson Hall, Koren Hall faces the flagpole and Main.

Proposal
The students of Luther College so desired a library building that in 1909 they approached the Board of Regents with an offer to contribute through the making of concrete blocks. The entire student body was subsequently divided into squads, each with a leader, to mix and mold sand, mortar, and cement into the concrete blocks which make up the facade of Koren Hall. It is estimated that the students completed over 27,000 blocks. The Board of Trustees, on June 16, 1910, decided to place the new library on the open lawn across from the Campus House.

Funding
After the hard work of the students, the project languished due to problems with the church union in 1917. However, in 1919 the Board of Trustees came back to the library project with the help of Hans G. Stub (class of 1866) and Luther College President C. K. Preus. They were so successful that by Feb. 3, 1921 bids for the building of Koren Hall were in excess of $125,000. After the death of President Preus on May 28, 1921 his two sons, Ove J.H. and Johan C.K., completed the fund raising.

Dedication
The cornerstone was laid for the building on April, 18, 1921 and was dedicated not long after in October of the same year. It was named after Ulrik Vilhelm and Elisabeth Koren, two pioneers who supported and promoted Luther College from its very beginning. Jacob A.O. Preus, then governor of Minnesota, spoke of Koren and his work. Following was Psalm 86:11 read by Olaf E. Brandt and a speech on the future developments of the library by James C.M. Hanson (class of 1882), the associate director of the University of Chicago libraries.

Collections
Originally the library housed 36,000 bound volumes and pamphlets for student and faculty use, with room for 100,000. Two rooms on the ground floor were set aside for museum purposes but were soon taken over by the library stacks. The Reading Room could accommodate 95 studying students. By 1961, the library had 115,000 volumes as well as 1,000 volumes of Norwegian-American newspapers. A microfilming project of the Norwegian-American newspapers began in 1947 to make them more accessible to students and faculty. Added to the library stacks was a collection of more than 20,000 manuscripts as well as a sizable number of Gausta paintings.

Post-Library Developments
Today the library has been replaced by the Preus Library building finished in 1969. Koren Hall was renovated in 1987-88 and is now used for faculty offices and classrooms. Multiple departments make use of the facility including Education, History, Political Science, Sociology, and Anthropology/Archeology. The third floor has become the modern workroom of the Anthropology lab. The facade of the building still reflects the original stones and window placements. Koren Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Korsrud Heating Plant


Construction
The Korsrud Heating Plant was built in 1947 as an update to the old heating system at Luther College. The building is situated just south of Loyalty Hall and west of Olson Hall.

Proposal and Funding
After Morrell and Nichols, an architectural firm from Minneapolis, Minnesota, had drawn up a new plan for the campus in 1946, the Board of Trustees realized the necessity of a new heating plant. The building cost $138,600 to complete and caused the campus to endure a year of disruption from the construction of supply tunnels under the campus.

Dedication
The plant was named after Ole Korsrud, an electrician, night watchman, and engineer for Luther College since 1901. He broke the ground for the Korsrud Heating Plant on May 6, 1946 and lived long enough to see a majority of the building finished by January of 1947.

Developments
In 1952, after the completion of the new Main, the art department moved into the classrooms on the second floor of the Korsrud Heating Plant. The art department still uses this space as their painting studio.

Larsen Hall


Construction
Larsen Hall was dedicated on Oct. 13, 1907 thanks to the fundraising of C. K. Preus. The idea of a new dormitory was first proposed by Preus who also wanted to incorporate a new library and museum building (the future Koren Hall), as well as better facilities for music and science. Situated just west of Loyalty Hall and northeast of Olson Hall, Larsen Hall faces the center of Campus across from the Center for Faith and Life.

Funding
In order to find the funding for his many projects C.K. Preus needed to gain the support of the Norwegian Synod who was to hold their Golden Jubilee at Luther College in 1903. Finally he was given permission to find the funds for a new dormitory. Single handedly, Preus went out among the college constituency in order to find the funding. When illness slowed these efforts, Professors Naeseth, Bleken, and Thompson as well as Pastors Austvold and Ingebrigtson stepped in to aid in the endeavor. When the final funding was counted it was found that $93,000 had been raised for the new dormitory. The funding was such an amount that Larsen Hall was built with repairs to the heating plant and Main building completed as well.

Planning
The new dormitory was built to accommodate both students and educational facilities. The center section was 40 by 50 feet with the east and west wings each being 40 by 90 feet. Larsen Hall included three stories and a basement. The basement was built for the purposes of a biology/chemistry laboratory, music rooms, and lecture rooms. These rooms were later used in order to provide classrooms and administrative offices after the 1942 fire of Old Main.

Dedication
At the 1907 dedication over 3,000 spectators, including 250 pastors of the Norwegian Synod, watched as Hans G. Stub (class of 1966), of the Luther Seminary, preached a sermon on I Corinthians 13: 1-7. Ulrik Vilhelm Koren, president of the Norwegian Synod, performed the dedication, naming the building after Laur Larsen, the first president of Luther College. In the evening, as a surprise to Preus, a party was thrown to celebrate his amazing fundraising efforts as well as his fifty-fifth birthday.

Renovation
In the 1944-45 school year a modernization was undertaken for Larsen Hall. The $60,000 project included fireproofing the stair ways and stairwells, making the washrooms modern, installing new doors, and providing new desks, wardrobes, and dressers to the dormitory rooms. The downstairs continued to house the biology, chemistry, and physics departments.

Developments
Today Larsen Hall houses dormitories on all three floors and the basement in the west wing and on the second and third floors of the east wing. Larsen Hall is one of the oldest buildings on campus and has dormitory rooms for one, two, and three people with alternating floors making the building co-educational. The first floor of the east wing has been given to the Study Abroad Offices while the basement of the east wing houses the Health Services and Counseling Services of Luther College.

Resources
Residence Life: Larsen Hall

Loyalty Hall


Construction
Loyalty Hall was dedicated on Dec 20, 1916 to provide a dining facility for the students of Luther College. The building is situated just east of Larsen Hall and south of Main.

Proposal
The students of Luther College in 1916 wanted to move the dining facilities, then located in the basement of Main, to its own building. In a proposal submitted through Mikkel Lono (class of 1917), the student body asked for a new building. Their plan was found to be acceptable and a new dining hall was built that same year.

Funding
In order to pay for this new building, Luther College borrowed funds with the help of a student boarding fee of $8 a year. As this building necessitated the moving of the hospital, some funds were shifted to the moving, improving, and enlarging of this facility. Loyalty Hall was originally 45 by 95 feet with two stories and a basement.

Dining Facility
Loyalty Hall was named to commemorate the loyalty of the students who raised the funds necessary to build the dining hall. Since 1896 students had been in charge of providing for their fellow classmates through the Luther College Boarding Club. The elections for positions such as manager, buyer, and treasurer were hotly contested among students often including debates on the selection and preparation of food. In 1931 Luther College resumed control of the boarding functions.

Developments
In 1962 the dining facilities moved to the basement of the Centennial Union (now the Dahl Centennial Union). To replace the dining usage, Loyalty Hall was converted in part for the Art Department. In 2003-2004 the building was renovated for its current use which includes administrative offices. The building now houses the Alumni and Advancement Offices as well as facilities and classrooms. One room has been set aside as a large meeting room which includes many technological capabilities not found in other areas on campus.

Main I


Main I
Main I was dedicated on Oct. 14, 1865 thanks to the fundraising of Synod President H. A. Preus. Originally the building was the only one on the campus ground and stood as the housing and classrooms for the entire college.

Proposal
The Building Committee, originally under the leadership of Pastor Koren but later Professor Larsen, decided to use the clay found on campus for the brick structure. A kiln was built approximately 50 feet east of the north wing of the building while Griese and Weile, architects, were engaged. On June 30, 1864 the cornerstone was laid with a procession from the Decorah courthouse to the construction site. Under the cornerstone was laid a brief history of the Norwegian Synod and a prayer for the college.

Funding
To build Main I a vigorous fundraising was started by Synod President H. A. Preus. This presented several issues not the least the inflation and crisis caused by the Civil War. However, the first Luther College building fund had more than 9,300 subscribers in 1864 with an average subscription of over $16.

Planning
The basement contained a storeroom, two kitchens, a dining room, living quaters for the steward’s family and other servants, and two washrooms for the students. On the first floor were living quarters for two married teachers, a single teacher, and a large study area. The second floor was designed with eight study and recitation rooms. The third floor had four sleeping rooms, for 30 students each, two hospital rooms, two study rooms, and a chapel. The attic could sleep 55 students in four large sleeping rooms.

Dedication
When the building was dedicated in October of 1865, there was a grand celebration starting with a procession in the valley west of the Upper Iowa River. This was followed by the singing of two hymns and the dedicatory address by Pastor H. A. Preus. Pastor Koren, Professor Brauer of St. Louis (in German), Professor Larsen, and Professors Lange and Schmidt (in English) also gave addresses. Throughout were sung hymns until the closing prayer by Pastor Ottesen. After the ceremony a dinner was served behind the building.

Fire
Main I burned to the ground on May 19, 1889.

Main II


Main II
After the first fire, there was considerable debate over the future location of the college but it was eventually decided that Luther College would remain where it began. The decision had the provision that water mains were to extend from the city to the campus without expense to the college.

Proposal
Parts of the foundations of Main I were still intact and therefore utilized in the 1890 construction of Main II. A. F. Gauger was engaged as the architect while O. K. Simmons of Red Wing, Minnesota undertook the supervision of the construction without pay. Lars Moen of Calmar, Iowa did the interior carpentry.

Funding
The total cost was $50,000, considerably less than the inflated cost of Main I.

Planning
The building had three full stories with a basement and an attic. The basement still housed the kitchen and dining room plus bathrooms, storerooms, and living quarters for the steward and servants. The library was housed in the south wing of the first floor with administrative offices on the rest of that floor. The second floor had classrooms and a chapel room. The third and fourth floors were study rooms and the attics were used as sleeping quarters.

Dedication
Main II was dedicated on October 14, 1890 with 4,000 to 5,000 people present. Johan Th. Ylvisaker (class of 1877), then pastor of First Lutheran Church, Decorah, spoke the opening prayer. Other speakers were: J. A. Ottesen, L. S. Reque, A. K. Bailey, and Torger A. Torgerson. Hymns by Laur Larsen (class of 1886) were sung and special music was prepared by the Luren Singing Society of Decorah.

Fire
Fire destroyed Main II on May 31st, 1942 and would not be completely rebuilt until 1952.

Main III


Main III
Main III, or New Main, was began with the groundbreaking on Oct. 12, 1950 with the generous donations of students and alumni. The same ground was utilized in this final rebuilding.

Funding
The Luther College Alumni Association planned to raise $150,000 in pursuit of a New Main. By the end, they had pledges for over $171,000 plus another $40,000 from the businessmen in Decorah. For added support a student play based on the fire of Main II called “Dark Encounters” was directed by Bob Seegmiller. All the proceeds went to the funding for a new Main building. The final cost of the building was $613,000 with an additional $58,000 for furnishings.

Planning
Main III is a two wing structure with a center tower. There were 18 classrooms and 21 administrative offices placed in the two wings with 27 faculty offices located in the tower stories. On the top floor of the tower was a faculty lounge. This building has a different architectural style from the previous two Main buildings, instead using a more simplistic modern design.

Dedication
The building was ready for occupancy in September of 1952. The foundation stone of Main II, with an outline of the building was placed in the wall next to the entrance. The keystone of Main I with the 1864 inscription was placed beside the cornerstone of the new building.

Developments
There has been no fire to plight the third Main building and it still stands in the same spot with small renovations every few years. It now houses the offices of the registrar, financial services, human resources, and financial aid, as well as a computer center, language laboratory, and classrooms and faculty offices for the English, religion, philosophy, and foreign language departments. Situated north of Loyalty Hall and south of the Dahl Centennial Union, Main III faces the flagpole and Koren Hall.

Norby House, is located on the corner of North Street and Riverview Drive, Norby House is a peripheral building of the campus.

Purpose
The building was given to Luther College to serve as classrooms and offices. In 1952 private music lessons were being taught in Norby House, as there wasn’t a music building on the campus. Music continued to have a role in the building until the Jenson Noble Hall of Music was built in the 1980s.

In later years the building housed KWLC, the campus radio station, and the offices of Upward Bound and Talent Search programs.

Developments
In the summer of 2009, Norby House was renovated into a small dorm, housing approximately 24 female students and a staff member.

Use
Ockham House was originally the Korsrud Annex. The house is situated west of Olson Hall and south of Farwell Hall.

Planning and Development
Ockham House functions as an office facility with seminar rooms. The building has housed a variety of departments in its history, including office of the president, and is currently arranged for the philosophy faculty.

Olin Building, Luther College


Purpose
The Olin Building was dedicated on Homecoming weekend in 1995. The building was made to give a home to the various Mathematics, Economics, Business, and Computer Science classes which had previously been spread across the campus. Meant to externally reflect the college’s Scandinavian heritage, the Olin Building is situated just north of Valders Hall of Science and south of Preus Library, while facing the center of Campus across from the Center for Faith and Life.

Facilities
The Olin Building is a state of the art academic facility which boasts 33 faculty offices, ten high-technology classrooms, two computer classrooms, four networked computer laboratories, a 137-seat auditorium/lecture hall, a large seminar room, a student study center, and conference/interview rooms. One aspect that sets the Olin Building apart is the Round Table Room, located on the third floor. Featuring 28 network computers, the format is designed to facilitate brainstorming, debate, consensus, and planning.

Funding
The Olin Building was made possible by a gift from the Franklin W. Olin Foundation.

Developments
Today the Olin Building has improved its computer facilities to reflect up and coming technologies in an effort to give students an edge in an increasingly technological world. While the building remains primarily for the Mathematics, Economics, Business, and Computer Science departments, individual classrooms are used by multiple majors to foster the interdisciplinary learning that Luther College strives for.

Resources
Olin Facilities

Purpose
Olson Hall was dedicated on Oct. 16, 1955 to former Luther College President Oscar Olson, who was present at the ceremony. Situated just south of Koren Hall and Larsen Hall, Olson Hall faces the center of Campus and the statue of Martin Luther.

Funding
With funds from a federal loan of $535,000, work began on a dormitory with built-in dressers, beds, and desks. The cornerstone was laid on May 17, 1955 for a male dormitory to house 233 students. The final cost of the building was $594,000.

Dormitory Use
Until 1955, almost all the male students of Luther College lived in private homes off-campus and often ate off-campus as well. It became necessary with the burgeoning size of the student population to build a dormitory for the male students as a complement to the all female dormitory of Brandt Hall. Olson Hall was originally intended for this purpose. Due to the heavy need, male residents actually lived in the building at the beginning of the semester before its completion.

Renovation and Developments
Olson Hall was renovated in 2004 to reflect the changing needs of the Luther College student population. The building, which is now co-educational, includes suites for upperclassmen on the west side and three-person rooms for first-year students on the east side. The two sides are connected on the first floor by a TV lounge which includes a pool table, on the second floor by a social lounge, and on the third floor by a study lounge complete with two computer stations and a printer.

Use
The Prairie Houses houses were purchased by Luther College as another opportunity for upper-class students to experience off-campus housing. Situated just east of Jenson Noble Hall of Music, the Prairie Houses are located on streets just east of campus.

Planning
The houses are two-story homes located in residential neighborhoods within a five-minute walk of the Luther campus. Named for the Lutheran congregations that founded the college, Spring Prairie, Rock Prairie, and Jefferson Prairie provide groups of seven students of the same sex the opportunity to live together as a peer group.

Resources
Residence Life: Prairie Houses

Preus Gymnasium


Construction
Preus Gymnasium was dedicated on Oct. 14, 1926 by Thaddeus F. Gullixson (class of 1903) thanks to the donations from students and alumni as well as the new endowment fund. The old gymnasium had ceased to function for a college with new athletic goals and a rising number of students. Located to the north of Main II, Preus Gymnasium stood as the home point for many Luther students (LC 217).
Proposal
The idea of a gym was furnished by the administration of Oscar Olson who worked closely with architect Charles H. Altfillisch. They needed a structure that would serve the college not only as a gymnasium but also as an auditorium and social center. To match the rest of the campus at this time it was decided that the ediface would be of brick with Bedford stone trim. Athletics were on the rise after physical education was added as a course in 1889 and the ban of intercollegiate football was lifted in 1919 (LC 145, 235).

Funding
When the idea was first proposed a letter was sent to all alumni of the college asking for donation. Reprinted in College Chips the letter focused on the past achievements of Alumni drives and emphaized the reason a gym was needed. At the end it encouraged the students to help: “That the gymnasium is needed, is freely admitted; that Luther men and friends can build it, no one will deny” (Chips, 1924). The alumni and friends raised $220,000. To help the Decorah Chamber of Commerce raised $26,000. Yet this still wasn’t enough and an additional $100,000 was borrowed from the new endowment fund (LC 217).

Planning
Construction began in 1926 and began to shape a multi-functional building. The gymnasium contained a full basketball court, an indoor practice rink for track runners, a small turning room (gymnastics), full locker room facilities, an area open for a swimming pool, and art classrooms. On one side, the basement floor was kept as dirt and used by the baseball team for indoor practice. Also located in the building was the radio station KWLC. Offices were added because of the now rising need for full time coaches who had only been hesitantly hired previously due to the use of professors as coaches (LC 217, 235). The building was named after the second president of Luther College, C. K. Preus. The motto “Mens sana in corpore sano” (a sound mind in a sound body) was inscribed on the side (Stability, 83).

Renovation
In 1942 the administration authorized the remodeling of Preus Gymnasium in an effort to improve facilities. This decision came none to soon as in that same year the second Main building burned down. After the loss of numerous classrooms, the gymnasium became the center of campus. During the remodeling, finished very quickly after the fire, the bottom floor was changed into a women’s gym. The area originally set aside for a pool became four classrooms; the turning room and the second floor tower also became classrooms to fill the new need. In 1947 roll-away bleachers were installed in the main gym area.

Fire
On November 2, 1961 at 11:35 pm the alarm was raised by student Chuck Yount and by 11:45 freshman student LeRoy Roesti, who had been working in the KWLC studio, escaped the now burning building (Chips 1961). The fire had begun backstage in the west end on a night with 40 mph west wind gusts (Stability, 125). Firefighters from Decorah, Waukon, Cresco, Ossian, and Calmar rushed to the scene but were unable to start until 35 minutes later due to a lack of water pressure. By then, the whole building was in flames and efforts were focused on keeping the other campus buildings from catching fire (Stability, 125). In the morning all that remained were charred, twisted metal beams and piles of brick. Only one tower was still standing but surprisingly the wooden barracks right next to the building was unharmed (Stability, 125). This loss created a serious problem for the class schedule but efforts were quickly made to make full use of the new Main building as well as Valders Hall of Science.

Resources
Nelson, David T., Luther College 1861-1961, Luther College Press, Decorah: 1961.
Jordahl, Leigh D. and Harris E. Kaasa, Stability and Change: Luther College in Its Second Century, Luther College Press, Decorah: 1986.
College Chips
Oct. 15, 1924 Vol. 41, No. 13
Nov. 3, 1961 Vol. 79, No. 8

Preus Library


Construction
Preus Library was dedicated on May 11, 1969 thanks to the donations from students and alumni as well as federal loans. Koren Hall, which had functioned as the Luther College library prior to the construction of Preus, had been designed to serve a maximum of 300 students but the population of Luther students continued to grow exponentially until overcrowding became a problem. The idea of a new library was first proposed by the Board of Regents in a resolution passed June 1, 1963, making the new library the next construction project for Luther College. Situated just north of Brandt Hall and south of the Olin Building, Preus Library faces the center of Campus across from the Dahl Centennial Union.

Proposal
After the Board of Regents agreed to build a new library, a faculty committee, chaired by Oivind Hovde the librarian, was appointed to begin planning. Donald Gray, of the Altfillisch firm was designated as the architect and by 1965 a complete drawing of the building had been completed. Hovde and Gray worked extensively on the subsequent plans and requirements for the structure. For research purposes both men attended sessions of the American Library Association on the subject of new construction opportunities while also traveling to college libraries located throughout the Midwest.

Funding
In the spring of 1966 an article in College Chips appeared signed by thirteen students asking for donations from their fellow students. In the spring of 1966, the students of Luther College began donating funds to meet a proposed goal of $100,000. By August of 1967, the student body had pledged almost $111,600 and added another $25,000 in the following fall semester becoming the largest financial support by students for any building project in Luther College’s history. The library was also unusual in that it received an outright grant of $533,673 from the federal government as well as a federal loan of $1,120,000 from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Grants were also accepted from the Lutheran Brotherhood and The Kresge Foundation.

Planning
Gray and Hovde planned a library that would be both aesthetically pleasing and functional. They allowed the Luther College students some amount of contribution in the planning of the library interior, doing extensive interviews with students that eventually influenced the library that is seen today. The stacks, it was decided, would be located in the center of the room with study areas along the walls to prevent students from having to disturb others in their quest for a book. The stacks and offices were designed to allow expansion. For students there were set aside twelve group study rooms, twelve faculty research rooms, as well as additional spaces for audio-visual materials, rare books, and classrooms. The library plan was set to accommodate up to 2,500 students with room for 900 study spaces.

Dedication
The library was named after the Preus family, which had been closely associated with the college since its founding. The family includes two past Luther College presidents, father (C. K. Preus) and son (O. J. H. Preus). In 1977 the alumni directory listed no less than 25 members of the Preus family, excluding in-laws. The Preus Library was dedicated in 1969 in a ceremony awarding eight distinguished service awards to alumni. Four of those honored were from the Preus family: Herman A., seminary professor; Wilhelm C., attorney; Paul G., college president; and Nelson F., churchman. Also recognized were four librarians: Kenneth Fagerhaugh (Carnegie-Mellon University), Donald O. Rod (University of Northern Iowa), Gerhard Naeseth (University of Wisconsin), and Luther’s own Oivind Hovde.

Developments
Today Preus Library has been technologically updated to include both a PC based computer lab and a Mac based computer lab. The library also includes now an ICN classroom. For both of these, a set of offices has been set aside for a technology help desk to aid students and faculty in the use of computer based technology across campus. The card catalog of the past has been replaced by an extra study area and open use computers as students can now access a search resource through the library website.
Resources
Preus Library
College Chips Archives

Regents Center


Construction
The Regents Center began as the Field House in 1964 and was completed with additional facilities in 1991. Situated just south of the Dahl Centennial Union and west of Ylvisaker Hall, Regents Center lies in the valley below the majority of Luther College’s campus.

Proposal
When Preus Gymnasium burned down in 1961, the college was bereft. The high loss of both classrooms and athletic facilities left the college without valuable places to conduct their classwork. There was some controversy over the location of the Field House versus the chapel/auditorium building, later to be built and named the Center for Faith and Life. In the Wickstead campus plan of 1962, the field house would have been built between Valders Hall of Science and the municipal pool. David T. Nelson proposed, in a sharp contrast, to placing the building on the bottomland below the Union, which would then allow for expansion of dormitories, a library, and other buildings on the upper campus. His idea eventually won out and the Field House, along with the many athletic fields, were placed on the lower campus.

Funding
The financing of the Field House proved to be the easiest out of all the Luther College buildings. The insurance policy for Preus Gymnasium amounted to $1,264,725. The actual cost to build the Field House ended up being only $1,322,850.

Planning
One new feature of the Field House was the main gymnasium which included three basketball courts and increased seating. An interesting part of this gym was a floor that rested on metal springs to provide some “give” to prevent athlete injuries. Also included was a folding wall to separate one-third of the area from the rest in order to provide a place for daily chapel and a lecture hall. The Field House was designed as a building large enough to house the entire student body plus, in order that large assemblies and events could happen including Messiah and student registration. Along with the larger spaces there were also facilities for wrestling, dance, gymnastics, weight lifting, and classrooms.

Developments
Over the years many of the athletic fields have moved to the lower campus including the baseball and softball diamonds; eight new tennis courts; and by 1966, a new football field named Carlson Stadium. For track runners, a cross country trail was added throughout the campus called the Ritland Fitness Trail. Additional facilities have been placed in the building over the years including a new name, the Regents Center. In 2001 a work out area for students, faculty, and staff was opened named the Legends Fitness for Life Center.

Regents Towers


Construction
The Regents Towers, specifically named Miller and Dieseth Halls, were built into the side of a bluff on the north side of campus with half the rooms overlooking the scenic Upper Iowa River Valley. Situated just north of Ylvisaker Hall, half the Regents Towers faces the center of Campus towards Valders Hall of Science.

Funding
Dieseth Hall was the first of the two buildings to be constructed in 1966 and was meant as a dormitory for men. The total cost was $1,482,001. Miller Hall, designated as a women’s dormitory, was ready by 1968 but costs had risen somewhat during this time. The dormitory cost a total of $1,769,832 requiring a federal loan of $1,575,000 to finish.

Planning
The large size of the student body required two dorms of a larger proportion to the rest of the buildings on campus. Each dormitory is 8 stories tall and set into the side of the bluff which makes up the north side of campus. From Highway 52, which borders Luther to the west, the two dormitories appear impressive. To connect the two buildings, a lounge was built between the fifth and fourth floors of each hall. This lounge includes a fireplace and comfortable tables and chairs where students can study. Each hall is connected to campus through a short passageway and, in the case of Miller Hall, a lofted walkway. Each floor of the Regents Towers has 23 double occupancy rooms to house approximately 368 students.

Dedication
The Regents Towers were named after significant members of the Luther College Board of Regents. The towers were named after Frank Miller and John Dieseth with the lounge connecting the two named after the Brunsdale family which includes former regent Norman Brunsdale.

Developments
Today the Regents Towers, simply called the “Towers,” are both co-educational facilities on alternating floors. They commonly house sophomore and junior students from Luther College but are also open during the summer to house visiting high school students. Brunsdale Lounge now contains a computer lab open to all students as well as updated furniture. On the north side students can enjoy the views of Lindeman Pond and the soccer fields while the south side students can see Ylvisaker Hall and the sand volleyball courts.

Resources
Residence Life: Miller and Dieseth Halls (Towers) Information

Sperati House


Construction
Sperati House was built in 1905 by Carlo A. Sperati.

Dedication
The house is named for Sperati who began teaching at Luther College in 1905 as director of music and became famous for twice taking the band to Europe, in addition to leading tours across the United States.

Development
Sperati House is now a remodeled residence, which serves as a guest house for official visitors to the campus.

Construction
Storre Theatre was opened in 1974 as a traditional auditorium facility for Luther College’s student-run company, SPIN. Situated just south of Farwell Hall, Storre Theatre lies on the lower campus.

Dedication
The building was named after O. K. Storre of Worth County, Iowa, who left his farm to the college when he died in 1963.

Developments
Today Storre Theatre is used primarily for student-run productions and workshops. There is also a material art classroom and regular use classroom available in the facility.

Sunnyside


The land that Sunnyside was built on was purchased by Eli C. Dunning in 1852, the proprietor of the mill at Dunning’s Spring. In 1855, Joseph Gibbons purchased a piece of the land and then sold about 4 acres of it one year later to Ebenezer Baldwin. Baldwin built the house that was later to be known as the Sunnyside building in 1857. 1

Throughout the next several years, the house and land was sold to Catherine Meacham in 1858. In 1872, the property was sold to Rev. Ove J. Hjort (pastor of the Paint Creek congregation) and was placed at the disposition of the college, due to Hjort’s close ties with Luther College. Several Luther College faculty members lived in Sunnyside during this time, including Lyder Siewers who taught from 1863-1877, when he moved south of Decorah to the area known now as Siewers Spring (near today’s Decorah Fish Hatchery) and served as editor of the popular Norwegian newspaper, the Decorah Posten.

After Siewers left, Andrew Veblen moved into Sunnyside and he taught at Luther from 1877 to 1881. His son, Oswald Veblen was born in Sunnyside on June 24, 1880, and went on to become a renowned mathematician and faculty member at Princeton.

C.K. Preus Family on the front porch of Sunnyside, c. 1900s.


In 1897, Rev. C. K. Preus and his wife Louise (Hjort) Preus purchased the Sunnyside property from the Hjort estate. The Preus family lived in the home while C. K. Preus joined the faculty in 1898 and was elected as the college’s second president in 1902. In 1908, a piece of the property was sold to the Sperati family who built a home that is now known as the Sperati House.

In 1920, the family sold the property to Luther College. In the decades that followed, Sunnyside became the home to several students, academic departments, and organizations until the early 2000s. In 1926, the house was used for exhibiting artifacts in the Norwegian-American Museum collections under the curator Knut Gjerset. When co-education was introduced in 1936, Sunnyside became a women’s dormitory, along with Campus House. In the 1950s and early 1960s, Sunnyside served as a music building, offering a place to teach piano and voice lessons. In the late 1960s, the building hosted a student-ran coffee shop called Etcetera. Following the demise of the coffee house, the history department moved into Sunnyside in 1970 where it stayed until 1976.

Black Student Union, 1975-1976, on the steps of Sunnyside


The Upward Bound program moved in to the building in 1976 and in 1983, it was renovated to become the new home of the Black Student Union. In its last decades, Sunnyside was reverted back to music studios and also provided offices for emeriti faculty members. 2

When the college expanded to include the new Center for the Arts, it was proposed to move Sunnyside to a new site. However, in the spring of 2001, it was decided to demolish the historic home instead, due to the incurred heavy costs and expenses. A push to preserve the building resulted in a survey and mitigation report, but ultimate the building was demolished.

The new Center for the Arts building sits where the Sunnyside property was. It was dedicated in the Spring of 2003 and houses a coffee house called Sunnyside Cafe, in honor of the property that once was.

References

  1. Luther College Archives, RG04 Finance and Administration, Series 1 Building Files, Sub-series 7 Sunnyside
  2. Bunge, Wilfred F., Mary Lou Hull Mohr, and Dale Nimrod. 2011. Transformed by the journey: 150 years of Luther College in word and image. Decorah, Iowa: Luther College Press.

Valders Hall of Science


Construction
Valders Hall of Science was dedicated on September 29, 1961, becoming the first million dollar building on the Luther College campus. Larsen Hall and Main had previously been used as the home of the biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics departments. The new science building put all of these disciplines under one roof for the first time in college history. Situated just north of the Olin Building and south of Ylvisaker Hall, Valders Hall of Science faces the center of Campus across from Brandt Hall.

Funding
Since the building was going to be the most expensive ever undertaken by the college, a sizable amount of funding was needed. In 1954 A.O. Davidson (class of 1931) returned to Luther College to help with the recently reactivated Alumni Fund. By 1955 faculty, staff, and students of the college had pledged $84,000; the city of Decorah, $83,000; and not long after the total pledges reached more than $200,000. The success of the campaign inspired an enlargement becoming known as the Centennial Development Fund with a goal of $700,000 which was reached early in 1958 going over by $27,000. The Kresge Foundation gave $25,000 in 1957; the United States Public Health Service, granted $25,000 for construction of health research facilities; and the Woods Charitable Fund, Inc. of Chicago awarded $500. By 1957 Luther College had launched the Lutheran Alumni Mobilization Project (LAMP)to encourage alumni participation in all phases of college development. The principal private donors for the building, Louis and Moude Olson, donated $200,000 as well as other substantial gifts to the college. Fully furnished the final cost of the building was $1,367,067.

Planning
The two wing building, one of three stories, was connected with a large lobby and concourse that has been used for chapel and rehearsal purposes. For several years Valders Hall of Science, when it was first built, also needed to serve the speech and theatre departments for which a large lecture hall was built to house the dramatic productions. This lecture hall seats 300 and is located next to the Spitz Planetarium, completed in 1964. Also added later was a research-grade greenhouse.

Dedication
Construction began in fall of 1959 with the cornerstone laid in May of 1960. The dedication in 1961 was led by H.W. Siefkes, bishop of the Iowa District, ALC. The guest lecturer was H. Bentley Glass, a biologist from Johns Hopkins University. The Olson family asked that the building be named for the Valdres area in Norway and Valders, Wisconsin, where Mr. Olson’s ancestors lived.

Planetarium
Valders Hall of Science was the first million-dollar building on the Luther campus. However, because of insufficient funds, some features of the original plan had to be delayed. A Spitz Planetarium, including projector, dome instruments, and seating was added in 1964, completed in time for the spring meeting of the Iowa Academy of Science held at Luther. Emil Miller demonstrated it for the visiting scholars. At the time, it was the only planetarium in any educational institution in Iowa and one of only a few in the Midwest. The planetarium was a great tool for the teaching of astronomy, but not content with that, Miller was determined also to have an observatory in the country, away from the distracting lights of town. He toured rural Decorah looking for a proper site. The one selected was on a piece of farmland owned by Roy Carlson, who willingly donated the necessary property. The faculty family of Carl and Camilla Strom gave the college a telescope. Miller, with the aid of students and a stonemason, constructed a usable observatory at minimal cost. On a foundation of cement block, they mounted a fiberglass silo dome on wheels. The dome was made to revolve by an old washing-machine motor for Miller’s basement.

Renovation
To meet the needs of the changing environment for teaching and learning science, Luther broke ground May 11, 2007 on a 21st-century science facility connected to the east with the current Valders Hall of Science. Luther hired Opus Northwest Construction (Minnetonka, Minn.) as the architectural firm for the Sampson Hoffland Laboratories, a design-and-build project. Within the three-level facility, the biology department will be housed on the first and second levels, and the chemistry department will be housed primarily on the third level. This leaves a majority of the original building for the nursing and psychology departments. The Luther building planning team enlisted the help of energy-efficiency engineers to design the new center to U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards–including lighting-control sophistication and other technologies developed to reduce energy consumption and heating and cooling costs. The funding project is Luther’s $90-million Higher Calling campaign. The largest capital project in college history, the new science center is projected to cost $20 million.

Resources
Stability and Change: Luther College in Its Second Century by Leigh D. Jordahl and Harris E. Kaasa
Valders Hall of Science

Ylvisaker Hall


Construction
Ylvisaker Hall, pronounced “il-vuh-soccer” and commonly called “Ylvi” (“ILL-vee”) by the students, is a monument to a Luther College president who was dedicated to the building of the campus. Built as a complement to the freshman women’s dormitory, Brandt Hall, Ylvisaker Hall is situated just south of the Regents Towers and north of Valders Hall of Science.

Proposal
During the years of 1964-1967 the student body at Luther College experienced a rapid growth due to the “baby boomers” reaching college age. At the time of its construction, Ylvisaker Hall was needed as a freshmen men’s dormitory. The enrollment of men in 1964, when the hall was opened, was substantially higher than that of women. It wasn’t until 1970 that this discrepancy became equal followed by a reversal in the very next year.

Planning
Ylvisaker Hall needed to house the entire male freshman class when it was built. The design called for a long three story building which included large study and recreation lounges on the east end of the building. The person put in charge of the building was W.O. Kalsow, the previous chief financial officer, who became the assistant vice president of plant expansion. In the summer of 1964 there was a frantic rush to finish the dormitory before freshman move in day in the fall. In order to finish, Kalsow insisted the contractors work on Labor Day. Not surprisingly, a union representative showed up to encourage workers to walk off the job, but Kaslow ordered the man off the campus as a trespasser. Work continued until the end of the day. On the day that the freshmen moved in, faculty members were carrying the mattresses in along side the freshmen students.

Dedication
The building was in use when it was dedicated in 1964 and named after former Luther College President J. Wilhelm Ylvisaker, who had retired in 1961. Ylvisaker Hall today stands as a memorial to this soft-spoken man and to the entire Ylvisaker family who has contributed so much to the college.

Developments
Ylvisaker Hall was made into a co-educational facility when the demographics of Luther College made it necessary. In 2002 it was renovated to its current interior although the exterior integrity was kept. Ylvisaker Hall still stands with Brandt Hall as the two all freshmen dormitories on the Luther College campus.

Resources
Ylvisaker Hall Information

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Contact Information

Hayley Jackson
College Archivist

Preus Library 310
Upper Floor
Luther College
700 College Drive

The Archives is open for research from 1:00-4:30, Monday-Friday, and by appointment.

archives@luther.edu

Phone: 563-387-1805