History (Part II)

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Seal of Westmar College
The Birth of Western Union College (1887-1891)
Many individuals in Le Mars realized the value of the school to education and the welfare of the town.  They accordingly took steps to help retain it.  In 1892 a group of prominent business men formed a company known as the Le Mars Normal Association. They bought a tract of land south of Le Mars and held what they called a Normal School Gala Day.  The slogan was "buy a lot and build a city."  The Normal Association saved the finest seven acres of the tract of land for the campus, then sub-divided the balance into streets and lots.  The people of Le Mars responded well, and lots were sold amounting to $27,000.  This gave the association a sufficient sum to pay for the land and erect a anew building.  The building was completed in 1892, and the Northwestern Normal and Business School was moved to its new location, taking the name Le Mars Normal School.  Unfortunately, however, the struggle of the fledgling college was not over.
   The Normal Association had also envisioned the state legislature converting its college into a state supported normal school.  But its members were also thwarted in this endeavor.  After operating the school under private ownership for eight years, they were faced with the decision of what to do with the college.  The answer came at a meeting in Union Hall at Le Mars on April 10, 1900.
  The Le Mars Normal School Association knew that the United Evangelical Church in the Midwest was interested in establishing a denominational college.  Its officers therefore proposed to transfer the school to the United Evangelical Church.  Dr. R. Dubs and Dr. W.M. Standford, as representatives of this denomination, came to Le Mars to discuss details with the association.  The resultant meeting in the Union Hotel was profitable for all and led to the organization and incorporation of the Western Union College of the United Evangelical Church.  By the terms of the agreement, the campus and building, valued at $35,000, was turned over to the new corporation.  Western Union College was to receive the deed to the property in ten years, or sooner, if they made $10,000 worth of improvements.  On Thursday, April 12, 1900, the articles of incorporation were filed and the necessary papers signed which completed the transfer of the property previously owned and operated by the Le Mars Normal Association.  This was the beginning of Western Union College.











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