History (Part IV)

Westmar Alumni and Friends Association

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Seal of Westmar College
Rebuilding (1900-1904)
The citizens of Le Mars were not slow in responding.  A mass meeting at the Opera House was called for the same evening of the fire.  There was an unusually good crowd considering that the primary purpose was to raise money.  Pledges were called for that evening, and within a few minutes $2,500 were guaranteed.  However, the remainder of the money was not easy to secure, and until the total amount was pledged no action could be taken.  On September 22 the pledges were still short by $900.  The Le Mars city council was convinced to appropriate $750 for the purpose of removing the remaining walls of the burned building and clearing up the debris.  The remaining $150 was then quickly raised.
    Meanwhile, the board of Trustees of the college ordered the school to be opened in temporary quarters.  These quarters were in the Senate Hotel of downtown Le Mars and on Wednesday, September 19, the institution was formally opened.  Notwithstanding the serious difficulties, the attendance at the opening year was very satisfactory.  There were over 100 students enrolled from Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado.
    The new college building was dedicated on September 18, 1901, by Bishop W. M. Standford of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  The second year of Western Union College was opened in the new building the following day.  The students for the fall term found a well-equipped building surrounded by small pines.  For dormitories, they used homes of the Le Mars community, and for an athletic field they used the handiest pasture.  Western Union College was safely launched.
    Western Union College was co-educational from the beginning.  A devotional service was conducted each morning in the chapel, which all students were required to attend.  It was also expected that every student would attend religious services on Sunday in one of the city churches.  Candidates for admission had to be at least fifteen years of age, and they had to furnish evidence of good moral character.  Western Union was incorporated under the laws of Iowa; therefore, the college was officially entitled to grant degrees in all departments of the school.
    Students were advised to take the rooms and accommodations recommended by the college authorities.  Room and board could be acquired for approximately $3 per week.
   When Western Union College opened its doors it did not have a student's home until Union Hall was opened on January 5, 1904.  The building consisted of three stories containing well arranged and lighted rooms where the students lived.  Each room was furnished with an iron bedstead and bed clothing, a study table with a four-shelf book case, a washstand with basin and pitcher, and a room clothes closet.  The building, furthermore, contained proper lavatories, bath tub and water closets, connected with the city sewer.  It had a large and spacious parlor, and a room dining hall which readily accommodated fifty students at a time for meals.
   The management of Union Hall was under a superintendent who lived in the  building with his family.  Union Hall was located on the west end of the college campus which provided an excellent view of the surrounding country.  The second floor of the building provided living quarters for the girls and the third floor was occupied by the boys. 












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