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Wasioja in Dodge County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Wasioja's Seminary

 
 
Wasioja's Seminary Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Donald Westfall
1. Wasioja's Seminary Marker
Inscription.  The role of buildings in the development of a community and their significance in history is amply pointed out by the history of this structure. Anxious to promote the growth of the newly formed town, the citizens agreed to provide the Free Will Baptists with a building for a seminary. A structure of native limestone was completed in 1860, and the Minnesota Seminary opened in November of that year with an enrollment of more than 300 students. By 1861 the school had been renamed Northwestern College and offered classes on all levels from primary to collegiate. In 1862 Wasioja had a dozen stores, a hotel, a flour mill, and was surrounded by farms and quarries that promised a great future.

Then the course of history was changed. The Civil War had begun and men from Minnesota were on the battlefields. Captain James George, who had served in the Mexican War, asked the students to volunteer. Lead by Professor Clinton A. Cilley, the young men marched down to Captain George's law office and enlisted. That office is preserved today by the Dodge County Historical Society. Organized as Company C of the 2nd Minnesota, they marched off to war.
Wasioja's Seminary Marker and Seminary Ruins image. Click for full size.
April 18, 2022
2. Wasioja's Seminary Marker and Seminary Ruins
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Just over a year later at Snodgrass Hill near Chickamauga, they stopped the Confederates' advance at a high cost. Of the eighty young men that left Wasioja, only 25 returned with life and limb intact. The town never recovered from the great loss.

The school continued to operate, although its enrollment had been cut in half, and in 1868 the Free Will Baptists ceased their sponsorship. It was reopened as the Groveland Seminary, closing in 1872 and was reopened again in 1873 by the Wesleyan Methodist Conference. The school finally closed in 1894, and in 1905 a fire destroyed the building, leaving the ruins that stand today.

Reverend A. B. Gould, a graduate and instructor of the Seminary, acquired and preserved the ruins. On his death his heirs deeded the site to Dodge County as a public park. Stabilization of the ruins and erection of this plaque were carried out in 1994.
 
Erected 1995 by the Minnesota Historical Society.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & ReligionEducationWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Minnesota Historical Society series list. A significant historical month for this entry is November 1860.
 
Location. 44° 4.625′ N, 92° 48.962′ W. Marker is in Wasioja, Minnesota, in Dodge County
Wasioja's Seminary Ruins, from the northwest image. Click for full size.
April 18, 2022
3. Wasioja's Seminary Ruins, from the northwest
. Marker is on 212th Avenue south of 605th Street, on the left when traveling south. Located by the Wasioja Seminary Ruins in Wasioja. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Dodge Center MN 55927, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 3 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Dodge County Civil War Memorial (here, next to this marker); Wasioja Recruiting Station (approx. Ό mile away); Plowville (approx. 3.3 miles away).
 
Also see . . .  Seminary Park. Dodge County Highway & Parks Department (Submitted on March 16, 2018.) 
 
Wasioja's Seminary Ruins, from the east image. Click for full size.
April 18, 2022
4. Wasioja's Seminary Ruins, from the east
Wasioja's Seminary Ruins, from the south image. Click for full size.
April 18, 2022
5. Wasioja's Seminary Ruins, from the south
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 28, 2022. It was originally submitted on March 15, 2018, by Donald Westfall of Mantorville, Minnesota. This page has been viewed 460 times since then and 158 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on March 15, 2018, by Donald Westfall of Mantorville, Minnesota.   2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on April 27, 2022. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Nov. 30, 2022