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

Wasioja's Seminary

 
 
WASIOJA SEMINARY Marker image. Click for full size.
By Donald Westfall
1. WASIOJA 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. 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 Minnesota Historical Society.
 
Location. 44° 4.537′ N, 92° 48.813′ W. Marker is in Wasioja, Minnesota, in Dodge County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of 212th Avenue and 605th Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Dodge Center MN 55927, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 2 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Wasioja Recruiting Station (approx. 0.4 miles away); Plowville (approx. 3.2 miles away).
 
Also see . . .  Seminary Park. Dodge County Highway & Parks Department (Submitted on March 16, 2018.) 
 
Categories. Churches & ReligionEducationWar, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 16, 2018. This page originally submitted on March 15, 2018, by Donald Westfall of Mantorville, Minnesota. This page has been viewed 144 times since then. Photo   1. submitted on March 15, 2018, by Donald Westfall of Mantorville, Minnesota. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
 
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Wide shot of marker and its surroundings. • Can you help?
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