Concordia College

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Springfield Journal Register, date of paper which originally published the following is unknown.

(Photograph courtesy of Prof. Richard C. Neitzel)

It is indeed a privilege and a pleasure to turn back the pages of local history seventy years and through this rare old photograph visualize Concordia College, one of Springfield's most honored education institutions, as it looked shortly after it opened its doors in 1874. The main building itself with its three professors' houses on the east was not a new structure. It had housed what was once known as "Illinois State University," predecessor of Concordia on this site, and dating back to 1852 - an ambitious institution prominent in this part of the country for years, with a resident faculty and a considerable student body. Abraham Lincoln, whose son Robert was a student, made an address at the dedicatory exercises. When that school suspended operations, the property was taken over by the Missouri Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Church and Concordia College was moved here from St. Louis in 1874. The majestic building here shown is revered in Concordia history as "The Coffee Mill," a landmark which disappeared from the campus in 1931 to make room for a new and modern college building. The row of professors' houses at right has since been extended from three to seven. The Seventies were the days of small things at Concordia and yet even then the standards were high and the early alumni went out from its halls to make splendid records in all parts of the world. Springfield may well be proud of this institution, one of the most prominent theological seminaries of the Church. Its work is carried on quietly but very efficiently, with earnest students and a faculty of fine, conscientious professors, devoted to their ideals of building manhood and preparing worthy ministers of the gospel.

(Photograph courtesy of Prof. Richard C. Neitsel)

Another interesting call-back to the historic sleet storm of February 3, 1883, is presented in this faded old photograph of Concordia College as it loomed up against the landscape in the cold gray dawn of the morning after. Quite a majestic old structure, wasn't it - the old "Coffee Mill," the memory of which is cherished by thousands of old students and graduates of the institution over its many years of service. As will be noted, in those early days a long wooden fence extended along the entire south side of the grounds, and the fine trees which now adorn the campus were just getting a good start. In the wake of that great storm which spread its "magnificent desolation" over the community, Concordia was pretty well isolated - located as it was on the northeast edge of town and with not many houses in the immediate vicinity. But as the College was virtually "self-contained", there was no interruption of classes. This was in the regime of Prof. Augustus Craemer, the first president of the institution, who served until his death in 1891. Among other faculty members in that era were Henry C. Wyneken, John S. Simon and Frederick Lochner - whose son, Louis P. Lochner, born here, has made such a name for himself as a war correspondent with the Associated Press, and a radio speaker on various phases of this conflict.

Submitted by: Jeanie Lowe.