Thursday, August 27, 2015

Treasures from the Archive: Concordia's Beginnings

Week 2: Concordia's Beginnings

Since we are still in the beginning of the semester and the academic year, I figured the beginning is as good a place as any to start with these posts. I know I touched on some of the initial stuff about Concordia but that’s no fun, I mean, after all, Concordia didn’t just appear overnight with 30 some students attending. Well, in the grand scheme of things it may very well have… the school opened up only 4 months after funding for it was approved by the Missouri Synod! Of course, this came due to the rapid growth of the Minnesota Dakota district of the Synod (a district that consisted of: Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Northern Nebraska and part of Canada).

The synod had other schools educating pastors who could then move into the territory and preach, but with over 300 congregations with 50,000 people throughout and only 131 pastors (though a steadily growing number), delegates in 1893 thought it would be a good idea to have an institution closer to home. Not all delegates at the 1893 synodical convention were in support of this idea though, and it came down to District President Freidrick Pfotenhauer and Concordia Seminary President Francis Pieper of St. Louis to convince the delegates.

As you can guess, these men met with successful efforts and $25,000 was provided for the school (impressive since the total resources of the synod were $50,000 at the time) and a local board of trusties were elected. The ball was rolling and Concordia opened in a temporary location on Agate Street in September 1893, under the direction of (then) functional director Theodore Buenger.

So there’s your cliff notes on how Concordia came about!

- Michael


Michael Hernick recently graduated from Concordia University, Saint Paul with a major in History. He spent his summer buried in the Archive digging up interesting nuggets of Concordia's history. We will be highlighting his work with Throwback Thursday post, Treasures from the Archive, throughout the year!