Thursday, December 10, 2015

Treasures from the Archive: Luther Hall

The first new residence hall to be built on campus was the East Dormitory, or as we know it today, Luther Hall. In 1922, Concordia's enrollment had reached an all time high of 238. The current dormitory accommodations could house 150. It was painfully apparent that more housing was needed.

Concordia's administration hired an architect to design a block plan (which was eventually abandoned) for a campus that would serve a student body of 300 (at that time, there were thoughts that enrollment would be capped at this number.) The southern end of the campus would consist of three dormitories forming a quadrangle, the East Dormitory would the first to be built.

The cornerstone for the building was laid on August 9, 1924 and the building was completed by November 1925.

One of the most interesting and unique features of the building are the stone sculptures above the front entrance and around the columns flanking the front entrance.

Those that live in Luther Hall may (or may not) have noticed these gargoyle-like faces staring down at them if they enter the building from Syndicate Street.

Directly above the entrance to the building is Martin Luther. The central placement of Luther's face on the building and Luther's significance to Concordia as a Lutheran school, were factors in renaming the dormitory to Luther Hall in 1947.

Luther is flanked by two great leaders of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Dr. Francis (Franz) Pieper and Dr. C.F.W. Walther.

Left to right: Dr. Francis Pieper, Dr. Martin Luther, Dr. C.F.W. Walther

Dr. Francis Pieper flanks Luther to the left. At the time of the building's construction, Dr. Pieper was president of Concordia Theological Seminary and, in addition to being immortalized on the East Dormitory, was selected to be the main speaker at the building's dedication. One of his great contributions to Lutheran theology was Christliche Dogmatik (Christian Dogmatics), doctrinal theology of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Dr. C.F.W. Walther flanks Luther to the right. Dr. Walther was the founder, first president, and one of the most influential theologians of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

In addition to the sculptures of these three influential men, there are also sculptures around the columns flanking the entrance to Luther Hall. The faces here are meant to be representations of young students and their teachers. The faces of the teachers were modeled after Philip Melanchthon, a theologian of the Protestant Reformation and colleague of Martin Luther, known for being the chief compiler of the Lutheran Confessions.

Though they may not be noticeable at first glance (but I bet you won't be able to ignore them from now on!) much thought went into the sculptures decorating the entrance to Luther Hall. The men immortalized here are founding fathers of Lutheranism and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod as well as teachers--making them appropriate guardians of the young men that first lived under the formidable roof of the East Dormitory. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are moderated. As soon as your comment is approved it will appear on the site.