Ytterboe the Dog

Ytterboe the Dog Jeff M. Sauve Nearly sixty years after his fateful demise, Ytterboe the Dog (affectionately known as Bo) remains very much a part of St. Olaf campus lore. Although he belonged to no one in particular, the black mongrel with chow traits...

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Wind Chime Memorial Tower

Wind Chime Memorial Tower Emily Hoar In the wake of the death of St. Olaf College Professor of Religion and Philosophy William “Bill” Narum in May 2000, his family established a fund to honor his belief in community cooperation and to promote integration...

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Well-Worn Footpath

Well-Worn Footpath Jeff M. Sauve What do golf balls, bullet casings, baby food jars, and a 1902 silver half dollar all have in common? Each item was found by someone poking around in Norway Valley. Since the early 1880s, students have made the woods their...

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Viking Court

Viking Court Jeff M. Sauve "Times have changed," declared the 1948 St. Olaf yearbook. With the post-World War II enrollment up from 100 to 900 men, both students and administration faced housing hardships. One solution was the creation in January 1947 of a...

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Thorson Hall Hillside

Thorson Hall Hillside Jeff M. Sauve "I wanted to make St. Olaf so nice no student would ever have to apologize for it," said John Berntsen, former head of the St. Olaf College grounds. He retired in 1964 after fifty-two years of devoted service. One of his...

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The Water Tower

The Water Tower Jeff M. Sauve Since its completion in the spring of 1948, the 150,000-gallon capacity St. Olaf Water Tower has attracted its fair share of mischief-makers. Students climbing to the top leaving their mark or engaging in clandestine activity...

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The Water Tanks

The Water Tanks Jeff M. Sauve Tanks A Lot! Nestled in Norway Valley are two domed water tanks which were constructed in the spring of 1961 for the city of Northfield. As early as 1904, the city placed its first water tank on Manitou Heights to take...

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The St. Olaf Elm

The St. Olaf Elm Emily Hoar Until its removal in 1921, the St. Olaf Elm stood for decades at the jog where West Third Street and Forest Avenue meet. Although long-gone, in its heyday, the elm was considered one of Northfield's most beloved trees, according...

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The Mighty Caesars

The Mighty Caesars Jeff M. Sauve Salad Days of The Mighty Caesars In the mid-1930s, ten St. Olaf fellows boarded off campus at 914 West Second Street. They called themselves “The Mighty Caesars.” This name was derived from a “liberated” brash red and...

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The Chemistry Shack (1919-1925)

The Chemistry Shack (1919-1925) Jeff M. Sauve The Manitou Messenger headline, "Test Tube Wielders Storm Chemistry Hut” (November 18, 1919), announced the latest and by far the quickest building ever erected on the St. Olaf College campus. The unpretentious...

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Shakespeare Among the Vine and Pine

Shakespeare Among the Vine and Pine Jeff M. Sauve “St. Olaf Shakespeare Cast Give Play in Real Forest," stated a newspaper headline for the 1924 spring inauguration production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Over the next seventeen years, until 1941, Norway...

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Rolvaag Memorial Library Cornerstone

Rolvaag Memorial Library Cornerstone Emily Hoar The cornerstone of Rolvaag Memorial Library, now shrouded in a curtain of ivy, conceals an interesting past. Built entirely through the efforts of alumni and friends of St. Olaf College, the library held its...

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Pop Hill Ski Jump

Pop Hill Ski Jump Jeff M. Sauve As the son of the chemistry department chair, Peter Agre spent many hours as a child in the 1950s playing on the St. Olaf College campus, including at the Pop Hill ski jump. Years later, Agre recounted those experiences: “In...

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Pop Hill Caves

Pop Hill Caves Jeff M. Sauve The “devil at your doorstep” was how the St. Olaf College administration viewed a small brewery and beer garden once located directly behind Thorson Hall. In 1885, Adolph Grafmueller purchased the land adjoining Manitou...

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Poetry of Place

Poetry of Place Jeff M. Sauve The valley of the stalwart pines beneath the college hill Away from all the campus stir—a place so quiet and still . . . So wrote St. Olaf College’s athletic coach, Ade Christenson, to his beloved in 1926. Others like him over...

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Para-Pillars

Para-Pillars Emily Hoar Jeff Barber’s “Para-Pillars” memorializes thirty years of St. Olaf’s Paracollege, which provided innovative, individualized, interdisciplinary learning. The sculptor, class of 1978, is himself an alumnus of the “college within a...

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Original Baseball Diamond (1887-1889)

Original Baseball Diamond (1887-1889) Jeff M. Sauve From 1887 to 1889, the original baseball field, situated at the foot of the hill below Old Main on the southeast side, was far from ideal. A raised wooden sidewalk traversed the outfield for students to...

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Oles on Parade

Oles on Parade Jeff M. Sauve Where else but in a homecoming parade do you see female students in puffy pastel crinolines perched on an Army jeep, or the physics club's gigantic "Amazon Queen of Science" float? In the decade-plus following World War II,...

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Old Main Homecoming Bonfire

Old Main Homecoming Bonfire Emily N. Sacket “The Carls are coming! The Carls are coming!” or "The Oles are Coming! The Oles are Coming!" These familiar war cries epitomized the rivalry between Carleton and St. Olaf colleges in the post-World War II era....

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Norwegian Royal Visit, 1939

Norwegian Royal Visit, 1939 Jeff M. Sauve The first-ever Norwegian royal visit to St. Olaf College occurred on May 7 and 8, 1939, Crown Prince Olav and Princess Märtha and their entourage were billeted overnight in the newly constructed Agnes Mellby Hall....

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Mud Tug

Mud Tug Jeff M. Sauve "Take one big hole, fill with water, add a mixture of Oles and Carls, throw in a rope, splash around, make one big mess—it's the Mud-Tug!" Aptly named, the annual freshmen tradition for St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges started in 1954...

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Monument in the Woods

Monument in the Woods Jeff M. Sauve Under a canopy of basswoods and sugar maples in Norway Valley, fifty yards east of the water tower, sits a monument dedicated to Reverend Ole O. Fugleskjel, a member of the St. Olaf College class of 1894. The nine-foot...

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Ladies’ Hall Elm

Ladies' Hall Elm Jeff M. Sauve For several decades, the hollow elm near Ladies' Hall provided a wonderful photographic setting for the St. Olaf community. In the college's early years, the tree's cavity was burned to prevent further decay and was tended as...

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Alumni Pledge

Alumni Pledge Jeff M. Sauve For several decades, newly minted St. Olaf graduates stood in a ring, clasping hands while stating the Alumni Pledge in Norwegian, "Enig og tro indtil Manitou falder (United and loyal till Manitou falls)." The phrase was derived from the...

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World War I Memorial Service Lamps

World War I Memorial Service Lamps Emily N. Sackett The men who fought in the world war were not heroes in the general sense of the word,” Professor Theodore Jorgenson proclaimed from the pulpit of Hoyme Memorial Chapel on Armistice Day, November 11, 1921....

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The St. Olaf Rock

The St. Olaf Rock Jeff M. Sauve Nearly a century ago, Georgina Rostad ex-'19 posed for a picture standing next to the St. Olaf Rock. From Rostad’s time to the present, countless others have similarly been photographed in front of, on top of and next to the...

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Flaten Art Barn

Flaten Art Barn Jeff M. Sauve In the summer of 1932, Arnold Flaten '22 returned to campus after studying art in Europe for two years. Charged with creating an art department, and supported by a generous gift of $5,000 from the Carnegie Corporation to the...

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