Winona College of Agriculture
The 1911 Report of the commissioner of Education has the curriculum. The story of Winona Lake: A Memory and a Vision describes the buildings. The 1916 ad is from High School Life.
The Winona Institute sponsored a number of religious, cultural and educational summer programs in Winona Lakes. Out of these programs came the Winona Agricultural Institute, founded in 1902. Its goal was “to give young men a scientific and practical knowledge of the business of farming.” A school ad reported, “The work is simplified so very much. . . that candidates having a Common School education should be able to succeed.”
The initial program called for two-years of agricultural instruction and practice. The first commencement of 1904 noted that the seven graduates were all offered an opportunity for advanced academic courses. Commencement that year featured declamation contests and a program by the Winona Literary Society. But the advanced academic curriculum was soon dropped.
The focus of instruction was on practical agriculture: “preparing the soil, planting and raising crops, caring for animals.” But the curriculum also included sciences applicable to agriculture—soil chemistry, botany, entomology, and bacteriology—as well as issues of farm management and farm agricultural economics. In 1906 the school reported that students realized $1,800 from crops on just forty acres of land. The students not only raised the crops but also marketed them.
In 1908 the Assembly added a normal school to its educational structure, joining it with the agricultural institute. A year later, the two schools were separated. Winona Normal School became the four-year Winona College with departments of Education, Liberal Arts, Business and Music. The agricultural institute became Winona College of Agriculture. Even after 1909, Winona College of Agriculture is still described as a secondary school. In its two-year program “nothing but agriculture is taught.”
From the beginning the Agricultural Institute “gave attention to moral development.” Its curriculum states, “Each student will be given three lessons a week in the study of the Bible.” In the first commencement of 1904 part of the program involved a Bible contest. In 1915, 75 of 80 students were also enrolled in the YMCA.
In 1915 the two schools were once again joined under the name Winona Federated College. But World War I sounded a death knell to both schools. Both closed in 1917.
Bricks and Mortar
Educator-Journal shows that part of the campus was a laboratory farm in which students cultivated 200 acres of upland and had reclaimed 40 acres of bay land. Each student also had a 30 by 60 foot garden plot to tend.
Winona Lake shows the buildings associated with the College of Agriculture. In 1904 the Mount Memorial building was completed. Named for Governor James Mount, it was a two-story Classical Revival structure, built of cream-colored brick trimmed with Bedford limestone. It measured 66 by 180 feet in an H shape. In the 1990’s Mount Memorial passed to Grace College where it has been restored and serves as an art gallery.
The Presbyterian House, completed in 1905, was a dormitory and chapel for the college. It became the Westminster Hotel and survives today as the Billy Sunday Museum. The ad (top right) shows the building.
A Cardcow image of the Mount Memorial Building in 1915.
Team name: Aggies
Since one-fourth of the class work was lab work on the school farm, it is not surprising that sports programs were at high school level and limited. The first sports action I found was in 1906 when a doubles tennis team from the school won the Winona Tournament.
It was not until 1914 that a college team—Ohio Northern—appeared on the football schedule. In 1915 the Aggies played three college teams: Lake Forest, Rose Polytechnic, and Ohio Northern.
In 1916 the Winona Federated College team defeated Defiance (OH) College in addition to independent teams from Winona and Topeka (IN). The team drew with Earlham and Rose Polytechnic, and was blown out 94-6 by Western Michigan.
The Aggies played baseball at the high school level and college-level basketball in 1915 and 1916.
The final Winona Aggies team. Image from the Intercollegiate Calendar