The Many Menominee Manifestations, a Salvatorian website, covers the history of the Salvatorian educational efforts in Menominee. The Escanaba Daily Press and the Rhinelander Daily News were among newspapers covering news from Jordan College. The 1912 postcard image of College Building (right) is from Card Cow.
Looking to expand into the Upper Peninsula, the Salvatorians acquired the property of the old Menominee County School of Agriculture to open a liberal arts college there. With projected enrollment of more than 200, Jordan College, named for Father Francis Mary-of-the-Cross Jordan, founder of the Society of the Divine Saviour, opened for around 100 students on September 22, 1932.
Many Menominee Manifestations shows that Jordan College offered classes in religion, philosophy, English, education, classical and modern languages, history, social science, mathematics, natural science, music and physical education. Its special object was “to promote and foster the ideals, aspirations, and development of the upper peninsula and its young men and women.”
In 1935 Jordan College opened a business training department. That same year it also began to offer special evening classes for adults and classes for high school graduates who wanted to extend high school education without attending college. Journalism classes were added in 1936. In 1937 Jordan College opened a summer school.
Most students were from the general Menominee/Marinette,WI area. The Salvatorian website indicated that all lived at home or boarded with local families. In 1936 students were able to pay tuition by working in the school’s mushroom beds. In the first year students formed the 36-member Jordan Minstrel troup, which performing in the area. In 1934 the vocal studies class performed HMS Pinafore. In different years newspapers noted a spring formal, a sophomore cotillion, a senior ball and an annual prom.
By the 1938-39 school year enrollment had fallen to 60-70 students. The low cost of attendance ($50 per semester) coupled with the expenses of hiring lay faculty brought the school to a close in the spring of 1939.
However, the Salvatorians maintained the Menoninee property until 1967. During those years they and used it for other educational manifestations, including a seminary and a novitiate.
Bricks and Mortar
The original Menominee County School of Agriculture campus dates from 1907. It consisted of a 100-acre campus with two main buildings plus the president’s residence. It was located on the west edge of town at the intersection of Stephenson Avenue (now 14th Street) and State Road (now West Drive). Both buildings were white brick with two floors over a basement. Both had steam heat and electric lights. The classroom building had a capacity for 300 students; the dormitory a capacity of 60 residents.
In 1967 the campus was sold to the YMCA. The Greater Marinette-Menominee YMCA building was constructed in 1977. The Salvatorian website says that only one building associated with Jordan College remains.
(Left) The 1911 Sanborn Fire Insurance map of the main campus buildings. Image from Library of Congress.
School Colors: Green and Gold
Team Name: Angels (adopted 1937)
Jordan College began playing football from the start. The school made national news from the fact that 41 of the school’s 50 male students were on the football team. That team drew with the Northwestern University Freshmen and lost to the Notre Dame Freshmen 31-9. Over the next five seasons Jordan defeated Michigan Tech three times, allowing them to claim the championship of the Upper Peninsula. Newspapers marveled that the Saints’ line was composed of players weighing 200 pounds. Opponents included St. Norbert's, Northland, Oshkosh, Stevens Point, Whitewater and School of Mines from Wisconsin.
Newspapers reported that Jordan participated in an Upper Peninsula track meet in 1934, fielded a boxing team in 1936, and initiated a hockey program in 1937. But the school is best remembered for its basketball teams. In 1938 Jordan College was selected to play in the 32-team NAIA tournament in Kansas City. After scoring a 32-31 come-from-behind victory over Ottawa (KS), the Angels defeated Simpson (IA) 31-29, before falling to Washburn (KS) 44-21 in the quarterfinals. The 1939 team was again selected, falling to Murray (KY) State Teachers 43-37.