Columbia Lutheran College
Short sketches of the school are found in the 1919 Lutheran Almanac and also in the WPA authored Washington: A Guide to the Evergreen State (1941). Lutheran politics involving the school are included in Walter C. Schnackenberg’s The Lamp and the Cross. The Everett Public Library provided images of the school building. The ultimate cache of material is found in the archives of Pacific Lutheran University at Tacoma.
Columbia Lutheran College was incorporated in 1905 by the United Norwegian Lutheran Church. A note in the North West Journal of Education says the school actually opened on October 18, 1909 with “about 100 students.” Schnackenberg shows seven teachers. In 1914 Norsk-amerikanernes festskrift says Columbia "has a classic and literary course of 4 years, a normal department, a commercial department, a parochial course and a seminar." It added that CLC had 9 teachers and 85 students. While Columbia is listed as a junior college, it seems to have also operated primarily as a secondary school, accredited by the University of Washington.
Lutherans in the Northwest were struggling to support three small schools-- Spokane College, Pacific Lutheran Academy at Parkland, and Bathenia College at Everett--as well as Columbia. In 1914 they withdrew support for Columbia, but the residents of Everett provided funding, leading to continued Lutheran support. However, in 1917 Columbia was combined with Pacific Lutheran Academy, the merged schools to be housed at Parkland. The Almanac says that classes were closed for a year, allowing time for the restructuring. However, Columbia insisted on remaining open for the 1917-18 school year before closing its doors.
Schnackenberg notes that total enrollment for the school's history was 750 with 37 different instructors..
Among documents at PLU are the incorporation papers and minutes for the Olympic Literary Society. Columbia College also had a men's chorus and a mixed chorus.
Bricks and Mortar
The Columbia College building was constructed between 1907 and 1909 at a cost of $50,000. It was a three-story concrete building measuring 95 feet by 35 feet. It had a rust resistant metal dome which “shines like burnished silver.” It contained 80 rooms with “plenty of dorm rooms.” It featured central steam heat and indoor bathrooms--but no sewer lines.
After the merger, The CLC building sat empty for five years while an attempt was made to convert it to a 150 bed hospital. When that failed, the Parkland Lutheran Children’s Home was moved 80 miles north to occupy the building in 1922.
51 years later—the last years as a home for mentally disturbed boys—the old building began to have sagging floors and was being replaced by a more efficient one-story building. Although many thought that the building was on the point of collapse, “it took 331 sticks of dynamite, a roaring fire and finally a huge steel wrecking ball to bring it down.”
A postcard view of the hilltop Columbia Lutheran College building. Image courtesy of the Everett Public Library North West Room.
Rasmus T. Bogstad, President of Columbia Lutheran College. Image courtesy of Concordia College Archives.
College Football Data Warehouse shows a 1909 game--a 55-0 loss to Whitman College.
Mixed Chorus 1914-15. Image from Fra Ungdomsaar https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.ah5e1g;view=1up;seq=191;size=175