Mount Angel College
St. Benedict, Oregon
The University of Oregon library provided excerpts from the 1958-59 Mount Angel Seminary catalog. The Portland Oregonian covered Mount Angel sports and other activities. The seminary maintains a website. John G. Bucknam provided the photo of the basketball team. The seal is from the 1898-99 catalog.
The Benedictine Fathers from Switzerland came to the Willamette Valley of Oregon in 1882 and built a monastery atop Mount Angel. It is the oldest priory on the West Coast. In 1887 the Fathers also opened a college for young men and added a seminary in 1889 for the training of priests. Enrollment in 1896-97 was 83. A 1925 feature on Mount Angel in the Oregonian states that it is a fully accredited junior college with standardized courses in pre-law, pre-medicine, pre-journalism, and pre-engineering. At that time the school also advertised a two-year commercial course. The 1958-59 catalog notes that Mount Angel has two strictly segregated divisions—a Minor Seminary, comprising college preparatory and lower collegiate classes, and a Major Seminary, comprising upper-level collegiate and graduate classes. Both minor and minor seminarians were expected to follow a strict daily regimen. They were not allowed to carry pocket money, to leave the grounds, to hold meetings, or to read books or periodicals without approval.
According to the catalog, the school offered a “four year Liberal Arts course leading to a bachelor degree.” Mount Angel was also recognized as a teacher-training college.
Mount Angel provided the usual clubs and activities for students. College Year-Book lists the organizations as Sodality of the Immaculate Conception, St. Joseph’s Altar Society, Acme Dramatics Club, and Gross Literary and Debating Society. The band, the orchestra, and the Choral Club are featured prominently in newspaper notices of commencements and other school festivals. Mount Angel fielded an intercollegiate debate team.
In 1931 the graduating class numbered 19. The school's timeline shows that Mount Angel closed its college in 1946. Collegiate-level work continues today as Mount Angel focuses on its seminary. Some lay students are again accepted.
Bricks and Mortar
Mount Angel College was built atop “The Butte,” a 300-foot hill known to Indians as “the place of communion.” Buildings had to be replaced after a 1892 fire. Then a “million-dollar fire” in September 1926 destroyed the buildings for a second time.
The 1956-57 catalog noted that the campus contains “four modern fireproof buildings.” These are the Monastery; Aquinas Hall, built in 1930, which housed the Major Seminary; Anselm Hall, built in 1954, which housed the Minor Seminary, and the auditorium/gymnasium, built in 1936. The Aalto library was added in 1970.
Mount Angel College and Monastery before the fire of 1926. Gerald W. Williams Collection, Oregon State University (accessed 1-20-2017 <www.flickr.com/photos/osucommons/3229275419>)
Team name: Through the years, the Oregonian invariably referred to the team as the Angels.
Colors: Oregonian lists these as Gold and White
Mount Angel played football at least through the first three decades of the twentieth century. Typically the schedule included some Portland area high schools, some junior colleges, freshman teams from Oregon or Oregon State, some smaller four-year colleges, and some athletic clubs.
During the 1916 season Mount Angel defeated Chemawa Indian School, Williamette University, and Woodburn Athletic Club. The team lost to Pacific (OR) University and Vancouver Athletic Club.
Mount Angel was also a pioneer in basketball in the Northwest, being one of nine teams to participate in the 1915 AAU tournament on the West Coast. The 1913 team were Oregon state champions at 145 pounds.
1935 Mount Angel College basketball team. John G. "Buck" Bucknam is fourth from the left. His future brother-in-law Ted Marx is second from the left. (Photo credit: John G. Bucknam)