Washburn College.In 1857 the general association of Congregational ministers and churches of Kansas made plans for founding a Christian college in Kansas. At the organization of the association in Topeka on April 26, a committee of five was appointed to investigate locations and secure one "if it seemed expedient." In 1858 the committee advertised for bids for a location, but no decision was made until the meeting of the association at Manhattan in October. Several proposals had been made to the committee but the one recommended was that from Topeka, which promised "160 acres of land within a mile and a half of Topeka town site; 840 acres in the territory as an endowment; and a building equal to 40 by 50 feet and two stories high, of stone or brick, to be completed on or before Jan. 1, 1860."
This proposition was adopted by the association and a board of 14 trustees appointed, viz: Rev. Elihu Whitenhall, Rev. G. C. Morse, Rev. Lewis Bodwell, T. D. Thacher, Rev. Richard Cordley, Samuel C. Pomeroy, James Taylor, Rev. C. E. Blood, H. D. Rice, Henry M. Simpson, Rev. D. R. Parker, George I. Hillyer, Maj. Harrison Hannahs and M. C. Welch. At the next meeting of the association in May, 1859, at Lawrence, a committee was appointed to determine whether the city of Topeka had fulfilled the conditions of agreement in regard to the location of the college. The contract had not been fulfilled and the question of location again arose with Topeka, Lawrence, Burlingame and Wabaunsee as competitors. The proposition of Lawrence, which was accepted, promised "Mount Oread as a site for the college; 20 acres of land adjoining the town site; one-half the proceeds of 300 acres adjoining the college grounds; 1,220 acres located in different parts of the territory; 151 lots in Lawrence, Burlington, Delaware and other towns; the Amos Lawrence fund of $10,000, and a building to be commenced within six months and completed in eighteen months, at a cost of $25,000." The school was given the name of "Monumental College" commemorating the triumph of liberty over slavery in Kansas. The drought of 1860 and the breaking out of the Civil war caused the collapse of this enterprise. In 1860 the institution was moved back to Topeka on a proposition practically the same as that first given by the citizens of that city. In 1861 at the meeting of the association in Leavenworth the subject was further discussed. At Burlingame in May, 1863, resolutions were passed appointing trustees to start the academy at Topeka as soon as they deemed it wise, and in Feb., 1865, the institution was incorporated under the name and style, "Trustees of Lincoln College."
WASHBURN COLLEGE, TOPEKA.
The preamble of the charter and some of the articles read as follows: "Desiring to promote the diffusion of knowledge, and the advancement of virtue and religion, we do associate ourselves together for the object and purpose herein certified, to-wit: Article ITo establish at or near the city of Topeka, the capital of Kansas, and secure the incorporation of an institution of learning of a high literary and religious character to be named Lincoln College, which shall commemorate the triumph of liberty over slavery in our nation and serve as a memorial of those fallen in defense of their country.
"Article IITo make said college an engine for the furtherance of those ideas of civil and religious liberty which actuated our fathers in the Revolutionary struggle, and which are now achieving a signal victory in the triumph of free principles.
Article IIITo afford all classes, without distinction of color, the advantages of a liberal education.
"Article IVTo aid deserving young men to obtain an education, such as shall fit them for the Gospel ministry, thereby helping to supply the pressing demand for laborers in the states and territories west of the Missouri river."
In the spring of 1865 a building was erected at the corner of Ninth and Jackson streets and the same year Col. John Ritchie deeded to the college 160 acresthe present college campus. The school opened as an academy in Jan., 1866, with Rev. Samuel D. Bowker as principal, Edward F. Hobart and George H. Collier as assistants. In 1868 Deacon Ichabod Washburn of Worchester, Mass., donated $25,000 toward an endowment. In appreciation of the gift the trustees changed the name to Washburn College. In June, 1869, Dr. H. G. Butterfield was elected to the presidency and served until Nov., 1870. Peter McVicar, his successor, was elected in Feb., 1871, and remained in the executive chair until June, 1895. In 1871 the city of Topeka purchased the academy building for $15,000. In 1872-73 the school was held in a store building near the corner of Tenth street and Kansas avenue. In 1873-74 it occupied a stone building at the corner of Eighth street and Kansas avenue. In 1874 the college moved to its building, which had been erected by subscription on "College Hill." In 1879, through means secured in Hartford, Conn., Hartford Cottage was erected. In 1882, through a bequest of J. C. Whitin, "South Cottage" for young women and Whitin Hall for young men were erected. In 1884 Charles Boswell of West Hartford gave $10,000 toward the erection of a library building, the trustees secured an additional $5,000 and the Boswell library was erected. In 1885 Miss Mary W. Holbrook of Holbrook, Mass., gave $5,000 toward the erection of a building for young women. McVicar Chapel was completed in 1890. In 1895 the Carnegie library was erected and the Boswell building was taken for offices. In 1902 a merger was formed with the Kansas Medical College and plans were made to broaden the scope of college work. A school of law was organized and the departments of music and art were enlarged into a school of fine arts. "The college is controlled by a board of 18 trustees, one-third of whom are chosen each year without regard to denominational affiliations. While Christian in character and influence, the college is thoroughly non-sectarian in all its work."
From 1896 to 1901 George Herrick was president of the college. His successor was Norman Plass, who was elected in 1902, and he in turn was succeeded in 1908 by Frank K. Sanders.
Washburn College has a campus of 160 acres, 13 buildings, a corps of instructors numbering 114, and 6 departments in which were enrolled 783 students in 1910.Pages 887-889 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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