Midland Celebrating 100 Years in Fremont

Midland Celebrating 100 Years in Fremont

January 2019 recalls the decision in January 1919 to move Midland "College" from Atchison, Kansas to Fremont, Nebraska! Here are a few highlights of the last 100 years, and we will be adding more throughout the year!

1919 Typing Class

Students take part in typing class (1919).


Shhhh! The library was located in the old Administration Building and moved to its current location in 1954.

Formal Grand Opening 1919

Relocating the college from Kansas to Fremont was noted as a "Herculean task." In less than 6 weeks, then President E.E. Stauffer oversaw the moving of 19,000 library books, office records, lab equipment, a telescope, 11 faculty families, and 39 students.

Clemmons Hall

Clemmons Hall is the only building on campus that was part of the original Fremont College (1884-1919). Originally a science building, the cornerstone for Clemmons Hall was laid in 1907!!

The science classrooms and most labs were in Clemmons Hall until Swanson Hall of Science was built in 1964.The second floor chapel also served as a recital hall.

Clemmons Hall

Midland's move to Fremont was eased by the reputation William H. Clemmons had built for the school when it was Fremont Normal College, as well as by the rapport he had with the community of Fremont. Clemmons is pictured here and passed away in 1920.

A Capella Choir

Midland A Capella Choir Founded in 1928 by Oscar Lyders, the group took it's first tour in spring 1929. The tradition continues today!

Little Giants Football

Midland had its first undefeated football season in 1941. The team gained a national reputation as the small but mighty "Little Giants." Midland celebrated the championship by calling off classes for a day and holding a victory banquet.

Victory Bell

Victory Bell: The bell tower was built by college custodians and presented during Homecoming 1938. Its original use was to signal the end of classes, but it later became a tradition to ring it after each athletic victory, thus becoming the Victory Bell!

Petrow Award

"Galloping Greek" George "Babe" Petrow was a tremendous athletic talent and Midland's first four-letterman in basketball, football, tennis and track. In 1943 Petrow joined the army and 18 months later was killed in World War II. Classmate Luther Heller '47 established an award in his honor, and annually since 1946 an outstanding Midland male athlete has received the Petrow Award, given for many years during Midland's Homecoming festivities.

Olson Student Center

The Olson Student Center was originally a Gymnasium-Commons. Student spaces included a dining hall on the ground floor and a basketball court and stage on the 2nd floor. The space was used for formals, athletic competitions, plays, commencement and dining. The gym was even used to house male students for a time. The lawn was a popular place to lounge between classes.

From 1924-1960 students dined in the ground floor Commons of the student center. Meals were served family style. Sunday noon and Monday-Thursday evenings featured linen cloths and "Sunday best" attire.

Olson Student Center

In the 1940’s, much like today, Midland’s gym was the center of activities from 6 am to 9 pm. Every man was required to take PE as part of Midland’s Wartime Program. Rope climbing, tumbling, chinning, and endurance programs were part of the “toughening-up” program.

Luther Library

Midland's Luther Library was completed in 1954. 

Luther Library

Around 260 students and 40 faculty transferred approximately 25,000 volumes from the old library in the Administration Building to the new Luther Library!

Freshman Traditions

The Beanie - a Freshman tradition. Freshmen were once required to wear caps and follow "rules" in the name of helping create school spirit and build class unity. Upperclassmen required freshmen to do things like wear their sweater backwards or shout nonsensical phrases. Rule breakers were penalized by being made to shine shoes, cut grass with scissors, or even wear a bird cage!

Luther Arch

In 1962, Midland College and Luther College consolidated on the Fremont campus, becoming Midland Lutheran College. 

In tribute to the former institution, the library was named "Luther Library," and campus markers, such as the sundial, Luther College Arch, and the Luther rock were moved from the Wahoo campus to stand in front of the library.

Every other year Luther College alumni gather on the Midland campus for Lutherfest, a unique reunion event. Most recently the generous donations of Luther College alumni helped establish Midland University's Luther College of Arts and Sciences!

Spring Break

Alumni Franklin Eloch, "Pete" Petring, Paul Norris, & Lloyd Reck had just rolled up to the Midland campus after a 13-day spring break excursion. During which, their 1906 Model T carried them 2,000 miles through 6 states and into Canada at an expense of only $6.20 a piece. 

Midland Apparel

Vintage Midland apparel. 

Clemmons Hall

Science classes and labs were offered in Clemmons Hall until 1964. 

Clemmons Hall

Originally a science building, the cornerstone for Clemmons Hall was laid in 1907. It is the only building on the 2019 campus that was part of Fremont College. The second floor chapel also served as a recital hall. 

1931 Football Team

1931 football team and Coach Clarence O. Samuelson, a Luther faculty member from 1927 to 1941. 

Girls' Dormitory

A room in the girls' dormitory has been personalized with chenille bedspreads, a bedside tale with ruffled cover, and family photos on a shelf above the radiator. 


The choir sits on the Capitol steps with Nebraska Senator Carl Curtis, who autographed the photograph. 

Olson Student Center

Before the Olson Student Center was renovated, it was a Gymnasium-Commons that was built in 1924. The dining hall was on ground floor and the playing court and stage reached by the exterior and interior stairs. 


The cast of "Grumpy," a four-act comedy drama given in 1928 by members of the Wynn Literary Society on the stage in the Gymnasium-Commons. 

Men's Hall

Men's Memorial Hall built in 1946 and 1947. 

Swanson Hall of Science

Built in 1964-1965, Swanson owes much of its design to Dr. Gilbert Lueninghoener. The Planetarium was named in his honor. After the science department vacated Clemmons Hall, Clemmons became a music building and the cornerstone was changed to "Clemmons Hall" instead of "Science Hall."