TIME AND TRADITIONS: 1850s
|Main Hall.||Bell in Main Hall's cupola.|
Dr. Edward Cooke becomes Lawrence's first president, and the first college-level
classes begin. Lawrence University has more students than Madison, Beloit, or Ripon.
Its best-known landmark, Main Hall,opens. Used as a meeting place
by Appleton citizens during the Civil War, Main Hall also is,
according to legend, a stop on the Underground Railway, a network
which assists runaway slaves as they escape to Canada before the
war. The original bell hanging in the building's cupola once
summoned Lawrentians to 6 a.m. prayers and classes. Later it was
rung to celebrate football victories over Lawrence's rival, Ripon
College, and Lawrence's merger with Milwaukee-Downer College. And
rumor has it that once "an unsuspecting little calf" was taken to
the cupola. "As night wore on, passersby were puzzled about the
source of plaintive bovine wailings that rent the air. Dormitories
celebrated the removal of the hapless heifer by serving veal for a
1857 "Light! More Light!"
Four years after William Harkness Sampson selects Goethe's last
words- "Light! More Light!" -as Lawrence's motto, the skies of
Appleton are bright with light from a fire which burns the
college's first building, the Institute, to the ground.
|The men in Lawrence's class of 1857.
Three women, including Lucinda Darling
(Colman), also are in the graduating class.
|Group of Lawrence women students, 1858-59.|
1859 The Little Apple
After taking two trains from Milwaukee to Oshkosh and a steamer
ship from Oshkosh to Appleton, freshman Albert Worden writes home
to his family, describing Appleton as "no more like a city than a
place of 40 or 50 scattered houses.... It contains no building
worthy of note, except the University, which is a large, handsome
structure in the center...of the city, one side which slopes gently
down to the river on the south, and on the east, west, and north
extends a beautiful lawn. This park is well filled with large shade
trees and is a most pleasant place....[Appleton] does very little
business; in fact, I think it is as quiet here at any time as on a
sultry day in your little sitting room where you sit quietly sewing
and conversing, Mother, with Father and Sister."
Lawrence's second president, Russell Z. Mason, publishes a list of
"Things Prohibited" that includes: "Unpermitted association of
Gentlemen and Ladies; Games of chance; the use of intoxicating
drinks; Profane or obscene language; smoking or chewing tobacco on
College premises; Visiting on the Sabbath or in study rooms;
Frequenting bar rooms or groceries."
On to the 1860s
Milwaukee-Downer in the 1850s
Back to the 1840s
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