WARTBURG: A RICH HERITAGE & HISTORY

Where does the name Wartburg come from?
Wartburg College is named after one of Europe’s best-known landmarks, the Wartburg Castle.The Wartburg Castle is a fortress built in 1067 overlooking Eisenach, Germany. During the stormy days of the 16th-century Reformation, the castle provided a refuge for Martin Luther, whose work led to the formation of the Lutheran church.

International Partnerships
Wartburg College signed a formal Agreement of Cooperation with the Wartburg Castle in Eisenach, Germany, which makes possible cultural exchanges and visits, study opportunities and internships, annual choir and band performances in the castle with permission for radio and TV broadcasts, a Castle exhibit and room on the Wartburg campus. The college also signed an agreement between Deutsche Welle broadcasting in Bonn, Germany, in 2012 for internships and other exchanges. The agreement builds on the partnership established in 1992 by the cities of Waverly and Eisenach to become sister cities.

Watch this video trailer to learn how Wartburg College got its name.

Wartburg College History
Wartburg College traces its roots to 1852, when Pastor Wilhelm Löhe of Neuendettelsau, Bavaria, sent Pastor Georg Grossmann to America to work as a missionary of the Lutheran faith. With five students, Grossmann founded a teacher-training school for German immigrants in Saginaw, Mich.

The college was moved several times to accommodate the shifting tide of Lutheran immigration (Dubuque, St. Sebald near Strawberry Point, Waverly, and Clinton in Iowa and Galena and Mendota in Illinois). It permanently located in Waverly in 1935. The name Wartburg was given to the college when it was located in rural St. Sebald because the wooded countryside of the area reminded Grossmann of the Thuringian Forest where the Wartburg Castle is located.

View history resources from the Vogel Library.

Saginaw Location

Saginaw, Michigan (1852-53)

Mendota Location

Mendota, Illinois (1875-85)

Dubuque Location

Dubuque, Iowa (1853-57)

Clinton Location

Clinton, Iowa (1894-1935)

St. Sebald Location

St. Sebald, Iowa (1857-68)

Waverly Location

Waverly, Iowa (1879-1933, 1935-present)

Galena Location

Galena, Illinois (1868-75)

A MOMENT IN HISTORY

The Old Main in Clinton, Iowa, was home to Wartburg College during the late 1890s to early 1930s.

Historic Timeline

1850s: Wilhelm Löhe sends Georg Grossmann to establish teachers seminary in America.

1860s: First use of the name "Wartburg," 1857

1880s: Dedication of Old Main (1880); The college moves from Mendota and combines with normal school in Waverly (1885); First use of the name "Wartburg College," (1885)

1890s: First female student, Cordella Grossmann (1896); first band (1898)

1900s: First student publication: Wartburg Quarterly (1906)

1910s: Wartburg Hall (1913); Grossmann Hall (1919)

1920s: Wartburg Artist Series begins (1920); Little Theatre/Players Theatre (first used as gymnasium) (1920); Luther Hall (1925); Coeducation introduced (1928)

1930s: Eureka Lutheran College, Eureka, S.D., merges with St. Paul-Luther, St. Paul, Minn. St. Paul-Luther merges with Wartburg College in Waverly, where the college remains to the present; Founding of the Wartburg Choir (1937)

1940s: North Central accreditation (1948); Knights Gymnasium (1949)

1950s: KWAR Radio (1951); Luther Hall South Wing (1952); First African-American students (1952); College celebrates centennial (1952); Student Union (1955); Liemohn Hall of Music (1956); Schield Stadium (1957); Homuth Library (1959)

1960s: Neumann Auditorium (1960); Student Union Addition (1964); Becker Hall of Science (1967); Homuth Library (1959)

1970s: Engelbrecht Library (1972); P.E. Center (1978)

1980s: Whitehouse Business Center (1984); Old Main Renovation (1986); P.E. Center Wrestling/Weight Room Addition (1987)

1990s: Fine Arts Center (1991); McElroy Communication Arts Center (1991); Wartburg Chapel (1994); Rada-Aleff Classroom Technology Center (1995); Commission Wartburg (1999); Vogel Library (1999)

2000s: Knights Village (2000); Walston-Hoover Stadium (2001); Student Center (2004); Science Center (2004); Wartburg-Waverly Sports & Wellness Center (2007)

PRESIDENTIAL GALLERY

George Grossmann

Georg Grossmann
1852-1868, 1878-1894

Klindworth

John Klindworth
1868-1875

Fritschel

Sigmund Fritschel
1875-1885

Richter

Friedrich Richter
1894-1899 (Clinton)

Lutz

Friedrich Lutz 
1894-1905

Kraushaar

Otto Kraushaar
1899-1907 (Clinton)

Bergstraesser

Gerhard Bergstraesser
1905-1909

John Fritschel

John Fritschel
1907-1919 (Clinton)

Engelbrecht

August Engelbrecht
1909-1933

Proehl

Otto Proehl
1919-1935 (Clinton)

Braulick

Edward J. Braulick
1935-1945

Becker

Conrad Becker
1945-1964

Bachman

John Bachman
1964-1974

Jellema

William Jellema
1974-1980

Vogel

Robert L. Vogel
1980-1998

Ohle

Jack R. Ohle
1998-2008

Colson

Darrel D. Colson
2009-present