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Dodge County Seat
Mantorville, Minnesota 55955  
Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Locations

Seminary Park


WasiojaSeminary

The Wasioja Seminary was established in 1857, in what was then the public square of the village of Wasioja. The Seminary was constructed using Wasioja limestone that was mined from nearby quarries. The Seminary was dedicated in 1858, and instruction began by the Free Will Baptists.  The Seminary had enrollment of over 300 students prior to the Civil War and by 1860 it was renamed Northwest College.

 SeminaryThe outbreak of the Civil War drastically affected the fortunes of the students and the building. In 1861, with the help of Wasioja attorney James George and the Seminary School Master Clinton Cilley, a large number of the seminary students and faculty volunteered to form Company C of the 2nd Minnesota. At the conclusion of the war, few students returned to take up their studies, and by 1868 the Seminary was failing.

 The Seminary changed hands and names as different groups tried to make things work; in 1868 it became Groveland Seminary, in 1872 it became Wesleyan Methodist Seminary. The Seminary was closed for the last time in 1894.  In 1905, a large fire gutted the building and all that remained are the ruins seen today.

 SeminaryRuinsSoon after the 1905 fire, the building was deeded to Dodge County, and in the years since just one modest effort at stabilization has occurred. In 1994, a security fence was erected, window headers reinforced, and some stabilization of the walls conducted. Remarkably, due to this effort and some good luck, each of the four walls is still erect. However, without significant treatment, the ruins are in danger of further deterioration.

Today, the ruins are maintained and managed by the Dodge County Highway and Parks Department, with guidance from the Dodge County Historical Society and assistance from the Friends of Wasioja. The ruins and the nearby historic buildings were designated a State Historic District in 1971, and listed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1975.