Pieces of Our Past
June 13, 2014
Artifact: Concordia Seminary Architectural Drawing (Clayton Campus)
Significance: Over eighty years ago, the Clayton campus of Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis, was dedicated on June 13, 1926. This drawing shows the architect’s original plans for the campus. Charles Klauder was the architect who drew up the plans for the Gothic-style seminary campus. (Click on images for larger views.)
Architectural Drawing versus Current Campus: Not all of the proposed buildings were able to be funded and built in the 1920s. Since then, the plans and needs for the campus have changed tremendously and different buildings have been constructed. An aerial shot of the campus today would show some similarities with this drawing but also many differences. One of the most notable differences is the location of the chapel. In the architectural drawing, the chapel is located in the left foreground. The block plan shows two proposed dormitories where the seminary’s Chapel of Saint Timothy and Saint Titus is now located. This location change was due to the fact that a large chapel was not built on the campus for over sixty years; the chapel was dedicated in 1992. If the original plans had been carried out, CHI would not exist in its current location as an infirmary was planned there, nor would Ludwig E. Fuerbringer Hall (which houses the seminary library), as that was originally to be more dormitories. One building that was in the original plans, but was not built in 1926 is Luther Tower. While clearly prominent in the drawings, the tower was not built until 1966. Luther Tower was to be (and is) the focal point of the campus from the beginning.
About the Dedication: Over 75,000 people attended the dedication of the new campus of the seminary on Sunday, June 13, 1926 (held during the Synod convention). This new campus moved the seminary outside the city limits of Saint Louis and into the suburb of Clayton. The service was held at 2:30 PM, but the campus grounds were open for the majority of the day. Highlights of the dedication service included the construction company officially handing over the keys of the campus (those keys are in the CHI collection), unveilings of seventeen different memorial stones and tablets, an address in German by Synod President Friedrich Pfotenhauer, and an address in English by Rev. John W. Behnken (then vice-president of the Texas District who went on to succeed Pfotenhauer as Synod president).
There is still time to view “Albrecht Dürer: Master Woodcut Artist of the German Renaissance” in the main gallery of CHI (804 Seminary Place) before the exhibit closes on Tuesday, July 1, and the prints return to the CHI vault.