Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.
Send GK Your Question »
September 21, 2007 |
Post to the Host:
I met you September 14 after a show and told you that I'm a student at Waldorf College in Forest City, IA, and you were curious as to how Waldorf, a Norwegian Lutheran college, got its name.When I got back to school, I did a little research.
Waldorf was founded by Reverend C. S. Salveson in 1903 as an academy and business college. In 1903, there were two hotels in Forest City, The Summit and The Waldorf. Reverend Salveson bought The Waldorf and put the school there and decided not to change the name. The original Waldorf Hotel is currently the administrative building which, in 1954, was named Salveson Hall.
And that's how a college with Norwegian Lutheran roots came to have a German name.
My guess is that Rev. Salveson was a frugal Norwegian (aren't they all?) and the hotel had its name carved in sandstone up over the door and he just couldn't imagine paying money to have that chipped away so he named the college Waldorf. Thanks to the one in New York, the name has a nice ring of quality and stability. Luckily for you. Had he founded the school sixty years later, you could be attending Ramada College or Holiday College. That just is not a good name for a Lutheran school, Holiday College. It would attract the wrong sort of student. Thanks for the facts, and now get back to work, young lady.