Have you ever wondered why Concordia College's mascot is a corncob? The origin actually has roots in some antagonistic name-calling! Hope Academy, also located in Moorhead, provided early competition for Concordia financially and academically. The glaring difference between the two institutes is that Hope Academy was a Swedish Lutheran school and Concordia is a Norwegian Lutheran school. This ethnic dissimilarity proved to be a point of tension and derision between the two establishments. One day in 1893, Concordia students were enjoying some "literary entertainments" (most likely a lecture or a debate) when some Swedish Hope Academy students interrupted with this chant:
Hva'ska' De ha?
Lutefisk and Lefse -
Yah! Yah! Yah!"
However, the Cobbers did not let the Hope Academy students triumph -- the Norwegians charged the Swedes and left them knee-deep in the muddy ravine near present-day Prexy's Pond. When pondering why Hope students chose corncobs, Bogstad rationalized that it could have come from the paralleling of C.C. (Concordia College - CornCob) or perhaps from the cornfield located behind the boys' dormitory. Either way, Concordia students liked the way it sounded and kept it as a brand of their own.
Did you know that Moorhead, Minnesota used to be referred to as the "wickedest city in the world"? This is quite contrary to today since Moorhead was recently named the Best Small City in the nation for its economic health, affordability, and quality of life according to NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Shortly following its founding in 1871, Moorhead was filled with saloons, dance halls, and brothels to satiate the crews of the Northern Pacific Railway coming through town. The wickedness escalated in 1889 when North Dakota entered the Union as a dry state. Saloon keepers in Fargo hastily crossed the river and set up shop in Moorhead. In an interview with a Moorhead resident by the St. Paul Dispatch, it was reported that "Almost every night there was a shooting. Revolvers would bark and women scream, and we would wonder what news the morning would bring of numbers killed." Why then did the founders of Concordia College choose Moorhead? Well, the real estate was so cheap that they could not afford to turn down the opportunity. Luckily, they reaped many benefits from the location. As the railway clans moved West, some of the wickedness diminished. The Hudson bay Company brought a thresher into Moorhead to help raise wheat. A flour mill and grain elevator was established and in 1875 bonanza farms were popping up in the Red River Valley that attracted international attention. Steamboats transported livestock, grain, and passengers into Moorhead. By the 1920s, the population was booming and an electric street-car network had been established. The growing economy and urban expansion aided in the survival of Concordia College. So in 144 years Moorhead made a big leap from "wickedest city in the world" to the Best Small City in the nation!
As the Public Relations trainee up here on the quiet fourth floor of the library, I get to manage an aspect of the archives that many don't think about -- social media. Early in my freshman year (this past year), I "liked" the Concordia Archives Facebook page and really enjoyed the posts of pictures from Concordia's past. I even participated in the Photo Recreation Contest with a friend and we won! I "liked" the Archives' Facebook posts consistently and the former Public Relations Intern, Luke Fitterer, noticed and offered me his position before he graduated. As someone majoring in Heritage & Museum Studies and Communication, I could not have been more thrilled. This job is a bit of a foretaste of what I'd like to do for a living in the future. History has always fascinated me and I love that I am receiving such a tangible experience working with a history so close to home -- Concordia's. It has been loads of fun perusing the vertical photograph files searching for a picture to post both on Facebook and Twitter. The photos we have here are terrific -- whether it be a century old class photo, or a candid shot of some hippie Cobbers from the '70s -- I love looking at all of them. Visit the archives and check them out sometime, my words can't do them justice. After all, a picture is indeed worth a thousand words! -Corinne Burrell
This past week Aliza Rux, full-time summer student archivist, has been compiling data of Cobbers who served during WWII. While investigating, she discovered the interesting story of Norman Erickson. Erickson, alumnus of Concordia College, went through a terrifying ordeal - he spent twelve days missing in action. Due to a snow storm he was forced to land his plane in the Pacific Ocean, damaging the float and thus being unable to take off again. He drifted on the plane wreck for one day and one night before being beached. It wasn't until until the fifth day, when the waters were less choppy, that he was able to get away on the life raft. He rowed down the coast until rough water forced him ashore. Norman then walked towards a native village where the "swollen streams and rocky country made the going awfully hard." The natives found Norman on the twelfth day and signaled a passing plane. The pilot delivered the message to the base and Norman was rescued on a speed boat. He arrived home safely, and after losing thirty pounds on his MIA adventure, he added "I guess I won't need to go on a diet for awhile," and after a quick recovery he was sent back to his post.
Lt. Norman Erickson was lucky to return back to his family. While going through the records, letters, and certificates the brave men and women who served this country become more than just data placed in a spreadsheet. This was but one of their stories of the hundreds of Cobbers who served in WWII.
The Concordia College Archives is excited to announce it's participation with the Society of American Archivists (SAA) in #AskAnArchivistDay! On Thursday, October 30th, archivists around the nation will be taking over Twitter to give you the opportunity to connect directly with archivists in your community and around the United States.
Have you ever had a question about the Concordia Archives and haven't gotten around to seeking out the answer? Are you curious about what it's like to be an archivist? Would you like to know the craziest thing the Concordia Archives keeps in its collection? You can discover the answer to all these questions by tweeting them tomorrow and including the hashtag "#AskAnArchivistDay"--it's that simple!
Once you send your tweet using the official hashtag, your question will be seen instantly by archivists around the country who will respond directly to you! If you don't have a question but would still like to participate in the event, you can do that, too! Just search "#AskAnArchivistDay" and you can track what's being discussed during the event.
If you have specific Concordia-realted questions, be sure to included our Twitter handle, @cordarchives, in your tweets. We can't wait to share our stories and experiences with you!
To follow The Concordia Archives on Twitter, click on this link.