Gale College

Besides Fitch Coulee School, another educational institution served the Borreson family very well. That was Gale College of Galesville, Wisconsin.

From 1901-1939, Gale College was a prep school for the Lutherans, specifically for the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church. The school dates to 1854 as Galesville University, founded by Judge George Gale. It was first a Methodist Episcopal school. Twenty years later it was taken over by the Prebyterians who owned until 1901. After the Lutherans closed their school in 1939 due to mounting debts, the Roman Catholics took it over, first as a seminary and later a retreat center (Marynook). The city of Galesville bought it in 1995 and now it has renewed life as a  historical and arts community center. I was thinking that this history is about as ecumenical as it gets in western Wisconsin.

Read more about Gale College at OldMain.org. Here’s a photo of the grand Old Main taken a few years ago when a reunion took place for alumni and their descendants. (A few of us Borresons were present.) By the way, this building was constructed in 1862, meaning it will be 150 in another year.

For many years, I’ve been meeting folks who had connections to Gale College, either they themselves attended or family members did. I think my parents Garven and Cora met there in the early thirties, and it was an important place to them. I remember my father talking about a few classmates. If I’m correct, at least five of Emil and Gina’s children attended Gale: Edwin, Gilbert, Ednar, Edgar, and my father Garven. I think all five were Gale graduates, the twins (Ednar and Edgar) and Garven all in 1933. This photo of my father’s lesson book is evidence of his presence. (I wish he were still around so I could tease him if he knew how to spell his name!)

I have wondered why so many Borresons attended Gale College. One guess is the influence of their pastor, E. B. Christopherson. Not only was he the family’s pastor for his entire ministry – and that following in the footsteps of his father – but E. B. Christopherson also served on the board of Gale College. He would have been happy to see his congregation well represented in Gale’s student body.

Generous materials are available on Gale College, including at the place itself, and I’ll do at least a couple more posts with photos (maybe not all at this time). If you’re in the area, these grounds are definitely worth a stop.

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