Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

In its early history Winona Lake was quite a college town. Probably some of our readers went to Winona College when it was in its most flourishing period just before World War I. In 1913 Winona College had an enrollment of nearly 900 students. There was a College of Liberal Arts, a Conservatory of Music, a Primary Normal Department, a Preparatory Department and a Commercial Department. Also Winona had an Agricultural and Technical School, which had been started in 1902.

Recently we ran across an article in a magazine published in Indiapolis in June of 1899 which sheds further information on Winona's early educational institutions. This magazine was called the "Indianian," and the article deals with Winona Summer School, an institution which was flourishing at that time. Just four years earlier Winona Lake had been founded by Sol C. Dickey as a cultural, recreational and religious institution.

This summer school, which was probably Winona's first educational institution, had a faculty of 40 teachers and a student body of over 200. Work was given in 20 different departments, these departments offering 80 courses. In telling of Winona, the article says that "the educational work of Winona is regarded by the management as the foundation upon which the other features of the organization rest. It is as an educational institution that Winona asks to be judged."

Winona summer school was in session six weeks of each summer, conducted entirely on a university basis. Its organization was unique. It was founded by a federation of leading colleges and universities coming together at Winona Lake for summer work, each college assuming responsibility for a single department of the school and conducting it with its own force of teachers. Among the leading institutions represented were Wabash college, Purdue university, Indiana university, Monmouth college, Wooster university, Chicago Manual Training school, the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and Maryville college of Tennessee.

Warsaw Times-Union Sat. Oct. 3, 1953