St. Olaf College: Manitou Moments

The tour provides a rich and unique perspective of St. Olaf College. Since the founding of the college in 1874, numerous memorable events have taken place. Some took place over a number of years, like the homecoming bonfire at the base of Old Main, the alumni pledge, and visits to the St. Olaf Elm and Ladies' Hall Elm. Other moments are merely blips in the college's storied history, like the shooting of Ytterboe the Dog, the mud-tug with Carleton, and students seizing upon a Burma-Shave sign.



Old Main Homecoming Bonfire

“The Carls are coming! The Carls are coming!” or "The Oles are Coming! The Oles are Coming!" These familiar war cries epitomized the rivalry between Carleton and St. Olaf colleges in the post-World War II era. For students from both schools, the…

The Mighty Caesars

Salad Days of The Mighty Caesars In the mid-1930s, ten St. Olaf fellows boarded off campus at 914 West Second Street. They called themselves “The Mighty Caesars.” This name was derived from a “liberated” brash red and white-lettered…

Ladies' Hall Elm

For several decades, the hollow elm near Ladies' Hall provided a wonderful photographic setting for the St. Olaf community. In the college's early years, the tree's cavity was burned to prevent further decay and was tended as an integral part of the…

Mud Tug

"Take one big hole, fill with water, add a mixture of Oles and Carls, throw in a rope, splash around, make one big mess—it's the Mud-Tug!" Aptly named, the annual freshmen tradition for St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges started in 1954 as a…

Alumni Pledge

For several decades, newly minted St. Olaf graduates stood in a ring, clasping hands while stating the Alumni Pledge in Norwegian, "Enig og tro indtil Manitou falder (United and loyal till Manitou falls)." The phrase was derived from the vow taken by…

Ytterboe the Dog

Ytterboe the Dog Nearly sixty years after his fateful demise, Ytterboe the Dog (affectionately known as Bo) remains very much a part of St. Olaf campus lore. Although he belonged to no one in particular, the black mongrel with chow traits first…

Norwegian Royal Visit, 1939

The first-ever Norwegian royal visit to St. Olaf College occurred on May 7 and 8, 1939, Crown Prince Olav and Princess Märtha and their entourage were billeted overnight in the newly constructed Agnes Mellby Hall. The entire first floor and part of…

Northfield Depot

Taft Greeted by Elephant, 1908 One of the more interesting events to take place at the Northfield Depot was the brief whistle-stop presidential campaign tour in 1908 of Republican William H. Taft, then secretary of war and Theodore Roosevelt’s…