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Femti Banner

In 2004 Augustana College's Mikkelsen Library building celebrated its 50th birthday using the slogan
Femti! Celebrating the First 50 Years.
Femti, meaning 50, was chosen in recognition of the college's Norwegian heritage. The following images recreate some of the excitement felt by the Augustana
community during the the groundbreaking, construction, occupation and dedication
of this building which has truly become the heart of the campus.


As you browse through the collection of photos, click on the image
to see a larger view.


Aerial view of the Augustana College campus
before the Mikkelsen Library was built.

Aerial view of the campus after the library was built.
(Arrow indicates library building)
The Mirror, the Augustana student newspaper, announces the awarding of contracts for the building of the new library.
The contract for construction was awarded on
May 18, 1954 to Harold Spitznagel and Associates,
Architects for the amount of $405,473.40.
Spitznagel drawings show the floorplan of the library.

Students were the driving force behind the
Library Achievement Fund Appeal for the new
Mikkelsen Library. The students wanted a
special place to socialize and study.

Fundraising for the library began in 1940 with a gift from
the alumni of the Lutheran Normal School. Another fundraising appeal was launched in 1944, but the war, and inflation after the war, delayed construction. With the success of the final effort in 1953, construction began.


Invitation to the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the new
library building, held October 11, 1953.

The Groundbreaking Ceremony took place on
October 11, 1953, with the Rev. Harry R. Gregerson,
Chairman of the Augustana Board of Directors, presiding.

A word of prayer was offered by President Stavig at the Groundbreaking Ceremony.
The Groundbreaking Ceremony was held just north of the army barracks which at the time served as the Social Science Building.
Moving earth to begin construction.
View of early construction.
The 1954 Viking Days Festivities included the laying
of the cornerstone of the new Mikkelsen Library.
On October 17, 1954, a commemorative time capsule was placed in the library's cornerstone.

At the microphone is Dr. Orville Dahl, Executive Secretary
of the Division of Higher Education of the Evangelical Lutheran Church who, along with Mr. Fred Christopherson, editor of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, headed the successful 1953 fund drive.

Dr. H. M. Blegen placed the copper box in the cornerstone.
The time capsule placed in the cornerstone included
the New Testament, the 1954 Edda, and
a list of all campaign fund donors.
Library construction site looking south. This photo illustrates how close Augustana was to the south edge of town in 1954.

Construction continued through the entire year of 1954
and into 1955.

This view is facing north with the
Administration Building in the background.

Large cranes were used to aid in the construction of the
pillars which support the library infrastructure.

The sign recognizes the "gracious gifts of the people of
Sioux Falls and the Evangelical Lutheran Church."

The three ELCA churches in Sioux Falls together pledged over $88,000.

First Lutheran Church honored its Pastor Emeritus, Dr. H. J. Glenn, with a pledge of $60,000.

The Augustana Mirror announces materials being used
in the construction of the library are the newest available.
The south face of the library begins to take shape.
Progress is made on the south side of the library.
The structure begins to take recognizable shape.
Library staff and students inspect the progress
of construction.
The front entrance to the library emerges
from the construction.

"Moses" was created by Ogden Dalrymple and presented by
Roger Peterson in memory of Dr. and Mrs. Helmer Blegen.

Workmen are shown preparing the limestone statue for placement on the front of the library building.

The library as seen from the northeast,
showing placement of the "Creatures of Creation."

Shown in this view, are the blank stones afixed
to the east side of the library building, ready
to be sculpted by the artist.

"Creatures of Creation," four stone reliefs, were sculpted by
Palmer Eide with Ogden Dalrymple.

Library staff begin the process of moving the books.

The library was previously located in Old Main.
The overflowing book collection was stored in the hallway
between East Hall and Main. On August 15, 1955,
the collection was transported to the new building
by volunteers, students and staff.


Library director, Kordillia Johnson shown with her staff
and student volunteers on moving day.
Students loading a truck with books, still on the shelves,
destined for the new library.
Augustana's football team provided volunteers to help
Kordillia Johnson and her staff.
Augie volunteers turn work into fun.
President Lawrence M. Stavig presided at the Opening Convocation for the 1955-56 school year.
The Opening Convocation, September 15, 1955 included
an address entitled, "Books and Communication," by
Dr. Fredrik A. Schlotz, President of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church.
After the Convocation services, the attendees, led by the faculty, the college board, collegiate representatives, and
special guests processed to the Mikkelsen Library for the services of dedication.
Many generous donors provided funding for the library.
The Mirror offered a pictorial tour of the new library.

The main lobby of the library was dedicated to former Sioux Falls mayor and college board member, A. N. Graff.


The new facility, built to house 100,000 volumes, had a
large lobby, comfortable study areas, and a
reading room in the lower level.

Students enjoy the new reference area.

The color scheme of the library was
turquoise, gold, and brown.

A telegram from Rosamond Mikkelsen, daughter of the
library's namesake, Amund Mikkelsen, congratulates
President Stavig on the day of the library dedication.
The Mikkelsen Library was named after the
"Grand Old Man" of the Lutheran Normal School,
Amund Mikkelsen. The Rev. Mikkelsen served as
teacher, principal, and President of the school from
1889-1891 and 1896-1908.
In 1940, alumni of the Lutheran Normal School gave
$7,000 to Augustana College to begin the fundraising
for a new library. They requested that the library be
named in memory of Rev. Amund Mikkelsen.
A night view facing the bank of windows on the
north side of the library.

The Mikkelsen Library was a popular addition to the campus and within 20 years had once again outgrown its space. Plans were soon underway and completed for the 1980 addition.

Information for photo captions was taken from, Through Trials and Triumphs: A History of Augustana College, by Donald Sneen. Photographs are from the Augustana College archives housed in the Center for Western Studies.


For comments/questions contact:
Deb Hagemeier or Judith Howard

Last modified:

December 22, 2009

Mikkelsen Library
Augustana College
Sioux Falls, SD 57197
© 2003 Augustana College