In 1884, Danish Lutheran immigrants founded Trinity Seminary. It's purpose: to train young men for the ministry.
Two years later, the religious institution found a home on a hill overlooking the Missouri River valley. There it remained for 70 years, growing and changing, including a merger in 1899 with Elk Horn College to become a four-year, co-educational college. In 1903, the school became known as Dana College and Trinity Seminary.
In 1956, Trinity Seminary merged with Wartburg Seminary, a school of the American Lutheran Church in Dubuque, Iowa.
While the seminary was gone, Dana College stayed true to its roots in faith. But when the college closed in 2010, the hill was left without a church for the first time in more than 125 years.
But now, a church will soon call that hill home once again.
It's been eight long years since Dana closed. That same year, Christ Lutheran Church was established. It's 120-member congregation has been in search of a place to call its own ever since.
On Oct. 7, the congregation overwhelmingly voted to move into the first floor of the Durham Classroom Center, which includes Trinity Chapel.
While there is still plenty of work to do and no timeline has been set, the congregation is excited about the move, and rightfully so. It's an opportunity for the church to grow and be a partner in the developing Frank and Jane Krejci Life and Learning Center, which is focused on youth aging out of foster care and low-income elderly.
“We plan to be a very welcoming, accepting place for anybody that occupies Transformation Hill,” Pastor Mark Degner said. “We would be a natural choice for them to come and hear the gospel of Jesus and to be loved and accepted and cared for.”
While a college may never return to Blair, a church will be restored to that hill.
Now, with two new tenants, including The Railmen Performing Arts, which is leasing the Gardner-Hawks Center and Borup Coliseum, a new life is emerging for the former campus.