Seminary Hall

Seminary Hall, on the Tahlequah campus of Northeastern State University, is more than bricks, mortar, timbers and tile. It is the symbol of a university and of a great nation, it is the location of memories and the spring board for new ideas, and it is a reflection of at least six generations of students, teachers, and staff member who have gathered under the turrets and towers to teach, to study, to grow.

This website is an active hub for sharing a variety of historical perspectives. The thoughts and opinions shared on this site do not necessarily reflect the official views of the university. You are invited to share your thoughts and ideas on additional material or topics that you would like to see included.

1846 / Principal Chief John Ross

Seven years after the last detachment of Cherokees arrived in Indian Territory following their forced removal from their homelands, Principal Chief John Ross oversaw the passage of an act by the Cherokee Nation that created institutions for secondary education for young women and young men.

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1856-1875

Financial difficulties and the disruption of the American Civil War forced the closing of both seminaries. Indian Territory experienced divisions and armed conflict as the opposing forces sometimes used the vacant Female Seminary for military purposes including a hospital for soldiers. By 1875, both seminaries had re-opened. 

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1887 / Fire!

FIRE! On Easter Sunday, 1887, the Female Seminary burned to the ground. Determined students climbed into the cupola to strike the clapper to the bell by hand when no rope could be found, but to no avail. Only three original columns remain that can be seen at the Cherokee Heritage Center.

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1889

The Female Seminary was rebuilt in its new location and re-opened to much fanfare on May 7, 1889. The Cherokee Advocate newspaper reported: “ . . . Between 2,000-3,000 people were present and were counted, among whom were representatives of every district in the nation, and of every class of citizens. The precession was over a mile long.

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More Than Just a Building

From the day it opened in 1889, the true character of Seminary Hall has been defined by the people who study, teach, and work there. While tastes and social mores have changed, youthful spirit and a yearning for life’s experiences continue to echo in the hallways.

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