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Cooking class in Home Economics building, West Central School of Agriculture, Morris, Minn. C. 1914. Photo courtesy of the UMM Digital Collections.

Cooking class in Home Economics building, West Central School of Agriculture, Morris, Minn. C. 1914. Photo courtesy of the UMM Digital Collections.

Today I’m in Morris for the Prairie Gate Literary Festival. I’ve never been to this part of the state before–I love how my book is taking me to new places!

I feel a kinship to Morris because like Waseca, the town was home to a state agricultural (“ag”) high school. Dad attended the Southern School of Agricultural in Waseca; Morris had the West Central School of Agriculture.

The WCSA lasted from 1910 to 1963, at which time the University of Minnesota-Morris campus opened. The SSA had lasted until 1972, when the U of M-Waseca campus took over.

Unlike Waseca, though, the WCSA buildings are still in use at the UMM campus and, best of all, are actually listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Waseca campus is now a federal women’s prison. The UM-Waseca campus closed in 1992.

I’ll be going to the UMM campus today so I hope to take some pictures and learn a little more about WCSA. Here’s a good overview article.

I went to Grand Rapids in December, and it wasn’t until I got there that I remembered it was also home to an ag school. Now I just need to go to Crookston!

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