CHAPTER 5: The First Bathtub at St. Olaf College

ONE of the trustees of the College in Goodhue County heard that there was a bathtub at St. Olaf, and, as reported, he thought to himself, “What in the world is the college coming to — giving her students such luxury? Certainly the students at St. Olaf College should have the same hardships as they find in their own homes! Too much comfort and luxury is not good for young people!” Then he got on his horse and, puffing and blowing, went up the hill to the “Main” to register his complaint to the college.

My father met him with his usual courtesy and politeness. He showed him the tin bathtub in the basement that he had had built for the students. He also showed him a little black steel box nailed to the wall in his office. This box had two compartments and fretted sides. He explained to the trustee that the contents of this box were the bath tickets, and each student paid five cents for a bath ticket. Most of the expense of building the tin bathtub had already been covered by the payment of five cents per ticket.

The trustee examined the bathtub very carefully and looked at the tickets in the little box and then said to my father, “My, my, but that is a very good idea.” Then he drove leisurely back to Goodhue County, perhaps thinking to himself, “They take good care of the students at St. Olaf College.” This little black box was used as a mail box at our home 1300 St. Olaf Avenue for many years. I have no idea where it is now.

The Old Main


Mohn and Ytterboe Family Connections
The Old Synod
The Reverend Bernt Muus
Young Professor Ytterboe
The First Bathtub at St. Olaf College
A New Day and A New President
Chapel Prayers by H. T. Ytterboe
Erik Hetle and Ole Rölvaag
Hoyme Chapel
Old Buildings at St. Olaf College
1300 St. Olaf Avenue
Agnes Margaret Kittelsby
Professor O. G. Felland
Agnes Mellby
Town and Gown
Music at St. Olaf
St. Olaf’s First Rhodes Scholar
My Mother, Mrs. H. T. Ytterboe