In 1875, Luther College was housed in a building described as “an imposing structure in the Norman-Gothic style of architecture.” 6 This building (built in 1865 and completed in 1874) was destroyed by fire in 1889. Its successor also burned, in 1942, and was replaced in 1951. The campus today is dominated by post-World War II Modernist buildings. Architecturally the most enticing structure now on campus is the Pioneer Memorial, located at the college entrance north of the junction of Leif Eriksson Drive and Ohio Street. It is a stone outdoor chapel with a pulpit modeled after a hollowed-out tree trunk.
The dominant quality at Luther College is not the architecture, however, but the landscape, a beautiful site overlooking the upper Iowa River to the west which was revamped in 1910 by the Chicago landscape architect Jens Jensen. Of his approach to design in the Midwest prairie, Jensen wrote, “As I look
Leonard K. Eaton, Landscape Architect in America: The Life and Work of Jens Jensen, 179.