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ISSUE 116 VOL 13 PUBLISHED 3/7/2003

Uncovered: Truth behind the myths

By Anonymous
Contributing Writer

Friday, March 7, 2003

Maybe it is our need to be something other than normal that makes St. Olaf students cling to rumors. Have you ever heard a student boast that Julia Roberts applied here? Have your friends ever tried to discover if there was once a brewery in Thorson Hill or argued over the true circumstances surrounding the death of the “red cap boy?”

The Manitou Messenger’s new series, “"Truths behind the myths”" takes a closer look at the truth behind our college’'s mysteries with the help of associate archivist Jeff Sauve.

Though the many claims that celebrities attended or applied to St. Olaf are usually false, one celebrity’'s association with St. Olaf may spark your interest: the famous musician Yanni spent a significant amount of time right here on the Hill. According to Sauve, Yanni attended the University of Minnesota shortly after emigrating from Greece. During his summers, Yanni got a job as a swimming coach at Northfield High School, calling on his talents as a former swimming champion in Greece. The high school team trained at St. Olaf’'s pool in the summer and Yanni ended up spending a fair amount of time hanging around campus. Look in future stories to learn more about Yanni’'s connections to St. Olaf and the people he still has contact with.

Betty White made St. Olaf famous to millions of TV viewers with her character Blanche on the popular series “The Golden Girls.” Some people think that a Carleton alum was one of the writers for the show, explaining the less-than-favorable depiction of the small town “St. Olaf’'s” on the show. In future articles in this series, find out what really connects St. Olaf to “The Golden Girls” and how St. Olaf’'s relationship with White has developed over the years.

False information surrounding the inspiration for Holland Hall represents one of the most commonly-told myths during St. Olaf tours. While many students and staff believe that Holland Hall is modeled after the famous Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, this notion is a little bit off the mark. The Norman Gothic-styled Holland Hall is, in fact, designed after the Merveille Abbey at Mont-Saint-Michele, located in France. Sauve said that around 1916, the St. Olaf administration began to look for a comprehensive appearance for the campus. The current power plant tower represents the first of this comprehensive appearance with its Norman Gothic style. After P.O. Holland, the business manager of the time, returned from a trip to Europe, he told the administration that St. Olaf should build an aesthetically pleasing administration building instead of another chapel. Construction soon followed and Holland lifted the first shovel of dirt in the groundbreaking ceremony in 1924. The building was finally named Holland Hall in 1949 after being referred to as the administration building for the first 25 years. Further information for this article concerning Holland Hall was taken from Joseph M. Shaw’s book, “Dear Old Hill.”

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