W. C. Robinson wrote about Southwestern College in his book >Footprints@ in 1924. He says A I think the really next most important event for Winfield was the locating the M. E. College in 1885. It was a great struggle and against all oppositon was gained for Winfield. Some took the position that a college town was never prominent as a business town. Some took the stand that having lost the biggest thing that Winfield might have gotten, the division point of the great A. T. & S. F. R. R. we must not lose other opportunities, ans so went to work with might to get the college. It was a great effort, and >mo stone was left unturned=. College Hill Town Company, composed of M. L. Read, M. L. Robinson, W. C. Robinson, Chas. F. Bahntge, Wm. H. Thompson, A. H. Doane bought from Dr. Davis for $12,000C$75 per acre, one hundred sixty acres of land on which the College was to be erected. They offered twenty acres, $10,000 in cash, if The Highland Park Town Company, owning the one hundred sixty acres between the other one and town would do the same. This line was followed for some time with nothing accomplished, and was finally abandoned. Then these same men with others bought two hundred forty acres across the river west, and offered for putting it over there, forty acres and $20,000. This frightened the Highland Park people, and they arranged to accept the original proposition, but this consumed some time. A Winfield crowd had 400 acres and sent in over $30,000. The present location was finally accepted.
AThe Highland Park people agreed in writing to give 20 (40 ?) and $10,000 cash. This located the college in Winfield. It was named Southwest Kansas Conference College, until a few years later the name was changed to >Southwestern= .@
AThe college started work in 1885 and until the original building now called North Hall, was completed, was carried on in the second story of the Bauber Building, corner Main and 10th. Dr. Earp was the first president.@
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, June 13, 1885. Winfield Will Get the Methodist College. Tuesday and Wednesday, the commissioners appointed to choose a location for the Methodist college met at Wichita and considered the bids. The following are the names of the towns and their bids.
Newton, $35,000 and 20 acres of land.
Peabody, $31,000 and 130 acres of land.
Hutchinson, $24,000, a cabinet of minerals valued at $4,000; and 100 acres of land.
Wellington, $51,000 and 40 acres of land.
Wichita, $30,000 and 20 acres of land.
El Dorado, $35,000 and two quarter sections of land and one hundred lots in Riverside Addition.
Winfield, $40,000, twenty acres of land, and annuity of $2,000 for ten years, and forty acres of land; or in lieu of the 20 acres, $10,000. With stone to build the college, Winfield=s bid will be about $100,000.
The county seat pays a good price for the college, but it will be of great benefit to the town. With her increased railroad facilities, Winfield is a desirable place. The morality of the town is good except the ladies wear the non-belted mother hubbard. The REPUBLICAN extends to the county seat the warmest congratulations at her success.
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, June 20, 1885. The site for the M. E. College has been located on the ground just north of the reservoir at Winfield. $90,000 was the price paid for the college. The county seat hopes to increase 5,000 in population in the next ten years from the benefits derived from the college, but she won=t do it. If she gets one-fifth of that number to locate there on account of the college, she will do exceedingly well.
From a paperback book entitled AAn Inspired History of the Methodist Church.@
AThere is another example of how Winfield cooperated with, indeed honored, the leadership of Methodists: In the office of the Register of Deeds in Winfield is a copy of a declaration of ownership of a tract of land made by the College Hill Town Company. It is signed by Tom H. Soward, President. The deed shows that the area mentioned was transferred to the >South West Kansas Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in consideration of the location of the South West Kansas Conference College.=
AThe sheet attached shows that the property referred to carries the names of all streets and avenues. These thoroughfares were named for former Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church with one exception. That street was named >Soward= for Tom Soward, president of the Company.
Matthew Simpson 1852-1880
Edward R. Ames 1852-1872
Edmund S. Janes 1844-1872
Henry W. Warren 1880-1908 (Co-founder of Iliff School of Theology)
William Ninde 1884-1900 (street closed as campus expanded.)
Thomas Bowman 1880-1912 (street closed as campus expanded.)
Charles H. Fowler 1880-1904
C. C. McCabe 1894-
J. H. Vincent 1894-1904
? ? Stevens dates unknown
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, August 1, 1885. The trustees of the Methodist College at Winfield have everything arranged to commence work on the building as soon as the details of plans and specifications can be perfected. The plans are taken from the Methodist College at Denver, Colorado, and the college will cost when completed $40,000.
Arkansas City Republican, September 11, 1886. The new M. E. College opens tomorrow at Winfield. The following is the delegation that Arkansas City sends up: Miss Sarah Hill, and Jerry Cline, Loyd and Robt. Ruby. They all went up on the afternoon train. Miss Flora Kreamer, we are informed, will also attend.
Arkansas City Republican, September 18, 1886. Prof. O. D. Wagner of this city has accepted a professorship in the M. E. College at Winfield. He will remove there and enter upon his duties immediately.
Arkansas City Republican, December 11, 1886. Winfield is in trouble again over her college. No sooner had she gotten her $20,000 annuity fund raised than she is called on for $6,000 more. President Earp says unless that sum is forthcoming in 90 days, the college will most likely be located elsewhere.