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Home Prairie Home Seminary

Prairie Home Seminary


Park Avenue and Wellington Street

In Bess Streeter Aldrich's novel Song of Years, the heroine, Suzanne Martin, enrolls at the Prairie Home Seminary with money won at a county fair horse race. Such a school actually existed in Waterloo. It was founded in 1862 by two sisters, Anna and Elizabeth Field, as a place where young ladies could study English, Latin, mathematics, bookkeeping, spelling and penmanship. Boys were later allowed to enroll, too.

The property at the corner of Park and Wellington was then on the outskirts of Waterloo. The Fields purchased the site from Charles Mullan and built a 40-foot square, two story brick building for their school.

Tuition at the Seminary was 50 cents a week. Enrollment usually averaged about 40 students, though at times as many as 80 pupils were taking classes at the Seminary.

The sisters operated the school until their retirement in 1898. The building was torn down in 1901. Bricks from the building were used in the construction of the apartments that now stand on the corner. The Field sisters lived at 908 West Third Street in Waterloo until their deaths in 1912.

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Last updated Wednesday, June 23, 2004

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