LINFIELD’S HISTORICAL CONNECTION TO SPOKANE
Chartered in 1858, for many years McMinnville College in McMinnville, Oregon, struggled for survival. But its future was assured in 1922 when Frances Ross Linfield gave property in Spokane, Washington, to the college.
In honor of the gift and to show thanks for the more than $250,000 the college realized from the sale of the land, trustees renamed the college in honor of Mrs. Linfield's late husband, the Rev. George Fisher Linfield.
The property is at West Sprague Avenue and North Monroe Street in downtown Spokane. The specific location at that intersection is the Knitting Factory Concert House, 919 W. Sprague Ave.
(NOTE MENTION OF SPOKANE’S LEWIS & CLARK HIGH SCHOOL.)
DEATH OF MRS. LINFIELD; HER GIFT GAVE LINFIELD COLLEGE ITS NAME
Associated Press story from page 1 of March 26, 1940, Spokane Daily Chronicle
Mrs. F. R. Linfield Is Taken by Death
Mrs. Frances Ross Linfield, widely known education and philanthropist, who formerly lived in Spokane, died today in Portland after a seven-week illness, the Associated Press reports.
Mrs. Linfield headed the modern languages department of Lewis and Clark high school here from 1895 to 1912. She was active in Grace Baptist church, and was a member of that congregation til her death.
At one time she owned considerable property here, gave it all to Linfield college, McMinnville, Ore., which was named for her husband. Only property here still owned by the college is a 100 by 120 foot plot at the northwest corner of Sprague and Monroe now occupied by the Cohn Brothers furniture store and Fox garage.
(MENTION HERE, TOO, OF SPOKANE’S LEWIS & CLARK HIGH SCHOOL)
NOTE THAT THE DAY (JAN. 10, 1922) MRS. LINFIELD’S GIFT TO McMINNVILLE COLLEGE (AND CHANGE OF COLLEGE NAME TO LINFIELD) WAS ANNOUNCED WAS SAME DAY IT WAS ANNOUNCED LINFIELD WAS RESUMING FOOTBALL AFTER 16 YEARS NOT PLAYING THE SPORT
Question: For whom is Linfield College named?
Answer: Rev. George Fisher Linfield, a Baptist pastor, born in 1846 and died in 1890.
Linfield College was McMinnville College until 1922 when Rev. Linfield's widow, Frances Eleanor Ross Linfield, donated property (valued at $250,000) in Spokane to the college on condition that the name be changed as a memorial to her husband.
When Mrs. Linfield gave the gift, she was McMinnville College's dean of women. From 1921-1928, she served in that role. (Thus, she was dean of women initially for McMinnville College and, later, for Linfield College.) She also served on the college's board of trustees.
Announcement of the gift of property and the college's name change was by President Leonard Riley. He told the college's students, faculty and staff during a special afternoon chapel on Jan. 10, 1922. During the same chapel, Riley announced the college's 16 year ban on football was over. The sport resumed with the 1922 season.
Read about why McMinnville College banned football/did not play football for 16 years here:
In 1873, Frances E. Ross graduated from Elmira College in New York. She became a teacher, including at the Englewood, Ill., high school and at Pennsylvania State Normal School at Mansfield. She also taught at the Delaware Literary Institute in New York and Wayland Academy in Wisconsin.
She came to Spokane in 1895 due to the illness of her parents, who were living there. While devoting much of her time to their care, she taught at Spokane's Lewis and Clark High School for 17 years (1895-1912) and was head of the schools' modern languages department.
On Sept. 4, 1878, she married the Rev. Linfield. His background included serving as principal of Wayland Academy. He died April 30, 1890. Where he died depends on the source you believe. The choices are Beaver Dam, Wisc., and Muscatine, Iowa.
While the Rev. and Mrs. Linfield worked together as instructors at Wayland, they formulated a plan for a future contribution toward Christian education. In 1922 the plan reach its fruition in the gift from Mrs. Linfield to the college. See footnote.
The Rev. and Mrs. Linfield's plan was that, if the Lord prospered them, they would some day make a generous contribution toward Christian education, further agreeing that in one year Rev. Linfield should pay all expenses and her salary should go toward making an investment, while the succeeding year the plan should be reversed.
Under this plan the Rev. Linfield invested $2,300 in a lot in Spokane which later sold for $100,000. Mrs. Linfield made other investments which constantly grew in value.
One of the reasons she chose the college as recipient of her gift was because of the determination of its officers and trustees to maintain it as a distinctly Christian institution.
Mrs. Linfield died at age 88 in Portland on March 26, 1940.