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Lakeland College was the first German Reform institution for seminary education in what was then known as the West. It was started by the Lippers, who arrived in Wisconsin in 1847 from Langenholzhausen, a village located in the Principality of Lippe Detmold, Germany. They received Federal land grants, some for early service in the War of 1812, and two farmers donated 10 acres of land for the school. The school was built in order to educate ministers, as many congregations were without pastors at that time.
The buildings sit on large, flat farmland surrounded by a large wooded area. A 2-acre lake was constructed in the area between the campus buildings and the woods, and a lagoon was placed by the president's house. Picnic benches are interspersed throughout the area. The football field is named the Taylor Memorial Field after a football player who was killed during practice. The buildings have been planned so that they are multi-functional and low to the ground, so as to not interfere with the landscape. Each building has been carefully placed so that a close pattern is present, allowing for open areas to enjoy the landscape and surrounding woods. Although campus buildings have been updated due to building codes, they remain, as much as possible, in original form.