These columns are all that remain of the original Cherokee Female Seminary. The building was opened in May 1851, but sadly burned in April 1887. My great-grandmother’s sister, Aunt Callie, was graduating in the year of the fire. Her little sister, my great grandmother, Mattie, graduated from the Seminary in the new building, which still stands as Seminary Hall of Northeastern State University.
To me, these columns stand as a symbol of Cherokee strength. The Nation rebounded after the devastation of the Trail of Tears, and within 20 years had build one of the finest higher education systems west of the Mississippi river. But, more than that, these columns are a tangible connection to the women of my Cherokee family.