|In the late 19th century, nestled in the idyllic town of Silverton, Oregon, a unique institution emerged as a beacon of progressive thought and intellectual freedom. The Liberal University of Oregon (LUO), founded in 1896, was the brainchild of the Oregon State Secular Union. In an era dominated by religious conservatism, LUO offered a haven for freethinkers, intellectuals, and forward-looking individuals seeking to challenge societal norms. This captivating book, curated by Silverton Historian Gus Frederick from H. L. Green’s renowned Free Thought Magazine from Chicago, delves into the extraordinary journey of LUO from its founding in 1896 to its move to Kansas City, Missouri in 1902, and its closure a year later.
Immerse yourself in the stories of LUO’s students and faculty as they engaged in spirited debates and thought-provoking discussions on topics ranging from philosophy and politics to social reform. Green’s magazine offered a unique glimpse into the thriving intellectual community that flourished within LUO’s halls, providing a comprehensive narrative of the university’s formation, its influential figures, and the impact it had on Silverton, as well as the broader secular movement in the United States during this transformative period known as the “Golden Age of Free Thought.”
Through the lens of Free Thought Magazine, experience the rise and eventual decline of LUO, as changing demographics, internal conflicts, and financial constraints forced the university to shutter its doors in 1902. Yet, the legacy of LUO endures, serving as a testament to the unwavering commitment of the Oregon State Secular Union to promote rational inquiry and critical thinking in higher education. This collection offers a captivating exploration of LUO’s brief but significant existence, painting a vivid portrait of a time when liberal ideas thrived amidst the stunning landscapes of Oregon’s Silverton.