Holding Institute (Laredo Seminary). The Women's Board of Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and missionaries Annie Williams and Rebecca Toland, established the Laredo Seminary in 1880 as a boarding school for young women. The school opened in 1882 at a site near the Paso de San Jacinto of the Rio Grande, Fort McIntosh, and the International and Great Northern Railroad depot. In October 1883, Kentucky native Nannie Emory Holding began her missionary work at the seminary. Later as superintendent, she led a marked period of growth for the school, both in terms of physical size and number of students. Laredo Seminary opened its doors to young men in 1885, and by 1888 it included 125 pupils from Mexico and the United States. After Holding's retirement in 1913, Laredo Seminary was renamed the Holding Institute. The institute suffered severe river flooding in the 1940s and 1950s. After a 1954 flood virtually destroyed the campus, the Holding Institute moved to north Laredo. In 1987, it relocated to its current site at the former city lumber company building. The institute continues to play a role in Laredo's educational system by teaching English in adult education classes. The history of Laredo Seminary and the Holding Institute stands as a reminder of women's mission work on the United States-Mexico border in the 19th and 20th centuries, which provided thousands of border youth the opportunity to receive training and education in preparation for adulthood. (2001) #12529
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