Minnesota’s Own: Preserving our Grand Homes

Millett PosterLarry Millett, author of Minnesota’s Own: Preserving our Grand Homes, will speak at the Northfield Historical Society on Thursday, October 30 at 6:30 PM about his new book. Mr. Millett will show us pictures of some of Minnesota’s beautiful homes from around the state and tell us stories about their construction, original owners and restorations. This program is cosponsored by the Northfield Historical Society and the Friends and Foundation of the Northfield Public Library.

Popular ‘Cemetery Stories’ program pushes reset button

Cemetery StorieNorthfield Historical Society has decided that the next presentation of its popular Cemetery Stories series will be delayed until sometime in 2015. The NHS board of directors has cited a variety of reasons for the decision, including a shortened organizing period this year due to the timing of the next full moon plus a shrinking volunteer base.

“We love the way our Cemetery Stories program presents history to people of all ages and we want to provide a quality experience for all involved,” says Hayes Scriven, NHS executive director. “But we’re just not in a position to do that this year.”

After running the program in much the same way for nine years, Scriven also wants to comprehensively review it and look for ways to enhance the presentation. “When the event happens next year it will be a better and different experience that will expose history to a wide variety of people,” he says.

In the meantime, the society plans to make videos from previous Cemetery Stories — available for free online here.

2011 Cemetery Stories

Cemetery Stories 2011 from Hayes Scriven on Vimeo.

2010 Cemetery Stories

Cemetery Stories from Hayes Scriven on Vimeo.

The Atlanta Campaign

AtlantaCivil War enthusiast and amateur historian Jim Stark will discuss General Grant’s 1864 Grand Campaign to conquer the south with his talk, “The Atlanta Campaign,” Thursday, September 25, 6:30 p.m. at the Northfield Historical Society. The event is free and open to the public.
Stark, a former president of the Northfield and Rice County historical societies, will discuss General Grant’s 1864 Grand Campaign to conquer the south and how it had come to complete failure within three of his armies departments.  Grant’s own objective, the destruction of General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia had bogged down into a siege accompanied by huge losses of personnel.  Northern morale was declining and the likelihood of President Lincoln’s reelection was becoming more unlikely every day.  President Lincoln and the north now looked upon General William T. Sherman for the deliverance and the capture of Atlanta.
Jefferson Davis and the southern command hoped to drag out the war and deny Lincoln the election, and perhaps win at the ballot box what it was unable to win on the battlefield.  Hanging in the balance was the faith of two nations.

What DJJD is about.


Joseph Lee Heywood

This Sunday will mark the 138 anniversary of the failed bank raid by the James-Younger Gang. The gang rode into Northfield intent on robbing the First National Bank of Northfield. It was just a bit before 2:00 p.m. when three of the raiders entered the bank. It only lasted seven minutes but those seven minutes have stayed with Northfield forever.

This week Northfield celebrates the Defeat of Jesse James Days (DJJD). The celebration is for the towns people that defeated the James-Younger Gang. People like, J.S. Allen, Henry Wheeler, Elias Stacy, A.R. Manning, Frank Wilcox, Alonzo Bunker and of course Joseph Lee Heywood. It was because of the bravery of these men the gang was defeated and Heywood paid the ultimate price. He refused to open the vault for the gang even after multiple beatings and was killed for protecting Northfield’s future.

It is the extraordinary courage of these ordinary men that we honor this week. DJJD starts tomorrow (September 3th) with a graveside memorial for Joseph Lee Heywood and the other heroes of September 7 in the Northfield Cemetery at noon. It is a great way to start off a fun-filled weekend as it really helps put things in perspective.

NHS Hours during DJJD week!

Raid photoThe Northfield Historical Society will have extend hours during the week of  September 1-7  for Defeat of Jesse James Days.

September 1, Labor Day, 10:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m.
September 2, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
September 3, 10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
September 4, 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Johnny Boggs presentation
September 5, 10:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
September 6, 8:00 a.m. -8:00 p.m.
September 7, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Our research library will be closed during this week, if you have a request please us our contact page.

If you have any questions feel free to contact us at 507-645-9268

Johnny D. Boggs comes to Northfield during DJJD

Jesse James and the MoviesJohnny D. Boggs, author of more than 40 western books and a six-time Western Writers of America Spur Award-winner, will discuss how Jesse James and Northfield have been portrayed in movies over the years at a free event and book signing Thursday, September 4, 6:30 p.m. at the Northfield Historical Society.

Boggs will base the presentation on his book Jesse James and the Movies, which analyzes the 40-plus motion pictures that have been produced about the Missouri outlaw — from the silent era to today. Among the films and actors that will be covered are Jesse James (1939) with Tyrone Power, Kansas Raiders (1950) with Audie Murphy, The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid (1972) with Robert Duvall, and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) with Brad Pitt. Boggs’ discussion will compare each movie with the facts.

In 2007 Boggs published Northfield, which took the unique approach of shifting perspectives from one first-person account to another, allowing participants — both outlaws and Minnesotans — to describe events leading up to and following the 1876 robbery attempt.

Many of Boggs’ titles will be available for purchase at the event.

Historical Society to “live tweet” James-Younger Gang raid and events leading up to raid

Twitter CowboyThe Northfield Historical Society will be retelling the story of the James-Younger Gang’s failed raid this year using the popular social media channel Twitter. NHS will retell the movements of the gang starting with the arrival of Bob Younger and Clell Miller in St. Paul August 19, 1876, followed by almost daily tweets of the gang’s movements throughout the state, leading up to their failed raid on September 7.

Follow NHS on Twitter.