Dan Jorgenson Book Signing!

NHS is pleased to welcome back to Northfield, Dan Jorgenson. Dan will do a presentation and book signing on his new book, a novel entitled “And DanThe Wind Whispered.”

The program will start at 6:30 and is free and open to the public.

You can read a great article about the program in the Northfield News here.

We are back! Help us curator our next exhibit and footnotes!

NHS 40th logoWe are back up and running after the 4th of July holiday and a few staff vacations!  So lets jump back into it.

The response we received on our last poll for adding items to our next 40 for 40 exhibit was great! So here is the second one!

For the past seven months NHS staff have been developing the 40 for 40 exhibits. We have enlisted help of some of our NHS members, but now we are asking for some broader community input. We have narrowed down the final exhibit themes to ten possibilities. We only have room for five. Help us choose what goes into the exhibit.

Over the next few weeks we will be posting voting polls, pitting artifact vs artifact. At the end of the voting period, the top 5 artifacts/themes will be in the final 40 for 40 exhibit that opens in October.

The rules are simple, you can vote once per day! The artifact that has the most votes will be the winner!

Also, with all the time off, we seemed to have forgotten the History Footnotes, so here are the ones to get us caught up.

#11. “An organization of carpenters applied for a charter from the Minnesota Federation of Labor on February 5, 1920. Once the charted was granted, this group formed the first labor union in Northfield.”

#12. “Mayor Chas E. Bork published a notice in the July 29, 1920 issue of the Northfield News requesting that all Northfield citizens remove weeds from their front yards. He declared that his duty was to make Northfield look neat – ‘just a little neater than other cities.’”

#13. “The Fifth Street bridge over the Cannon River, costing the city $200,000, was dedicated on August 21, 1964. It replaced a through truss steel bridge from 1886. While some mourned the loss of this antique bridge, most residents were pleased with the openness and spaciousness of the new Fifth Street crossing.”

Help us curate our next exhibit!!

003The Northfield Historical Society is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2015. The public has generously donated items to the society since the beginning. The 40 For 40 exhibit was created to celebrate and share some of the amazing items that have been donated over the years. The exhibit also commends all of the donors who have shaped the collection by the items they chose to save and donate.

For the past seven months NHS staff have been developing the 40 for 40 exhibits.  We have enlisted help of some of our NHS members, but now we are asking for some broader community input. We have narrowed down the final exhibit themes to ten possibilities. We only have room for five. Help us choose what goes into the exhibit.

Over the next 8 weeks we will be posting voting polls, pitting artifact vs artifact. At the end of the voting period, the top 5 artifacts/themes will be in the final 40 for 40 exhibit that opens in October.

You can vote once per day until voting ends.

You can also vote on the, Help us curate our next exhibit page.

Help us curate the next 40 for 40 exhibit.

 

History Month coming to a close…

NHS Curator, Cathy Osterman installs a 1916 banner from the Rice County Fair when it was held in Northfield.

NHS Curator, Cathy Osterman installs a 1916 banner from the Rice County Fair when it was held in Northfield.

This week marks the end of the 2015 Northfield History Month and what  month.  We are going to go out with a BANG!

Be sure to join us at the remaining events, starting tomorrow, June 30th!

June 30: 40/40 Exhibit Opening

Northfield Historical Society at 7:00 p.m.
The Northfield Historical Society is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2015. The public has generously donated items to the society since the beginning. The 40 For 40 exhibit was created to celebrate and share some of the amazing items that have been donated over the years. The exhibit also commends all of the donors who have shaped the collection by the items they chose to save and donate.
Items featured in this exhibit include:
• A leather fireman’s helmet worn by Ross Phillips, an early Northfield Fire Chief who served the department for 50 years.
• A grain scale that was used in the Ames Mill
• A silk banner that was awarded for the best booth at the Rice County Fair in 1916.
• An aviation kit bag used by William Cupp in World War II before it was thrown from the plane Cupp was in over Belgium.

Silver STarsJuly 4: Vintage Baseball Game
St. Olaf College below Old Main Hill at 11 a.m.
See base ball the way it was meant to be played when the Northfield Silver Stars stomp the St. Croix Base Ball Club. The rules of 1860 were different from today’s game, including: no gloves allowed; the batter is out if the ball is caught on the first bounce; no balls or strikes are called by an umpire, although a batter can still strike out if he swings and misses three times; foul balls are not considered strikes; and base runners can be tagged out if they overrun first base.

Fireworks
This year’s Fourth of July display will be launched from the kickball diamond of the Northfield Middle School (just south of town on Division Street/Highway 246) at dusk. Spectators are welcome to view the display from the comfort of their own blankets and lawn chairs on the green spaces of the middle and high schools, Bridgewater Elementary, and nearby Taylor Park (be sure to clean up your area after the show) — or wherever you have a good view.

4th of July

Image from David Allen. All Rights Reserved http://www.davidallenart.com/product-category/northfield-minnesota/page/3/

Image from David Allen.
All Rights Reserved
http://www.davidallenart.com/product-category/northfield-minnesota/page/3/

The Northfield Historical Society will be closed on July 4th in observance for the Independence Day holiday. We will be open our normal hours on July 3 and July 5.

History Footnote #10

NHS 40th logoThis year NHS is celebrating it’s 40th Anniversary. For the next 40 weeks we will unveil 40 interesting Northfield history facts. All of them were pulled for the Northfield News. Some are of major events and some are just fun! We hope you enjoy this series and remember you make history happen every day!

An influenza epidemic struck Northfield in February of 1920. As a result, all public functions shut down, including public schools, church services, and pool halls. Yet various volunteers, especially Northfield school teachers, reached out to care for the sick and their families.

New 40 for 40 exhibit set to open June 30

NHS Curator, Cathy Osterman installs a 1916 banner from the Rice County Fair when it was held in Northfield.

NHS Curator, Cathy Osterman installs a 1916 banner from the Rice County Fair when it was held in Northfield.

As part of its ongoing 40th anniversary celebration in 2015, the Northfield Historical Society will unveil its second “40 For 40″ exhibit — a selection of unique, surprising, ordinary, and iconic objects that all Northfielders should be proud to call their own — Tuesday, June 30, at 7 p.m. at the Northfield Historical Society, located in historic downtown Northfield at 408 Division Street. Visit northfieldhistory.org for more information.

The public has generously donated items to the society since its beginning in 1975. The 40 For 40 exhibit was created to celebrate and share some of the more distinctive items that have been donated over the years. The exhibit also commends all of the donors who have shaped the collection. Highlights of the current installment include:

The Skeleton
How many museums can boast of having a full skeleton in their collection? NHS was donated the skeleton by Ozzie and Marie Klavestad, owners of the Stagecoach Museum. It came to NHS under the name Charlie Pitts, but an investigation by the Hennepin County medical examiner in 1982 determined that the skeleton could not have been his.

In 2007 Minnesota State, Mankato faculty member Dr. James Bailey teamed up with Mankato colleague and forensic anthropologist Kathleen Blue. They photographed and measured it and collected DNA samples from the pelvis, legs, and teeth. They found out that the skeleton was, indeed, that of a male between the ages of 40 and 50. He is believed to have been of mixed ancestry and would have stood between 5’7” and 5’9”. The skeleton is believed to have been prepared for display in the late 19th or early 20th centuries but that age did not determine the age of the skeleton. DNA samples from the bones and teeth did not match each other, so it is possible that the skeleton is comprised of more than one individual. To date, NHS does not know the identity of the skeleton. It is very unlikely, though, that he was one of the outlaws who came to Northfield on September 7, 1876.

Veblen Family Quilt
This quilt, one of the few items in the collection from the Veblen family, was made by Kari Bunde Veblen in 1896 to celebrate her 50th wedding anniversary to Thomas Anderson Veblen. The most famous of the Veblen children was Thorstein, the sixth of 12. The family moved to a homestead near Nerstrand when Thorstein was a boy and he graduated from Carleton College in 1880. He eventually went to graduate school before becoming a professor at the University of Chicago for many years.

Thorstein achieved national fame for his 1899 work, The Theory of the Leisure Class. He coined the term “conspicuous consumption” and became a leader in the fields of economics and sociology. His social observations and ideologies continued to influence social reforms in the Progressive Era and during the New Deal — even after his death in 1929. In an effort to keep the Veblen memory alive and as a tribute to Thorstein, a group of local citizens began restoring the Veblen farmhouse, which was named a National Historic Landmark in 1981.

Nellie “MOM” Phillips’ Typewriter
MOM Phillips TypwriterThe Northfield News certainly had more than one typewriter in its office, but none became as famous as this L.C. Smith typewriter. Nellie Phillips had spent most of her life in Northfield and was on the staff of the Northfield News when the U.S. entered World War II. She began writing letters to local young men who had joined the service, typing thousands of letters on this very typewriter. She received hundreds of letters in return and developed a column in the newspaper in 1942 to relay to Northfielders stories, news, and even the contents of entire letters she received from the servicemen with whom she corresponded. She affectionately signed her letters ‘Mom.’

In 1947, Nellie was awarded the VFW Citizenship Medal but she was nowhere near finished writing her letters. She continued her correspondence through the Korean conflict of the 1950s and sent her last letter in 1965. Only a few years later, Nellie gave the files she kept on the soldiers to the Eugene H. Traux VFW Post. The VFW, in turn, donated the files to NHS, creating an unparalleled collection of the experiences and thoughts of the local men and women who served in World War II.

Eva Lou Scott Doll Collection
Eva Lou Scott was a doll collector. She loved dolls as a child and began collecting them in the late 1920s. Besides dolls that looked like those from her own childhood, Eva Lou liked ethnic dolls. She used her extensive ethnic doll collection as she taught school. What is remarkable about Eva Lou’s collection is the variety of ethnic dolls she collected when she, herself, did not travel much. If friends were traveling, she would give them money for dolls and those friends rarely returned to Eva Lou empty-handed. The collection grew from tens to hundreds of dolls over the course of her life. Her entire doll collection represents years of collecting and research that Eva Lou readily shared with those around her.

Northfield’s Dairy Industry
One-hundred years ago Northfield was known as the Holstein Capital of America. At the time of the ‘Golden Jubilee’ in 1916 there were 5,532 Holstein-Friesian dairy cattle in the community and 261 breeders. This did not happen by mistake. William Schilling promoted the idea of the entire community raising one breed, and as soon as farmers saw the hearty qualities of the Holstein, farms in Northfield went from grain growing to raising pure-bred Holsteins. Farmers formed the Northfield Holstein Club and eventually created a breeder’s organization that owned outstanding bulls used to sire the superior herds for which Northfield became famous. Farmers came from out-of-state to purchase Holsteins from Northfield and the city became known for “Cows, Colleges, and Contentment.”

There were many prominent dairy farmers who raised Holsteins in the earliest days. U.L. Lashbrook was one of these men. He began his herd in 1903 on a 160 acre farm that is now part of Lashbrook Park in Northfield. His granddaughter donated a pair of Holstein-Friesian canvas prints to NHS. The artist of the prints, Edwin Megargee, became a well-known animal artist credited with painting the finest specimens of animals. Because of Megargee’s depiction of the perfect bull, area Holsteins were judged for quality against this painting.

Come see the second “40 For 40″ exhibit — a selection of unique, surprising, ordinary, and iconic objects that all Northfielders should be proud to call their own — Tuesday, June 30, at 7 p.m. at the Northfield Historical Society, located in historic downtown Northfield at 408 Division Street. Visit northfieldhistory.org for more information.