Defeat of Jesse James Days and NHS!

Here are  our hours for all next week and Defeat of Jesse James Days!Raid photo

September 5, 10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. (Labor Day)
September 6, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
September 7, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
September 8, 10:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
September 9, 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
September 10, 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
September 11, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

NHS Social Happy Hour!

Help us celebrate Northfield’s history during DJJD with some locally produced spirits.  Imminent Brewing and Loon Liquors will offer up a few of their products for sampling that evening.  A monetary donation will be required and a valid ID to take part in the tasting.


WheelerBank Site Tours and the Wheeler Collection!
Make sure when you are visiting Northifeld that you take the bank site tour and see the fully restored bank where Joseph Lee Heywood stood his ground and refused to open the safe.  In addition, you can now see the rifle that Henry Wheeler used to defend the bank.

New Store Merchandise
Every year we try to develop new merchandise just for DJJD.  This year we have brought back a few old favorites, but also some new products!

Wheeler Park to be dedicated in honor of bank raid hero

Henry Wheeler

Henry Wheeler

The City of Northfield along with the Defeat of Jesse James Days Committee and the Northfield Historical Society will dedicate the newly created Wheeler Park Wednesday, September 7, at 2 p.m. The nearly three-acre park, located just south of Jefferson Parkway at the end of Prairie Street (950 Jefferson Parkway E.), was recently redeveloped by Northfield resident Norman Oberto and his family.

The park is named in honor of Henry Wheeler, who cemented himself in Northfield history when he grabbed a rifle and fired at James-Younger Gang members during their attempted bank robbery in 1876. His shots killed Clell Miller and wounded Bob Younger. Wheeler, a graduate of Carleton College’s Preparatory Department, was studying medicine at the time and would later graduate from the University of Michigan.

“I hope this park will remind people of the strong community we have built since that fateful day in 1876,” says Oberto. “Just being a good neighbor and friend, helping those in need, and trying to make our community a better place to live exemplify the character demonstrated by Henry Wheeler.”

Oberto explains that he had not paid much attention to Henry Wheeler’s role in Northfield’s history until Hayes Scriven, executive director of the Northfield Historical Society, asked for assistance in purchasing a set of historical artifacts that had been in a private collection for more than 30 years. With Oberto’s help, that collection — which includes Wheeler’s rifle and a gold watch given in appreciation for his actions during the raid — is now on display at the Northfield Historical Society.

Over the past few years Scriven has led efforts to shift the focus of the raid story from the gang members to the Northfield residents who helped foil the attempted robbery. “The locals have never received enough credit for what they did that day,” he says. The NHS has been revising its historical exhibits to reflect this new approach.

Oberto is chairman and an owner of Lakeville-based Imperial Plastics, a manufacturer of engineered plastic components. He resides in Northfield with his wife Lori. They have three daughters: Lauren, Allison, and Emily.

2016 Outlaw Run Canceled

OutlawRunLogoThe Northfield Historical Society Board of Directors and the Outlaw Run Committee announced today that this year’s outlaw run, scheduled for August 27, has been canceled due to road safety concerns. The decision comes after an accident near Mazeppa on the planned Outlaw Run route, during which two committee members were injured.

“Although conditions were perfect when we checked the route a month ago, you never know what Minnesota’s summer road construction season might create,” says Hayes Scriven, executive director of the Northfield Historical Society. Recently a patch of road near Mazeppa was repaired in such a way that the surface was especially slippery for motorcycles, as discovered by the two committee members Sunday. The pair — one of whom was hospitalized — also were the designated leaders of the run.

Planning a large group motorcycle ride requires intricate planning of routes, with careful consideration of turns and using as many low-traffic roads as possible. “Canceling this event was not an easy decision,” says Scriven. “But the safety of our riders is our primary concern.”

Riders who have pre-registered will be refunded their entire registration fee.

If riders would still like to support the NHS Youth Programs they can purchase this year’s Outlaw Run t-shirt and a “History Badass” button in the NHS store.

Note that NHS is still exploring the possibility of hosting the Outlaw Run after-party at the Reub ‘N’ Stein in Northfield. Visit or the Outlaw Run’s Facebook page for updates.

Get your horns boys, we’re starting a band!

mtcowboybandIn 1912, a cowboy band and a group of Blackfeet Indians from newly developed Glacier National Park traveled to expositions in Minneapolis and Chicago to promote the state of Montana. Hired by Great Northern Railway President Louis W. Hill, the son of James J. Hill, the musical ensemble included a cornet soloist named G. Oliver Riggs.

Award-winning freelance journalist Joy Riggs, the great-granddaughter of G. Oliver Riggs, will tell the story of this unusual adventure in an engaging presentation at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, at the Northfield Historical Society. The event is co-sponsored by the Vintage Band Festival.

Joy Riggs is writing a narrative nonfiction book about the extraordinary exploits of her paternal great-grandfather, a pioneering Minnesota music man. She received a 2015 emerging artist grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC) and serves on the boards of both the Northfield Historical Society and the Vintage Band Festival. She blogs about her book project and her family’s adventures in making and appreciating music at A native of Alexandria, Minn., she lives in Northfield with her husband and their three children.

Chester Congdon & The Forgotten Era Of Minnesota History

ChesterCongdonJoin the Northfield Historical Society on July 21st as we welcome the Executive Director of Duluth, Minnesota’s Glensheen Mansion, Dan Hartman who will present “Chester Congdon & The Forgotten Era Of Minnesota History.”

Chester Congdon was involved in everything and has had a significant impact on Minnesota history. From the way our senator districts are arranged statewide to the Tonnage Tax fight which consumed the entire state and almost divided it into two. He was instrumental in creating the North Shore Drive, which today is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Minnesota.

More importantly Mr. Congdon should be known for his involvement in the creation of the largest US Corporation in history at the time. A company whose creation created the wealthiest man in the world.

The program will be held at the Northfield Historical Society and start at 6:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public and we will have light refreshments.

Front of House

Bank Raid in July!

Trip Yell 2013On Thursday July 14, the James-Younger Gang is going to attempt to rob the historic First National Bank of Northfield.  There will be two bank raid reenactments on Thursday, the first at 6:00 and second at 6:30 p.m. on the 400 block of Division.  If you have ever wanted to see a bank raid up close and personal this is your chance.

In addition, NHS will be open and free to the public from 5:00-7:00ish p.m.

The bank raids are in conjunction with a conference begin held at Carleton College that day.

Vintage Base Ball

Team Photo IISee baseball the way it was meant to be played when the Northfield Silver Stars take on the St. Croix Base Ball Club at 1 p.m., on July 4th  at St. Olaf College (below Old Main Hill).

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.