Anybody can get their picture taken with Santa, but at NHS you can get your picture taken with the James-Younger Gang! Get your photo taken with the James-Younger Gang during Winter Walk, December 11 from 6-9 p.m. NHS will also be premiering Historic Happenings a book by Susan Hvistendahl. It is a compilation of selected “Historic Happenings” columns which were originally published in The Entertainment Guide between 2007-2013.
There will also be many great sales on items in the Museum Store. Make sure you stop on down and say hi!
“Historic Happenings,” a book by Susan Hvistendahl, has been published this month through a partnership of The Entertainment Guide and Northfield Historical Society Press. It is a compilation of selected “Historic Happenings” columns which were originally published in The Entertainment Guide between 2007-2013. Other volumes will follow, including historic happenings at St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges.
The newly published book includes stories about the people, businesses and events that have made Northfield the unique place that it is today, dating back to John North, who founded the town in 1855. The book contains stories of North’s establishing a Lyceum where settlers sought “intellectual improvement” in debates on issues of the day and North’s ties to Abraham Lincoln. Also noted is an episode when “Ax-Wielding Settlers” promoted temperance in Northfield in 1858 and the inspiring life of Hiram Scriver, early merchant.
Also part of the fabric of the town’s history are the Archer House (which opened in 1877) and the Ware auditorium (now the Grand Event Center) and the Odd Fellows building (at the site of Three Links today) which both opened in 1899. The beloved popcorn wagon, established by Vera Johansen, has been a familiar sight on Bridge Square since 1979. Other events covered in the book are the speech General Dwight David Eisenhower gave to 10,000 at Laird Stadium in 1952 just before he was elected President, the tragic day in 1915 when lions attacked their trainer during a 1915 carnival, the 1997 Northfield Raiders’ state football championship and, of course, the infamous day of “Robbery & Murder!” on Sept. 7, 1876, when the James-Younger gang tried to rob First National Bank but met their match.
And, above all, there are stories of the amazing people of Northfield, past and present, featured in this book: Northfield News writer Maggie Lee, town icons Sid and Dan Freeman, performers Marilyn Sellars and Johnny Western, Laura Baker with her school for people with developmental disabilities, Northfield High choral director Yosh Murakami, Wayne Eddy of KYMN, Celtic music wizard Laura MacKenzie. And three residents who were the Jeopardy! answer to the question, “Who are Northfield’s Quiz Show Aces?”—Hillemann, Crippen and Soule.
The book will premier at Winter Walk Thursday Dec. 11, Hvistendahl will be signing copies of the book during between 6-8 p.m. at the Northfield Historical Society, 408 Division Street. There will also be a book presentation and book signing at the Northfield Historical Society on Thursday, Jan. 15, starting at 6:30 p.m.
NHS will open our normal hours on Friday November 28, but check out the upcoming deals in the Museum Store!
Come into the Museum store and this Friday (11/28) and receive member discounts! Non-Members receive 10% off ALL merchandise!
Current members receive 15% off all merchandise!
BLACK FRIDAY ONLY! Become a member of the Northfield Historical Society* and receive 50% THREE Items in the Store and 15% off the rest of your purchases!
*Must sign up at the Family Membership level ($50)
SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY!
All members receive 50% off ONE item in the Museum Store! All your other purchases you will receive at your current membership discount! Not a member of the Northfield Historical Society? Sign up and receive your discounts at the checkout!
CYBER MONDAY SALE!
10% off site wide! Discounts good online only!!!
Enter the code HISTORY ROCKS to get the discounts.
This month the Northfield Historical Society added to its collection via long term loan one of the most important known artifacts from the 1876 robbery attempt by the James-Younger Gang: the rifle that Henry Wheeler used to defend the First National Bank of Northfield. The weapon — a .50 caliber Smith carbine — is on loan from its anonymous new owner and will be on display in the museum in the coming months.
“We have so many artifacts from the James-Younger Gang members, but little that represents the town’s defense of the failed 1876 raid,” says Hayes Scriven, NHS executive director. “Our being able to display this rifle with its rich backstory is remarkable.”
“As a young college student Henry Wheeler put his life on the line to help prevent a bank robbery that would have devastated Northfield residents,” adds the owner. “I’m glad to be able to help keep his legacy alive.”
NHS first learned about the Wheeler collection in 2012 when Dr. James Bailey, a forensic scientist who conducted a study of the skeleton in the NHS collection, was researching the Smith carbine and Henry Wheeler. Earlier this year Scriven made an unsuccessful bid to get a grant from the Minnesota Historical Society that would allow NHS to purchase the rifle. Scriven then reached out to a mutual friend of the new owner and “the rest is history,” quips Scriven.
The current owner purchased the weapon with the intention of letting NHS put it on long-term display. NHS is currently evaluating its exhibit on the failed 1876 raid. “It’s a quality exhibit, but we could make better use of our space,” says Scriven. “In addition, new raid facts and artifacts have emerged over the past few years, and we want to better highlight local responses to the failed raid — something the current exhibit does not do well.”
The Wheeler collection will be the “crown jewel” in the new exhibit that should open sometime next summer. Along with the rifle, visitors will see the Smith and Wesson .38 caliber revolver that Wheeler carried after the family of Clell Miller threatened his life because Wheeler had shot and killed Miller during the raid. A gold pocket watch the First National Bank presented to Wheeler for his efforts in defending the bank also is on display, along with a recently discovered photo of Wheeler during his time as a student at Carleton College.
The Northfield Historical Society is looking for your help to meet its fundraising goals on Give to the Max Day 2014. This year, the historical society has secured $2,000 in matching funds! By making a donation on November 13, you can help us meet this match and end our 2014 fundraising on a high note.
We are also participating in the Northfield Gives at the Grand event from 5:00 -9:00 p.m. at the Grand Event Center. Come by and give us your donation and be entered to win a gift basket from Northfield Olive Oils and Vinegars.
Donations can be made through the GiveMN.org portal, the NHS website, by calling the Historical Society, by stopping by the Historical Society or at the Grand Event Center between 5:00-9:00 p.m. on the 13th to make your donation in person. Unable to participate on November 13th, no problem! Donations can be scheduled through the GiveMN.org website to go through on Give to the Max Day or you can send in a donation to the Historical Society ahead of time.
Dave Silvester will be presenting on the book, Minnesota’s Own: Preserving our Grand Homes, he will speak at the Northfield Historical Society on Thursday, October 30 at 6:30 PM about this new book he 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.
Northfield 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
2010 Cemetery Stories