This is a busy week for Northfield and NHS is at the center of it. This Thursday (May 30) is Taste of Northfield. There is a bank raid at 7:00 p.m. that night and we will have extended hours for the museum. In addition, St. Olaf College is having its reunion this weekend and on June 1, there will be no charge to tour the museum and there is another bank raid at 7:00 p.m.
We will have extended hours both Thursday and Saturday.
The late Dan Freeman, commonly known around town as “Mr. Northfield,” will have a tree dedicated in his memory Friday, May 24, at 5 p.m. on Bridge Square. Freeman died earlier this month after a long illness. The public is invited to attend.
The tree, a New Harmony elm, was donated by Knecht’s Nursery and Landscaping in Northfield. Owners Leif and Deb Knecht picked the tree because, says Leif, “When I think of Dan Freeman, I think of Dan as a goodwill ambassador for Northfield. Goodwill is like harmony, and that’s why we picked that tree.” He adds that the tree will be resistant to Dutch Elm disease and will grow quickly. “It will be a long-term reminder of the goodwill Dan always tried to bring to our community.”
A plaque, donated by the Defeat of Jesse James Days Committee and the Northfield Historical Society, will read “Dan Freeman, ‘Mr. Northfield,’ 2013.”
“After Danny’s passing I was contacted by many people asking how we are going to remember Dan,” says Hayes Scriven, general chair of this year’s Defeat of Jesse James Days celebration and executive director of the Northfield Historical Society. “It was a little overwhelming. How do you honor a community icon like Dan?”
Freeman’s tree will share the square with a tree planted by the DJJD committee in 1996 in honor of the late Don McRae, the public announcer of the bank raids for 30 plus years who was succeeded in that role by Freeman.
“It seemed logical to plant a tree in Danny’s honor,” explains Scriven. “We wanted something that would be a lasting reminder of all the good work he accomplished in his lifetime.”
The Northfield Historical Society will be hosting two events May 16. Beginning at 6 p.m. the society will honor its 2012 volunteers of the year: Ian Iverson and Barbara Rippley. During the two-hour event the public also will have the opportunity to tour the collection storage rooms of the newly named Joan Olson Research Center.
At the same time, patrons will be able to view the newest exhibit at the Northfield Historical Society, called “Northfield Eats.”
Rippley and her husband, LaVern, have been NHS members since its founding in 1975. In 2004 volunteer archivist Olson asked Rippley, a book preservation and repair librarian at St. Olaf College, to help repair bound copies of the Northfield News. After completing that project she helped with other jobs in the archives. When Olson retired, Barb stepped up her volunteer time by committing to four hours per week. Most recently Rippley has helped with the collection storage move, and she’s played an integral part in the major effort to reshelve the collection.
Iverson’s passion for history began at a young age as he listened to his grandfather’s stories about coming of age during World War II. He became acquainted with Northfield history as a middle school student taking Earl Weinmann’s social studies class, which prompted him to join the Junior Curator Program at NHS. The following year he became part of a select group of eighth graders, led by Weinmann, who spent the first two hours of each school day at the Scriver Building as a part of the Student Community Outreach Program Experience.
In addition, Iverson credits his two years as a tour guide in the Junior Posse Program for giving him a “thorough understanding of the Northfield Raid and significantly improving his public speaking abilities.” Iverson, hopes to continue spending time in the archives after he graduates.
As part of our volunteer appreciation night the society also will conduct tours of the newly named Joan Olson Research Center, named for the NHS volunteer archivist from 1998 to 2008. Olson worked with the collection three hours daily during her tenure, providing a professional service sorely needed by the society. Prior to her volunteer work, Olson was the first archivist at St. Olaf 1969–98. She also volunteered as archivist for St. John’s Lutheran Church in Northfield.
“Northfield Eats” provides a glimpse of the long history of local restaurants. Using photos, artifacts, and stories, the exhibit features establishments still open, and those that
have passed into history.
Northfield has had a long history of eating establishments run by determined and creative individuals. In addition to serving food, many of these places have served as gathering spots that only add to community character. Some have had short lives, while others have been in business for decades.
“Northfield Rails” will be held this Thursday, May 9, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Northfield Historical Society, 408 Division St., as Save the Northfield Depot’s kick off to several spring and summer fundraising events. Chip DeMann will be the keynote speaker sharing some of the lesser known background about Northfielders and others who were key in the development and growth of the railroads in Northfield.
Historical images and photos about Northfield railroads will be on display. Save the Northfield Depot will also provide a progress report on the overall project to save, rehabilitate and reuse the 1888 depot. The public is invited and encouraged to join others who share an interest in the history of Northfield, railroads, the Northfield depot, and the progress and future fundraising events of Save the Northfield Depot.
Save the Northfield Depot is pleased with the progress towards the project goal of rescuing, moving and reusing the depot. An example of recent positive news was that the tests for asbestos in the depot attic vermiculite indicate that expensive remediation will likely not be necessary – “a welcome cost saving”, noted Rob Martin, Co-Chair.
The Northfield Rails event will also include details about future upcoming events such a crowdsourcing fundraising campaign. Participants will have a chance to ride with the James-Younger gang in a re-enactment of the great 1876 Northfield Bank Raid. For a $5,000 contribution, donors will be provided an outfit, gun, and well-trained horse for the ride. The donor will also receive a professionally filmed video of their infamous ride.
“We will make them lifelong members of the gang,” noted Chip DeMann, head of the James-Younger re-enactment, “and give them a once in a lifetime experience they’ll never forget! If someone is more the law-and-order type, they can opt to be one of the defenders of the town and bank.”
“This is our first effort at crowdsourcing,” explained Lynn Vincent, co-chair. “It’s a way of using incentives to solicit contributions from a large group of people, and especially from the online community.”
Details about the other incentives for donors will be shared. Kick-off for the crowdsourcing is expected on May 11 on the Save the Northfield Depot website (www.northfielddepot.org).
The Defeat of Jesse James Days Committee is pleased to announce that the 2013 Joseph Lee Heywood Distinguished Service Award Recipient is Emily Schmitz.
Emily has been involved in many volunteer efforts in our Northfield ranging from St Dominic Church, the Northfield Hospital Board, the League of Women voters, and many programs at the Community Action Center. At the CAC Emily has one special program that is dear to her heart and has dedicated many years to, the Christmas Sharing Program. Serving as ambassador for the CAC, she has raised thousands of dollars for the remarkable holiday gift program.
Emily and her husband Peter and have lived in Northfield since 1968. They have two children Bill and Martha.
Emily is the 31st Recipient of this very prestigious award
Emily will be honored Wednesday September 4, 2013 at the Northfield Ballroom
The Defeat of Jesse James Days Heywood Nominating Committee is always looking for new possible candidates. Please send your name and phone number with your nominee’s name (must be a Northfield MN area resident) and their volunteer history to: Jeanne Schnobrich P.O. Box 23 Northfield, MN 55057
This year’s Ole and Lena Joke Night will take place Saturday, April 13, beginning at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30). The event will once again be at the Grand Event Center. Tickets are $10 in advance and can be purchased at the Northfield Historical Society. Due to high demand for tickets we are asking attendees to purchase their tickets in advance. Appetizers will be provided, and a cash bar will be open.
The gang of Ole, Lena and Tina are back for 90 minutes of fun filled “Norwegian” humor. The first half of the night will warm the crowd up for a some more extreme Ole and Lena jokes later in the evening. Audience participation will be encouraged throughout the evening, so come with your best Ole and Lena joke.
Here is a taste of what you’ll hear:
Ole and Sven are out deer hunting. Ole bags a buck. After they dress the deer and tag it, they grab it by its hind legs and start dragging it through the woods back to the car. A game warden happens on the pair and, after checking their tags and admiring the buck, tells them that they are dragging the deer out all wrong. By dragging it by the rear legs, the snow, leaves and dirt are getting caught by the animals fur, and the horns are getting all tangled in the brush. The warden suggests that they drag it by the front legs. They agree to try it and much to their surprise, it is much easier dragging the deer this way. After a half hour of this Sven turns to Ole and says, “Boy dat game warden was right, it sure is easier dragging de deer dis way, but ya know, we are getting further away from de car.”
Our Annual Meeting is this Saturday evening, March 23, at Carleton College’s Great Hall. Doors open at 6:00 p.m.; the program starts at 7 p.m. The event is free to all NHS members.
This year, NHS will honor retired Carleton College professor Robert Will for his ongoing support of NHS and Northfield history. Bob is a longtime member of the historical society and a past board member. He is also a past chair of Northfield’s Heritage Preservation Commission.
The evening’s featured speaker will be Cherif Keita, a professor of French at Carleton College. He will talk about his latest documentary film “Cemetery Stories: A Rebel Missionary in South Africa.” The film traces the involvement of Northfield native Ida Belle Wilcox and her husband, William, both missionaries, with the struggle against white rule in South Africa. It is a sequel to another Keita documentary, “Oberlin-Inanda,” which chronicles the life of John L. Dube, the first president of the South African Native National Congress. Dube was educated and mentored by Ida and William Wilcox in the early part of the 20th century.
Museum tours will be closed on Wednesday March 13 due to filming. NHS is going to be featured on the Travel Channel’s, Mysteries at the Museum. If you have any questions feel free to email or call us.
The Museum Store will be open all day.