Susan Hvistendahl will do a book signing and presentation of her new book, Historic Happenings, at the Northfield Historical Society, 408 Division Street, on Thursday, January 15, starting at 6:30 pm. The book includes stories about the people, businesses and events that have made Northfield the special place it is today. These selected columns were originally published in The Entertainment Guide, which partnered with the Northfield Historical Society to publish the book in December.
There are inspiring stories of early merchant Hiram Scriver and John North, who founded the town in 1855 and soon established the Lyceum as a library, reading room and place for settlers to debate issues of the day. North’s ties to Abraham Lincoln are given, along with how North’s temperance policies led to an ax-wielding episode in 1858.
Tales of the Archer House (which opened in 1877), the 1899 openings of both the Ware Auditorium (now the Grand Event Center) and the Odd Fellows building (at the site of Three Links today) are included. 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 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 its match.
Above all, Hvistendahl commemorates the people of Northfield: Northfield News writer and editor 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, and 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 program on Jan. 15 will feature ballads written in honor of Maggie Lee and Wayne Eddy, led by lyricist Scott Richardson, with Randall Ferguson on guitar. The talents of Laura MacKenzie will also be showcased, with a special song for the late Dan Freeman. Refreshments will be provided.