History Month LogoThe Northfield Historical Society will open Northfield History Month with a screening of two documentaries at St. Olaf College on May 30. The celebration will end with a festive fireworks display on July 4.

In addition, local stores will display historic photos from the Save the Depot organization that document the rich history of the role of railroads in the area’s thriving agricultural businesses (grain, dairy, lumber) and industries (milling, cereal, milk products, machinery).

Nine of the 10 scheduled events are free and open to the public, including two days of free admission to the Northfield Historical Society museum:

May 30: Ytterboe the Dog and Across the Cannon
St. Olaf College, Buntrock Commons, Viking Theater at 10:30 a.m.Watch two documentaries  shown in conjunction with the college’s reunion weekend — one about the famous Ytterboe campus mascot and the other about the friendly rivalry between Carleton and St. Olaf.

May 31: Free admission to the Northfield Historical Society museum

June 5: “Grant Goes East and Meets Lee on the Battlefield”Grant Painting
Northfield Historical Society at 6:30 p.m.
This Civil War presentation by Jim Stark looks at the 1864 Battle of the Wilderness — the first Civil War meeting between generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee.

June 19: “A Beacon So Bright: The Life of Laurence McKinley Gould”
Northfield Historical Society at 6:30 p.m.
Listen to Carleton College Archivist Eric Hillemann talk about Carleton College’s fourth president. Even though some urged the polar explorer and geologist known as “Mr. Antarctica” to enter politics or even run NASA, Gould chose to devote his considerable talents toward furthering the fortunes of higher education while leading the college.

June 22:
Free admission to the Northfield Historical Society museum

June 26: “Northfield Wheels: An Automotive History” exhibit openingWheels Exhibit Photo
Northfield Historical Society at 6:30 p.m.
Learn about Northfield’s surprisingly rich automotive history over the last century — from car-building pioneers Fred Bates and the Fey brothers to the DeMann family and the countless businesses and organizations that proliferated in town with the advent of the automobile. Museum patrons also will be able to take in car show sponsored by the Sundowners Car Club along Division Street.

June 27: History Mystery Pub Crawl
Downtown Northfield, meet at Bridge Square at 6:30 p.m. for registration, tour starts at 7 p.m.
Explore some of Northfield’s most historic buildings while enjoying your favorite drink. Learn the history behind the Ebel Block (now Froggy Bottom’s), the Scofield Building (Rueb ‘N’ Stein), the Archer House (Upstairs Tavern), and the Old Northfield Fire Station (The Contented Cow). Cost is $25.

July 2: Books and Stars with the Fort Snelling History Players Band
Bridge Square; Booker opens at 6:30, performance at 7 p.m.
When the U.S. Army arrived at the junction of the Mississippi and St. Peter (now Minnesota) rivers it began a rich tradition of music at Fort Snelling. Army musicians performed official calls on the fife and drum as well as military marches and popular music of the day. At this Northfield Historical Society, Northfield Public Library and Friends of the Library joint event listen to costumed musicians discuss the role of music in the military and play selections that could have been heard at the fort while it was an active military post (1819–1946).

July 4: Vintage Baseball Game
Vintage Team
St. Olaf College below Old Main Hill at 1 p.m.
See baseball the way it was meant to be played when the Northfield Silver Stars take on the St. Croix Baseball 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.

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.


For more information about these events visit northfieldhistory.org or the Northfield History Month page.