This year marked Grant County’s Sesquicentennial (150 years). In recognition of this milestone, the Grant County Herald, aided by the Historical Society, published a commemorative booklet highlighting a variety of aspects of our history. Copies of these booklets are available at no cost at the Grant County Museum.
General Theodore Barrett was a key subject this year, beginning with a program by Gay Ekberg on his life and ranch for our annual meeting, then the play, General Barrett’s Last Battle co-produced by the Historical Society and the Prairie Wind Players theater group, and finally a temporary exhibit in the museum highlighting his life, accomplishments, and family.
In June, representatives of the Historical Society aided Gary Carlberg of the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) with a ceremony honoring John H. Parson. Parson, who died in 1935, was the last Union soldier to die in Grant County. He is buried in Union Cemetery, Elbow Lake.
We continue to add new information to the GCHS website. A map of each township along with a brief history of its organization, and showing where cemeteries and the old rural schools were located. We now have a searchable library of books and family histories in our collections that are housed on the new shelves installed in our office this year along with a couple of new cabinets.
Summer saw our usual activities, participating in local parades and the Grant County Fair. Our Oldies but Goodies fundraising sale, held during Elbow Lake’s Flekkefest, was our most successful in many years. There was a standing room only crowd at Merilyn Mau’s presentation on Life at Fort Pomme de Terre.
In October we hosted a book presentation by Carolyn Sowinski on her recently published book about victims of the Great Blizzard of January 7, 1873. It was interesting to hear how she researched each victim, especially the six victims from Grant County considering this occurred before the county was organized and there are no official county records dating back that far. Also, in October we held our 4th annual Night at the Museum. This is a fun event for families and Amy Benson again created a number of new props. Those unable to come during our Saturday evening event were able to explore the museum during Elbow Lake’s Trunk or Treat on Halloween.
Repairing the log cabin has taken much longer than anticipated. Log replacement was completed this summer and windows were replaced this fall. Chinking and interior painting will be done when temperatures warm next spring. The front windows of the school house were also replaced this summer.
In October, we welcomed Griffin Anderson to the museum as a Rural Minnesota CEP employee. Griffin has begun creating a database of Grant County businesses through the years, noting when new businesses started, ownership changes, and when businesses closed. He will be working on digitizing photographs and other projects.
Looking ahead to 2024 with more events to celebrate our Grant County heritage.