Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Zumbrota Area Historical Society

As we drove Highway 52 toward Zumbrota yesterday afternoon to do a 7:00 PM Farm Heritage Show, we enjoyed the colors of the leaves and the fields.

Most of the fields of corn and beans had been harvested, while others appeared as a patchwork of colors on a hillside where corn was either standing or harvested alongside a field striped with bright green alfalfa.
Nature is exciting, but it's always a treat to see a vintage man-made item. As this mobile toolbox passed us, Nancy tried to get a shot. I would've liked to see it up-close.
As we slowed down when we entered Zumbrota,
 Nancy took a quick photo of the town's famous covered bridge.

 Later that evening, after I had finished my hour-long Farm Heritage Program, we talked to a number of members of the Zumbrota Area Historical Society during a break for coffee and sweets. As I packed up the equipment and signed books, Board Member Paul Kalass told Nancy an interesting story that his father had told him about the bridge. 
During the days when the bridge was in constant use by horse-drawn vehicles, city employees would regularly haul snow on the bridge, ensuring ample snow pack for the sleighs to be pulled easily by horses. However, as motorized vehicles became more popular, city residents preferred to keep the road under the bridge dry, making it very difficult for horses to pull a sleigh over the bare road.

This is the kind of factual story one does not usually hear unless you talk to people who were either there or heard it directly from someone who was there. My point is simply this: as tourists, many of us drive hundreds and even thousands of miles to visit interesting places that are popular and nationally known. I do not suggest that anyone quit doing that, but I am suggesting that we pull our vehicle off the freeway and check out the many, many interesting museums and historical places in small towns throughout the United States and especially those in towns nearby.

 In the past several years Nancy and I have been guests at many museums and historical societies where I was honored to speak and where we were able to spend time viewing the museum's collection of antiques and visiting with members. The dedication of the members to preserving their heritage is striking. As volunteers they work hard to maintain buildings and programs for the public to enjoy. I urge you to stop by to attend their programs and view their collections. If you like what you see, give a small (or large) donation or volunteer to help. You will be glad you did.
But where should you start?
Well, try starting where I did...for a list of the museums where I've done my Farm Heritage Programs, click on my website in the upper right corner of the first page of this entry. Got to the event tab and click on "past events."
I think you'll enjoy visiting these places.

The entry of the Zumbrota Area Historical Society. 

The building is the city's beautifully restored fire hall.

Nancy's Farm Heritage Photo Display.
Secretary of ZAHS Karen Brooks introduces me.
Audience member seemed to relate to every piece of farm heritage I threw at them.
It made for a fun evening.
 Lots of farm tools were on display, but this one brought back a memory of how Dad drilled through oak with a hand brace and bit. This hand drill press would've been a real boon to him.

Thanks to all the members of the ZAHS for making Nancy and me feel welcome. We enjoyed our visit with you all.
Special thanks to Karen Brooks for arranging our visit and to all the members who visited with us and purchased books. We hope you enjoy them and pass them on to future generations.

Photographs by Nancy A. Fredrickson

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