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Historical societies, history centers open for summer

History buffs can learn a thing or two about west central Minnesota by visiting historical centers in Kandiyohi County.

Big occasion
The Kandiyohi County Museum is one of many destinations for history-minded folks looking for summer activities.
Gary Miller / West Central Tribune file photo
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History buffs can learn a thing or two about west central Minnesota by visiting historical centers in Kandiyohi County.

The Kandiyohi County Historical Center in Willmar is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Memorial Day through Labor Day.

The center, on North Business Highway 71, features a museum, a one-room school, a log shed and a Great Northern locomotive; admission $3, ages 12 and up.

The Sperry House, built by Willmar pioneers in 1893, will offer guided tours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays through Labor Day, $3 per person, pre-registration required. Open by appointment during the week.

The Guri Endreson site, located on County Road 5, with a field road gate open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Guided tours available by appointment.

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Tourists may pick up maps of historical sites at the Center. For more information or to pre-register, call 320-235-1881, email kandhist@msn.com or check the Facebook page at @kandihistory.

Atwater Area Historical Society and Museum, 500 Pleasant Avenue West, is open 10 a.m. to noon, Saturdays or by appointment; call Jon at 320-444-0337.

The Norway Lake Log Church is a replica of the first church in the Northwestern part of the County and is located west of New London off of County Road 40 on 99th St. N.W. It is open from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturdays, June 18, July 9 through Aug. 13, with a Vespers service at 7:15 p.m. The church, interpretive center and Knutson cabin are open by appointment for private tours by calling 320-905-1539. Everyone is welcome.

The annual celebration is planned for Aug. 21; website is www.nllha.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nllha.org

Raptor Ridge Natural History Museum is located at 212050 Co. Rd. 40 NE in Spicer. Call 320-354-8820 for hours. The museum features collections of butterflies, seashells, rocks, minerals, Indian artifacts and dinosaur bones collected by Larry and Barb Levin. Admission is free.

112721.N.WCT.HolidayEvents.001.jpg
The Historic Chippewa City in Montevideo is a re-creation of a late 1800s-era village, complete with town square and boardwalk as well as a centrally located bandstand/gazebo. Its 24 buildings cover 20 acres and include a church, schoolhouse, blacksmith shop, general store, millinery and dress shop and buggy shop.
Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune file photo

Regional touches of history

For a glimpse of regional history, travel to Litchfield to experience the Meeker County Museum at the G.A.R Hall, 308 Marshall Ave. N. near Central Park. The Frank Daggett Post No. 35 was constructed in 1885 by veterans of the Civil War, and is the last remaining Hall of its kind in Minnesota and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Attached to the rear is the Meeker County Museum & Research Library, which includes two floors worth of exhibits highlighting Meeker County's origins, love of music, participation in world wars, country schools, and much more. Both the museum and the G.A.R. Hall are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $3 for adults and free for children under 12. Call 320-693-8911.

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Milwaukee Road Heritage Center, 301 State Road, Montevideo. Open for tours 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, June 18 through Sept. 4. Website is www.montevideomrhc.org/

Paynesville Historical Museum, 251 Ampe Drive, Paynesville. Exhibits include Indian artifacts, personal and household items from the 1860s to 1970s, agri-culture, and a one-room schoolhouse. The museum is open June 1 through Labor Day, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

The Chippewa County Historical Society’s centers include Chippewa City, Swensson Farm Museum and Lac qui Parle Mission. For information about them or to schedule an appointment out of regular hours, call 320-269-7636 or visit www.chippewacohistory.org.

Chippewa City, 151 Pioneer Drive, Montevideo, is a re-creation of a late 1800s-era village, complete with town square and boardwalk as well as a centrally located bandstand/gazebo. Its 24 buildings cover 20 acres and include a church, schoolhouse, blacksmith shop, general store, millinery and dress shop and buggy shop.

The city is open May 29 through Sept. 5. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays; Sept. 6-30 the city is open weekdays only; adults $5, students $2, 5 and under are free.

The Olof Swensson Farm Museum, a 17-acre farmstead located six miles east of Montevideo on state Highway 7 and five miles south on County Road 15, preserves turn-of-the-century farm life and features a 22-room house, timber-frame barn and the remains of a gristmill. The farm is open from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, May 28 through Sept. 4; adults $5, students $2, 5 and under are free. A horse power show is held at the farm the second Saturday in September from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Private tours available by appointment.

The Lac qui Parle Mission was the Minnesota Territory’s first Protestant mission and is one of the few remaining in the state. The reconstructed building houses exhibits of the missionaries and their work; the Dakota people; and Joseph Renville, who invited the missionaries to Lac qui Parle. Mission Sunday is the second Sunday in July beginning with a worship service at 10:30 a.m., potluck picnic and afternoon program.

The site is located north of Montevideo on County Road 13 and is open daily through Labor Day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; free admission.

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The Minnesota Machinery Museum in Hanley Falls is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. The website is www.mnmachinerymuseum.com/

The world’s largest ball of twine can be found in Darwin City Park. Francis A. Johnson started collecting twine in 1950. Eventually the ball on his front lawn grew so large it had to be moved with railroad jacks. It was recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1979, weighing 8.7 tons and measuring 11 feet high and 40 feet around.

Donna Middleton started working at the West Central Tribune in 1975 and has been the news assistant since 1992. She compiles the arts, health, farm and community page calendars, as well as rewrites and works on the special sections.
She can be contacted at dmiddleton@wctrib.com or phone 320-214-4341.
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