Rebirth and Reflection: Glimpses of Spring in Northfield during the early Twentieth Century

by guest columnist Robert Coleman Spring is finally here! Well, at least according to the calendar. In Minnesota it can sometimes be a little difficult to tell. But before long, song birds will be returning, trees will be budding, and gardens will need tending. This year’s frigid winter will soon be only a distant memory as the last of the remaining snow melts away. Easter approaches, as do commencement celebrations and spring festivals such as May Day. Finally time to escape the homes we have been cooped up in all winter and pull out the...

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500 Unique Items from World War I Era Digitized

We at the Northfield History Collaborative (NHC), a digital library of historical records from the Northfield area, are pleased to announce that we have completed a grant-funded project to digitize historical materials that document the World War I era in Northfield and Rice County, Minnesota. The digitized materials come from many of the NHC’s 16 partner organizations and include text documents, photographs, illustrations, artifacts, and even sheet music. The new online collection shares the experiences of individuals from the...

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WWI Community Organizations

In my previous posts, I have highlighted some interesting archival documents that tell stories of Northfield experiences during World War I both at home and abroad. Today, I’ll provide more examples of community organizations that arose during and after the war. Entertainment at the home front was militarized for a short time during the war. You can see evidence of it in the formation of the Dundas Band and Military Company. Prior to 1917, the Dundas Military Company and the Dundas Brass Band existed separately. The two organizations...

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Defeat of Jesse James Days through the years

It’s that time of year again, when Northfield celebrates the defeat of the James-Younger Gang when they dared to rob the First National Bank! Over the years, the community has commemorated this event by hosting reenactments of the famous 7-minute street fight – many of which were photographed and included in the historic collections of our town. Here are some of the highlights: Also, somehow we got Tony Oliva of the Minnesota Twins to visit during DJJD in the 1980s, wear a cowboy hat, and pose with the re-enactors! Somebody get on...

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Items on exhibit at NHS

Items of the week: World War I artifacts Come to the Northfield Historical Society to see some of these World War I items in our latest exhibit – open until January 2018!

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The St. Olaf Victory Viking Yearbook

In the spring of 1919, St. Olaf College published an annual yearbook commemorating the classes of 1919, 1920, 1921, and the Freshmen. It was a special year for St. Olaf students, since many of them in these classes had participated in World War I service at home, on military bases, and in Europe. For this reason, the yearbook was dedicated to those who served in the cause of world freedom. They called it the Victory Viking. Hints of war service appear on many of the pages within this yearbook. Illustrations of tanks and ships appear below...

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