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Historical Society prepping for semi-annual meeting

The Wadena County Historical Society will hold its semi-annual meeting and program at the American Legion Post 456 in Sebeka at 100 Frontage Road on Thursday, April 19 at 7 p.m.

If you'd like to grab a dollar hamburger around 5:30 or 6 p.m. before the meeting, stop in and join those who wish to do so. There is always a good crowd looking to fellowship with each other before the meeting/program.

The meeting is free and open to the public - everyone is welcome. The meeting will be first and organizers will introduce to you the new executive director/curator who will be replacing Sandi Pratt who plans to retire. Pratt also wishes to talk about the new exhibits she completed in the last few months with the help of her husband Barry and volunteer friend Chuck Matthes and the new windows completed by Signs and Designs which were possible from a $500 donation by the Wadena High School Class of 1961. If you get a chance stop in and see the new Railroad, Courthouse, Creamery room and see for yourself the new windows, which include the Wadena Depot. The Depot burned in 1915 because the townspeople were standing on the hose in hopes of having a new depot built. The Sebeka Depot, complete with horses and their dray wagons and a model T truck are also part of the exhibit, plus the Verndale Depot has a passenger train stopping to pick up passengers. You can also find a picture painted by Rose Edin of the Staples Depot and a train stopping at that depot. Gordy Aagard brought out five train pictures that were originally owned by Irja Hanson and were at the dismantled Sunnybrook Depot display which have been incorporated in the WCHS Railroad room. Chuck Matthes made some decorative shelves for exhibits. Sandi Pratt purchased a train village set from the Warren Hartman auction which is in the display cabinet along with Bob Zosel's childhood cast iron train and some rail cars, a signal stand and tracks that belonged to Loren Mosman. Mosman also made a wood train which has been installed as a train border in the room. Joyce Arndt painted a mural of a steam locomotive (passing through Wadena) heading towards the Aldrich Depot designed by Pratt and constructed by Matthes and Barry Pratt and made possible from the wood of the Aldrich Depot and tin rippled shingles which where on the land of Don and Helen Fultz farm near Verndale. Barry Pratt hung a magneto phone in the depot donated by Loren Mosman.

Julie Snyder from Signs and Designs installed pictures behind the door and window of the Vintage House in the Stitchin' Post/Nationalities Room. Behind the door is Irma Van Dyke and behind the windows are the Anderson girls. These pictures came from Irma Van Dyke's mother's photo album as a Christmas present to Irma which photos encompass the years of 1914 to 1917. If anyone has any information on these women, please call Sandi Pratt at the historical society (218) 631-9079.

The Military Hall of Fame is still under construction. Pratt wants to put military history and military photos above the respective military uniforms. She says they have around 17 uniforms in the Military Hall of Fame at present and could change out uniforms each year for three years. The Military Room has been updated with a helicopter, tank window done by Signs & Designs through a grant and three marble base display cases with acrylic tops in order to display artifacts which were possible through the Browne Foundation. Also a cabinet built in the window by Oscar Andrews to display military artifacts and possible through a grant.

All rooms have now been labeled by the use of wood arrows pointing into each room. Pratt thought arrows were appropriate labels because the town is called Wadena - the Ojibwe name of Chief Wadena. Chuck Matthes made the wood arrows and Signs and Designs made the lettering for the arrows. These were also paid for by the Class of 1961.

After the Wadena County Historical Society semi-annual meeting we will introduce Lawrence "Larry" Denny who will be in charge of the program which will include a program titled "Riding The Rails." The lessons learned by this "forgotten" generation of American's children who rode the rails in search of a better life are a powerful reminder of what might turn up around the next curve. They are an inspiration to all who share a nostalgia for the road and the freedoms sought there. Denny will be showing a 55 minute video "Riding The Rails."

Following the meeting and the program, the Sebeka Historical Society will be serving beverages and treats and the American Legion will provide coffee.