The Pine Island Area Historical Society Celebrates Ten Years (1998 - 2008)

In May of 1998, a group of people interested in preserving the history of the Pine Island area gathered at the EDA office. The first meeting of the Pine Island Area Historical Society was held on September 12, 1998.

Cheryl Finnegan was instrumental in organizing this group. She not only presided over the meetings but helped to process the necessary paperwork for a non-profit organization.

After several years of meetings being held in the EDA office, churches and the school as well as storing our artifacts in different locations, our goal was accomplished. In 2005, we purchased the current History Center.

At this time we must acknowledge your participation in making this dream come true. We started a fund drive and many of you responded – whether it was $1, $5, $50 or whatever you could spare at the time, we most certainly appreciated every donation.

We must also express our appreciation to those that participated in our Naming Rights Program: Mary Iwen Lamp (Living Room/Iwen Room); children of Dr. Don and Patricia Dietz-Victoria, Christopher, Robert, Alex and Beth (Dining Room/Mellinger-Dietz Room); Jerry and Loraine Vettel (Kitchen/Vettel Room); Gilbert Williams (Front Porch/Williams Room); Hassler Family (Basement for Ag related displays/Hassler Room); Pine Island Volunteer Fire Department/City of Pine Island (second floor/Pine Island Room). Because of your generous donations our fund drive was fulfilled in the timeframe we had planned.

While we can not list all of the ways the Historical Society has been involved in the community the last ten years, the following will give you an idea of what’s been happening.

We are a member of the Minnesota State Historical Society and the Goodhue County History Center. As a member of the Goodhue County History Center we participate in the affiliate meetings which consists of representatives of our group meeting with members of other historical groups in Goodhue County on a regular basis.

We are also a member of the Pine Island Area Chamber of Commerce with non-profit status. Representatives of the Historical Society attend the monthly meetings and member, Loraine Vettel is currently serving as secretary of the Chamber. Since joining the Chamber we have participated in the annual progressive holiday lunch held at local businesses on the first Saturday in December. We decorate the History Center for the holidays; demonstrate the making of lefse; and serve lefse and gingerbread.

All work connected with the History Center is volunteer; however, we did hire the installation of the new windows and the removal of a very large hackberry tree to the south between the History Center and the neighbor’s house.

Several volunteer hours away from the History Center by officers of the Historical Society may go unnoticed but are necessary for the efficient operation of the Society: President-Loraine Vettel; Vice-President, Chris Dietz; Secretary, Doris Glamm; Treasurer, William Frame Sr.; and Directors Darleen Bjugan, Jerry Vettel, and Jackie Walter do many of their responsibilities in the convenience of their home. The Treasurer, with the help of Sandy Frame, spends considerable time keeping the financial records and memberships in order. Monthly meetings for all members, and anyone else interested, are held on the second Saturday of the month at 8:00 A.M. at the History Center.

We are proud of our website www.pineislandhistory.com. Jim and Pat Walter keep the information current along with the expertise of their son, Scott.

Many, many hours of volunteer work goes into the maintenance and operation of the Center. Jerry and Loraine Vettel spent most of January, February and March renovating the living room, dining room and doing some work in the pantry and kitchen. Jerry’s most recent challenge, with the assistance of Lyle Berg, was to remove old siding, repair deteriorated areas and install new siding on the north side of the house. We must acknowledge Tony Love, owner of the Olde Pine Theater (location of the Baptist Church for 30 years and prior to that the movie theater) for allowing his lift to be used while Jerry and Lyle worked on the siding Because of Jerry Vettel’s volunteer hours IBM granted the History Center a new computer.

Another project that takes many volunteer hours is our quarterly newsletter. The information in the newsletter comes from research and from our members and friends. It is compiled, edited and typed by Doris Glamm, proofread by other volunteers and taken to be copied. On the following Monday morning six members sit around the table, fold the newsletter, put them in to addressed envelopes and then it’s off to the Post Office. This process takes place each January, April, July and October.

Members that are available also work Monday mornings on organizing, cataloging, cleaning, etc.; host the Sunday open hours; work at events, and whatever else is necessary at the time. Our membership has grown significantly since 1998. We have had wonderful support and realize that many of our members live a distance away from Pine Island; however, our wish is to have more volunteers to help with the operation of the Center. Prospective volunteers will be trained and will work with another member. Many times those of us that are currently volunteering seem to get caught up in more hours than we have available - more help would be appreciated.

We were fortunate to get a new volunteer and friend in 2006. Pat Mapel answered a request we had received from Dave Grimsrud, owner of the News-Record. Mr. Grimsrud had offered to historical groups in the area the opportunity to put information and pictures in his paper once a month. Pat did a lot of research and spent hours putting together the history of the Pine Island area getting a different topic to the newspaper each month for a year.

In 2007, the group purchased Past Perfect, a computer program for museums. Doris Glamm attended a workshop on the use of this program and has been entering information into the computer. The program can handle very detailed information about each item and will provide a lot of research capabilities in the future.

One of the most valuable research aids at the History Center is the listing of news articles from 1882-2000 Pine Island Records. This listing was compiled by Roy Hoffman and consists of over 700 pages of single spaced entries. It lists the name of a person, the date, page, column of the newspaper article and a note indicating marriage, birth, death, etc. At this time, we do not have a copy of the news articles available but quite often the dates (month and year) help to determine when someone was born and/or died, etc. A person can go to the Van Horn Library in Pine Island to read the article; and/or go to Goodhue County History Center or Olmsted County History Center to get a copy of a news article.

The “Womens Christian Temperance Union Quilt” made in July of 1888 by women of Pine Island is a very valuable artifact. It is on loan from Sue Myers of Mundelein, Illinois. Sue received it from a family member and being interested in quilting herself, contacted a member of the Society. After some communication back and forth, Mrs. Myers delivered the quilt to the Pine Island Area History Center on her way to visit her sister in Eagan, Minnesota. Loraine Vettel has done research on each of the women named on the quilt.

More of the activities of the past ten years are: compiled and sold calendars with a different Pine Island related picture for each month starting in 2002 and continued in ’03, ’04, ’05, ’06, ’07, ’08. Also, sold Doc McKaig booklets compiled by Joyce Alberts Gustafson. The Security State Bank paid for the printing of 500 of these booklets and the Historical Society had another 200 printed. All proceeds from the sale of the Doc McKaig booklet goes to the Historical Society.

The City Council asked the Historical Society to coordinate the sesquicentennial events for Pine Island. It was a very busy year for members of the Society as we planned monthly programs; offered memorabilia for sale; hosted the first Cemetery Walk, a Garden Tour, a House Tour, etc.. We also put the history of Pine Island on to a DVD which is available at the History Center, Arel’s Flowers and the Van Horn Library for $10. We will mail a copy of the DVD for $10 plus $3 shipping and handling.

In 2008, we sponsored our 3rd Annual Cemetery Walk. The event is held at the Pine Island Cemetery with local men and women portraying people from Pine Island’s past.

This year we held our 10th Annual Ice Cream Social; first one held in 1999. The Socials were held at St. Paul Lutheran Church for several years; later held at the Creamery in conjunction with PAPA’s (Pine Area People for the Arts) summer band concert featuring the Polka Dots, a popular old-time dance band. Due to work being done on Main Street in 2007 the concert was held at the Pine Island Telephone Company.

We’ve participated in the City Wide Garage Sale each April since 2003. The first two years our sale was held in Vettel’s garage. When we rented the Collins-Glamm house (for one year-2004) we began having the sale on that property. Our items for sale have all been donated and all proceeds go to the Historical Society.

We are fortunate to have several talented quilters in our membership. Pat Walter, Ann Murray and Darleen Bjugan have been instrumental in organizing our annual Quilt Show, Raffle, and Silent Auction. They have also made our raffle items. Pat Walter made aprons to be worn by members working at various functions. The aprons are reversible with “Pine Island Area Historical Society” embroidered on each side.

We have also entertained several class reunions; held a luncheon and program for a Red Hat group; hosted several Boy and Girl Scout activities and meetings; given tours of the History Center to the 3rd graders from Pine Island School each year; helped with 3rd grade tours of Pine Island’s Main Street when the students are studying Pine Island; hosted Goodhue County Affiliate Meetings; held a Thrivent Work Day with the Boy Scouts helping with yard work at the History Center; etc.

One of the most unique and rewarding things we have done was to host the family and friends of the late Lucille Tome (Mrs. Don Tome) of Amery, Wisconsin. Mrs. Tome was buried in the Pine Island Cemetery on a Sunday afternoon and the family requested the use of the History Center after the service for a time to be together. Mr. Tome grew up in Pine Island and is a wealth of information that he shared with those of us working at that time.

A thank you goes out to Don Vang (wallpapering dining room); Roy Larson (staining new window frames); Gary Collins and Howard Glamm (building drawer unit for kitchen); Charles Rolbecki/Jerry Vettel (snow removal off of sidewalk); Jim Walter (mowing lawn)/David Friese (mowing lawn last year); Loraine Vettel (yardwork); Tom Jeanson (stump removal), etc. There are so many other people and volunteers that have not been recognized here and we apologize for not mentioning each and every one of you; however, you know what you’ve done – please, please accept our “thank you” at this time.

Members of the Pine Island Area Historical Society would like to encourage you to donate artifacts and information relative to the Pine Island area to the History Center. We also hope that you will continue to support our work financially.

While many members have done a lot of volunteer work and are more in the public eye, we could not have done it without all of you. Your participation in preserving the history of the Pine Island area has been in many ways. Thank you for allowing the Pine Island Area History Center to become a reality for all to share.

We believe “History Matters.”