St. Paul’s Church Service this Sunday

The public is invited to attend the annual church service at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on the grounds of the Pope County Museum Sunday at 10:00 am. The congregation of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Alexandria will be using the historic prayer books and hymnals that were in use when St. Paul’s had an active congregation. This is an annual event for Emmanuel, and by holding the yearly service, the church remains consecrated.

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Archaeology in Pope County

IMG_2611It has been an exciting couple of weeks here in Pope County. Archaeologists from the Department of Natural Resources and Minnesota Historical Society have been conducting a dig at the DNR office site. The DNR will be constructing a new office, and the archaeologists are digging at the site before construction begins next month.


This is the first archaeological dig in Pope County that is not a burial site, but rather a camp site.IMG_2608

They are finding potsherds from both woodland and prairie cultures, bones (discarded from meals), flakes of stone created in the making of arrowheads & spear points, and intriguing pieces such as a clay pipe stem and a bear claw.

All the artifacts will be cleaned, analyzed and cataloged over the winter.

IMG_2614The public is invited to stop out and visit them at the dig site on the hill above the trout ponds at the fish hatchery on North Lakeshore Drive. It is a rare opportunity for us all to learn more about the people who lived here before white settlement.

The team has been very gracious in sharing information with us here at the museum about the tools and pottery fragments in our own collection.

Here are a just few pieces they identified for us:

Brainerd ware fragment. Minnesota's earliest pottery. There is much debate about its age, but possibly from 1000 BCE (BC) - 400 CE (AD).

Brainerd ware fragment. Minnesota’s earliest pottery. There is much debate about its age, but possibly from 1000 BCE (BC) – 400 CE (AD).


Plains Village pottery fragments.

Plains Village pottery fragments probably from 1-1300 CE (AD).

Pecked stone maul head. The groove was made by striking this stone with another.

Pecked stone maul head. The groove was made by striking this stone with another. This was found in Barsness Park.

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Johnson Studio, Brooten

Our archivist, Brent Gulsvig, is excited about a new acquisition at PCHS.  Early photographs always capture our attention.  Today’s delivery from John Bohmer was six boxes of glass negatives from the E.A. Johnson Studio.  Mr. Bohmer also has Johnson’s camera and other studio equipment.  Ed Johnson purchased the Martin Nelson photo studio in Brooten in 1910.  This was the height of the glass negative era of photography.

“Silver gelatin dry plate negatives replaced wet collodion negatives in the late 1880s and remained in use until the 1920s. Dry plate negatives were more convenient for photographers because they could purchase prepared plates from manufacturers in standard sizes.”  L. Wood, Curator for Visual Resources, Ohio Historical Society.

Mr. Bohmer wrote about Ed Johnson in his book, Brooten Characters of the Last Millennium. “In 1913 he [Johnson] expanded his business and made regular trips to Belgrade every Sunday.”  Bohmer adds that Johnson commuted by train to take portraits as far west as Hoffman.  “Ed was a republican through and through, and would argue with anyone about politics.  One day a local man was bugging Ed about politics as they walked down the street, so Ed said ‘I turned around and hit him in the nose and down he went, then I walked away and looked back and there he laid, that damned democrat!’”

We are excited to see the images from this studio collection.  Our plan is to scan the negatives and create digital “positive” images.  Mr. Bohmer is curious to see who he may recognize.  Our preliminary view of the boxes does not include identifications.  With John’s help we hope to change that.IMG_20150731_JohnsonNegProject IMG_20150731_JohnsonPortaitStoller IMG_20150731_JohnsonPortrait IMG_20150731_JohnsonPortraitMuffs IMG_20150731_JohnsonNegBox

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Extending a Warm Invitation to our Quilt Event


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Earliest Glenwood Photographs

In 1853, Isaac Stevens conducted an expedition for the Northern Pacific Railway. He wrote the following in his journal and the attached sketch has survived:

Sketch of White Bear Lake (Minnewaska) from 1853.

Sketch of White Bear Lake (Minnewaska) from 1853.

June 22. – My party broke camp about 6 a.m.  The first obstruction we met in our journey today occurred about three and a half miles from camp, which, our guides inform us, is a branch of Crow river.  One more swift, narrow, but deep stream occurs before reaching White Bear lake, offering some impediment to our progress.  By the application of personal force this difficulty was overcome without lightening the loads or even doubling teams.  We arrived at White Bear lake about nine an a half miles from this morning’s camp, at 10 ¼ a.m.
Leaving Lightning lake the country seems to change its character and is no longer a flat undiversified surface, with occasionally a gentle undulation scarcely attracting attention.  It has gradually changed to a heavy rolling prairie which, before approaching White Bear lake, becomes broken up into hills, valleys, and basins, varying from thirty to fifty feet in depth.  Boulders and stone, from the size of pebbles to paving stones, are very numerous.  Our route today appears to be gradually ascending, at a probable rate of from eight to ten feet per mile. 
White Bear lake, (see accompanying sketch,) upon or near which most of the parties of the survey are encamped, lies in sight of our trail, about two miles distant to the south.  It is a beautiful sheet of water, bordered with timber, about fourteen miles long and two miles wide, with high, swelling banks running back a mile or so, and rising to the height of about one hundred and fifty feet.

In 1869, executives from the Northern Pacific Railway embarked on an survey to examine possible routes for the railroad. They returned with these images of 3-year-old Glenwood:

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Glenwood 1869

1869 Survey team with Glenwood in the background.

1869 Survey team with Glenwood in the background.

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The Babies Hatched!

006For the past several weeks, we have been watching a pair of Killdeer and their nest with 4 eggs. The speckled eggs matched the stones on the ground almost exactly. The nest is hard to spot, even when you know where to look.

Brent placed a flag out near the nest and we have warned visitors to stay clear of the area.

The parents make such a commotion when anyone gets near the nest. They flop on the 005ground and squeak, acting like they are wounded in an attempt to draw the predator (in this case – me) toward them and away from the nest.

Today, after opening the outside buildings for visitors, Brent announced that the babies had hatched, so I ran out to snap a picture.

The little birds lay perfectly still in the nest. They never moved or made a sound while their parents made a racket, trying to draw me away. I quickly left them alone.



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Even Earlier Glenwood photos

Trenham ZA - LabelsThis image of Glenwood was found in the box with the Trenham photos. As I was researching the other images, I assumed this one was also from 1876. I was feeling pretty smart and able to identify the buildings. But, board member David Lent had sharper eyes than anyone else and pointed out that in this picture, the Fremad building had no porch!

He was absolutley right, so we blew the image up and examined it closely. Not only did the Fremad store have no porch, but the Fountain House was still standing! We didn’t believe that any images of the Fountain House existed! That hotel burnt down in February of 1875, so this picture had to be from at least 1874.

Trenham C - Labels

A similar view from 1876.

We can see the Lathrop office under construction and several sod buildings in use. The sod buildings are barely visible in the Trenham photos as they are falling down from disuse.

In all the early pictures, it is striking to me how few trees there are. There were a few wooded patches near the lake and on the bluffs, but early Glenwood was nearly completely void of trees.

Excitement about dating this image led me on a search to find earlier images of Glenwood. Tune in next week to see the very earliest photos I can find.

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