January 18 – “How Fur Traders Shaped Minnesota, Literally!” with Herb Reckinger Jr.

Herb Reckinger Jr. of the South Washington Heritage Society gives a talk about fur trading and the North West Company. Why does Minnesota’s northeastern border slant down? NWC was responsible for defining Minnesota’s current day border as well as exploration and settlement of Canada/northern parts of the United States. Additionally, Herb will give details on the fierce competition between NWC and their rivals, Hudson’s Bay Company.

October 27 – “The World’s Greatest Show”: The Ringling Brothers Story with curator Jennifer Cronk

Lions, tigers, bears, and…Washington County? Find out what the connection is between the St. Croix Valley and the big top with a presentation by Jennifer Cronk, curator of Circus World in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Sons of an itinerant harness maker, the Ringling Bros. learned a lot about perseverance during their childhoods in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. They developed a love of entertaining and ambitiously formed a circus in 1884. Learn how self-discipline and determination helped the Ringling Bros. succeed beyond their wildest dreams while bringing The World’s Greatest Show to the masses. Cover photo credit: Circus World Museum/Wisconsin Historical Society

October 4 – Minnesota’s Headline Murders! 1900-1919 with Patrick L. Shannon Part 2

Author Patrick L. Shannon is BACK with more the juicy details on the most famous murders in Minnesota via his book “Minnesota’s Headline Murders! 1900-1919.”

September 7 – Schaar’s Bluff County Park and Geological History of Washington County with Herb Reckinger

Herb Reckinger, Jr. from the South Washington Heritage Society presented on the history of Schaar’s Bluff County Park (located in Dakota County west of Hastings). Reckinger has done impressive research on the geological elements that characterize the area. What does Schaar’s Bluff have to do with us? Everything! From the park overlook, there is one of the finest views from that end of Washington County- the Mississippi River, Spring Lake, Cottage Grove and the Grey Cloud Islands. Remember- the bedrock is the same in all parts of our county. We have many fine features that are not repeated elsewhere. Herb presented on the Mississippi River Commission maps of the 1890s, the bedrock geology of our area, and the glaciers that made all of this happen. Questions? Herb can be reached at nreckinger@msn.com

August 24 – Minnesota’s Golden Age of Wrestling Part 2 with George Schire

Author and wrestling historian George Schire is BACK with more Minnesota wrestling stories! New topics are covered, and be sure to check out his first video as well on our page.

August 9 – “The Last Bookseller” with Gary Goodman

Gary Goodman has been a used and rare book dealer in Minnesota for nearly forty years. He co-founded St. Croix Antiquarian Booksellers and the Stillwater Book Center in Stillwater, Minnesota–a town that became known as the First Booktown in North America in the mid-1990s. He is the co-author of The Stillwater Booktown Times and The Secret History of Golf in Scotland.

Learn more at Gary’s website: https://thelastbookseller.com/

August 2 – “In the Beginning there was a Chapel” with Mark Labine

June 28 – Minnesota in the Minors with Stew Thornley and Taylor Simons

Baseball historian and author Stew Thornley discussed his brand-new book “Minor Treasures: Diamond Gems from the Glory Days of Minnesota Baseball.” Co-author and collector Taylor Simons presented pieces from his extensive collection of Minnesota Minor League Baseball memorabilia.

June 22 – “French Fur Trade” with Greg Cash

Greg Cash discussed the French Fur Trade in Minnesota, from the arrival of Médard Chouart des Groseilliers and Pierre Esprit Radisson in Minnesota in the mid-1600s to the establishment of la Compagnie de la Baie d’Hudson (Hudson’s Bay Company) in 1670 and la Compagnie Nord-Ouest (Northwest Company) in 1789 to the building of Fort Snelling and creation of the Indian agency to control the region’s fur trade in the early 1800s and the establishment of the American Fur Company which controlled regional trading in furs by 1823. Greg Cash is on the French American Heritage Foundation of Minnesota board of directors.

June 2 – Bison Reintroduction program at Belwin Conservancy with Lynette Anderson

Interpretive Naturalist/Restoration Specialist Lynette Anderson from Belwin Conservancy speaks on the bison reintroduction program at Belwin.

At Belwin Conservancy, American bison (Bison bison) play an important role in the health of the prairie. Since 2008, a herd of juvenile males from Northstar Bison has taken up summer residence at one of our tallgrass prairie restorations. Their presence has been transformative.

Today, the balance and abundance of wildlife, grasses, and flowers on Belwin’s bison prairie is second to none, thanks to this majestic creature. Belwin Restoration Specialist Lynette Anderson explains: “their grazing patterns promote the growth of different flowers, which brings in different insects, which bring in different birds, and so on and so forth. And that’s the importance of disturbance on a prairie: to keep this vital, dynamic, beautiful habitat going.” – Belwin Conservatory

May 24 – The Forest for the Trees: How Humans Shaped the North Woods with Jeff Forester

Forests have changed a lot due to human activity dating back thousands of years. Author Jeff Forester presents on the effects that fire (natural and prescribed) has had on Minnesota forests throughout history.

May 10 – Textile conservation and mounting the costume gallery at the Washington County Heritage Center with Jennifer L. Cruise

What is conservation? What do textile conservators do? The founder and director of Textilis Conservation Jennifer L. Cruise, Ph.D., M.A. Cons does a talk and gallery chat about her textile work at the Heritage Center. The beautifully dressed mannequins in the “The Sixties: Fashion & The Frontier” exhibit is Jennifer’s work!

April 27 – Red River Métis with Fritz Anderson

Fritz Anderson presents on the Red River Métis. Anderson writes, “The Red River Métis is a community of the Minnesota’s early settlers of Minnesota that came from the OTHER direction of many settlers of the day. Early Minnesotan history had many settlers that came from the Northwest, rather than the East.  This intriguing group came from the Red River Valley of northwestern Minnesota and what is now Southern Manitoba.  The Métis were an entirely new society that were of Native and White ancestry but subscribed to being neither. A new people that were distinctive in American history as being the only example of a new culture with a unique language and strong social identity that arose from a combination of many peoples.”

April 20 – “A Bag for a Pony: The Art of the Ojibwe Bandolier Bag” with Marcia G. Anderson

Marcia G. Anderson presents on her book, “A Bag Worth a Pony: The Art of the Ojibwe Bandolier Bag.” Bandolier bags, or gashkibidaaganag—the large, heavily beaded shoulder bags made and worn by several North American Indian tribes around the Great Lakes—are prized cultural icons here and around the world. From the 1870s to the present day, Ojibwe bead artists of Minnesota have been especially well known for their lively, creative designs. Neighboring Dakota people would trade a pony for a beautiful beaded bag.

April 5 – “Ambulance Man” with Brian Casey

Author Brian Casey presents on his book “Ambulance Man,” a memoir about his career as a paramedic and EMT, including his time working in Stillwater. “A behind-the-scenes ride that is sometimes funny, sometimes frightening, but always heartfelt.”

For more information, visit AmbulanceManBook.com

March 29 – “Minnesota’s Golden Age of Wrestling: From Verne Gagne to the Road Warriors” with George Schire

Author and wrestling expert George Schire led a rousing discussion about Minnesota’s most famous wrestlers from Verne Gagne and the Road Warriors.

March 22 – “Minnesota’s Headline Murders! 1900-1919” with Patrick L. Shannon

Author Patrick L. Shannon tells all the juicy details on the most famous murders in Minnesota via his book “Minnesota’s Headline Murders! 1900-1919.”

February 15 – ““Shanty Boys: The Lumbermen of the Upper Midwest 1830-1940” with Author Ryan Gale and Musician Brian Miller

*The beginning of the video is slightly cut off. Apologies for the inconvenience.

Author Ryan Gale discussed everything from logs to legacies in a presentation on his brand-new book, Shanty Boys: The Lumbermen of the Upper Midwest 1830-1940. Additionally, musician Brian Miller performed lumberjack songs and the history behind the tunes.

February 8 – Brent Peterson on Bud Fowler and the 1884 Stillwater Baseball Team

WCHS Executive Director Brent Peterson presented on legendary baseball pitcher Bud Fowler and 1884 Stillwater Baseball team.

The slides are difficult to see on the video recording. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please view the slides at the link below. 

Presentation Slides:
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