What’s Cooking?

After indulging over the holidays, it seems that each January we pledge to exercise more and eat healthier.  Cookbooks are the go-to resource for the “eating-better” part of that new commitment.  But did you ever wonder about where these marvels of gastric chemistry originated?

Prior to the 1750s, cookbooks were written by chefs for chefs.  Many families had their own “note [cook] books”, that included recipes not only for food, but also for medicinals (think headache cures) and cleaners (such as shoe polish). The first cookbook for housewives was published in England in 1757.  It consisted of artistic recipes designed to help homemakers create fancy meals.

America’s first cookbook, American Cookery, was written in 1796 by Amelia Simmons.  Many of the book’s recipes called for distinctly American ingredients such as pumpkin and corn.

In 1845 Eliza Acton wrote Modern Cookery for Private Families, and was the first cookbook to list ingredient quantities and cooking times.  In addition to recipes, Acton’s book included information for women about morals and etiquette.

Fannie Merritt Farmer is credited with creating the modern cookbook.  Farmer attended and later taught at the Boston Cooking School.  In 1896 she wrote Boston Cooking School Cook Book.  Using scientific methods, her recipes were the first to give precise measurements and instructions.  She also established the practice, still used today, of writing a recipe by first listing the ingredients and their amounts and then writing out precise instructions for preparing the dish.

So, the next time you use a cookbook, think of its long history and all the trial and error that went into creating the yummy recipes.  Happy Cooking!


Why is the New Year in January?

If you have ever wondered why the New Year starts in the freezing cold of January, you can thank Caesar. That’s right, Julius Caesar, leader of the Roman Empire. Before Caesar took power the length of a year was somewhat subjective. Politicians in Rome might add days, or subtract days to increase terms in the Senate; and it was based around the phases of the moon, but kept falling out of line with the seasons. Enter Caesar, who sought to set the calendar into a more predictable cycle, except he did so starting most of the way through the year, 45 B.C.E. As such, the Julian calendar began on January 1st instead of in March as was tradition.

hail caesar

By the time of the Middle Ages, the holiday had fallen into obscurity. Everyone knew the year started on January 1st, but the celebration of it went unobserved. The reason was because January 1st kept moving. Caesar did not calculate that a year is about 365.24 days long; instead he calculated at 365.25. After about a thousand years of adding a few minutes every year the calendar ended up having 376 days and kept adding. So in 1582 the Gregorian calendar came along and instituted the idea of the leap year to balance things back out. Since then, the first has been consistent, and thus people began to celebrate the New Year with regularity.

Happy New Year for all of us at the SCHS!

Written by Dave Nichols, Curator of Collections2016-december-31-fireworks-10967

A Window to the Past

The Scott County Historical Society gathers and preserves all manner of items and materials from around the county. Among them are archival materials, letter, business records, cards, brochures, etc. As a new year approaches this seems like a good time to promote our wonderful archive. While currently many of these items are not up online to be searched, we will be starting to add them to our online database on our website soon.

Our archive is ever growing and full of wonderful materials. If you are interested in genealogy, maybe see if we have photographs, old deeds, we might have a diploma from a great grandparent, or a letter they wrote to family overseas. While we work to make our archive more accessible to the public, know that it is a resource available to you. If you are curious what we have, or if you are looking for something particular, contact us and we can do some quick searches.book-shelves-bookcase-books-926680

Archives are instrumental in research and preservation. Documents, photographs, even oral histories are all stored in our archive to be used as tool in their searches through history. On that point, we would also like to encourage you think twice before deleting old emails, or tossing out letter or pamphlets you get. While those items might not have a use to you anymore, we might be able to use them as a snapshot of life and times today. It is important that we remember that we are living history right this moment, and we must share, collect, and preserve today as much as do yesterday.


Surviving the Elements

A Life Changing Storm

In various settlements throughout what became Scott County, the Dakota witnessed all types of weather during their hundred years in the Minnesota River Valley.  Samuel Pond, a missionary to the Dakota who lived among Chief Shakpe’s band in the 1830s, described the near-death experience of a Dakota acquaintance.  Cloud Man, chief of a village on Lake Calhoun (Bde Maka Ska), told Pond of being caught in a blizzard while hunting on the plains near the Missouri River.  He and his companions pulled blankets over themselves and lay down where they were, letting the snow cover them in cold, but protective pockets to wait out the storm.  To his surprise, Cloud Man and each of his companions emerged the next day alive, though weak from cold.  During his confinement in his little bubble of snow, Cloud Man thought about farming, a controversial occupation for the Dakota, who were primarily hunters.  After the storm, he did indeed begin one of the first Dakota agricultural settlements on Lake Calhoun, an experimental village known as “Eatonville.”[i]

Early Settlers & Weather Worries

Scott County received an influx of settlers after the 1851 treaties with the Dakota that opened the land to settlement.  One of the earliest pioneers to the Shakopee area, Moses Titus, described the first lonely winter of the few settlers who arrived almost before the ink on the treaties was dry:

“The winter was long, and cold, no news, no festivities, no pleasures, parties, no dancing (unless to warm freezing toes), and no papers from St. Paul or Ft. Snelling…Our town proprietor [Thomas A. Holmes] did not starve, his Indian friends brought him plenty of venison; potatoes were to be had at the old Mission site (S.W. Pond’s) and towards spring our heroes in their rambles captured a large bear.  This was rare sport, and furnished them with food, and fun, for a full month.”

As Minnesota opened to European settlement, it was “pitched” to eager pioneers in various ways.  Some writers tried to counter rumors of a harsh environment.  Others proclaimed the vigor and “robustness” gained from the cold, dry climate.  Writing in 1853, Wesley Bond strongly put forward the case for a stalwart northern temperament among the settlers: “To begin with, if you are of that incorrigible class of persons who have taken it into their brains that no part of this great globe is habitable, by reason of the cold, to a higher degree of latitude than about forty degrees north, we have no use for you.”[iii]


“A Glorious Old Storm”

March of 1899 saw a major snowfall in Shakopee.  A photograph from the time shows C.J. Strunk looking over his shoveling work in front of the businesses along First Street.  In front of Strunk a hitching post is dwarfed by a pile of snow.  The photograph tells us something of winter weather gear at the turn of the century.  Only one person in the picture is wearing what we would think of today as a winter jacket—the man at the right in the fur coat and hat.  The rest have ventured out to shovel in coats and ties (though it could be that it was not all that cold that March).  Another photograph taken just after the storm shows the snow removal system in 1899—two men with a horse-drawn wagon who haul the snow away.  The Argus dismissed what looks from the photographs to have been a major storm, saying, “Wasn’t that a glorious old storm we had Saturday night and Sunday?  There is no scarcity of snow here at this writing.”[iv]


The Armistice Day Blizzard

Even with the modern conveniences of heating, electricity, and automobiles, severe weather still wreaked havoc in Scott County in the 1940s.  November 11 was Armistice Day, a day marking peace at the end of World War I.  But in 1940, on the verge of another World War, the day was anything but peaceful.  Fine fall weather turned abruptly into a hard-freezing rain that coated the streets.  By mid-morning the snow was falling, as well as the temperature, and by midday the blizzard was in full force.  Local papers describe the escalating dangers of “tornadic winds” and “15-foot drifts.”  Motorists were apparently taken by surprise and had to abandon their cars as the roads became impassable.  The only human deaths in Scott County were two Minneapolis men who stayed in their car near Belle Plaine to wait out the storm.  One of them wrote to his girlfriend to pass the time, telling her he was quite comfortable in the heated car, and had even taken off his shoes.  Snow piled up underneath the car and clogged the exhaust pipe, flooding the car with carbon monoxide and killing the men.  In Shakopee, an electrical highline snapped, which sent the town into utter darkness.  Those with electric heating had to wait out a very cold night.  Snow plows could not get through because of all the stranded cars.  In and around Belle Plaine and Shakopee, every hotel, farmhouse, and public building was filled with stranded motorists or school children seeking shelter.  In New Prague, 200 turkeys froze as farmer Edward Palma tried to get them to shelter.[v]

blizzard-armstice - MHS

These stories are not merely tall tales of exceptional weather.  Part of their historical value is the way they show the interaction between society and our environment.  Some of these interactions are humbling, putting a stop to social life as “usual” and leaving us at nature’s mercy.  These stories also show how people adapted to radical changes in their environment, helping each other cope with nature’s antagonism and upholding social bonds that we rely on during times of distress.  And, of course, there are lessons about preparedness and safety to be learned from every storm or disaster.  Studying history is one way to prepare for future crises.  If you would like to know more about this topic, visit the Scott County Historical Society on the web and search our collections at www.scottcountyhistory.org.

Edited from original article by Patrick Rodgers, SCHS 2006

[i] Samuel Pond, Dakota Life in the Upper Midwest.  (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1986: 10-11); Roy Meyer, History of the Santee Sioux.  (Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press, 1993: 49-50).

[ii] Speech by Moses Titus to the Good Templars Lodge, 1879.  MHS manuscript collection C.F.612.55.T623.

[iii] Wesley Bond, Minnesota and its Resources.  (NY: Redfield, 1853: 161).

[iv] Scott County Argus, March 16, 1899.

[v] Shakopee Argus-Tribune, Nov. 14, 1940; Belle Plaine Herald, Nov. 14, 1940; Belle Plaine Herald, Nov. 21, 1940.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

As the Christmas season begins to get into full swing, people we start shopping for Christmas presents, family will begin making plans to travel, and of course Santa! Tis the season when we will begin to see Santa Claus on our TV, on billboards, and most importantly in person. Shopping centers, town halls, and community centers nationwide will soon start having visits from Santa.


Have you ever wonder how St. Nick became so busy leading up to his big day? The use of Santa in stores has been attributed to James Edgar in 1890 in Massachusetts when hired an actor to play the role. Store employees acted as Elves to help him with the flood of children. Having your picture taken with Santa dates back to at least the 1910s.


Santa’s workshop, or some name to that effect, is a staple of the Christmas season in most communities. Pictures with Santa are as much a tradition for many families as Christmas cards. While the trend of an in-store Santa may have begun in 1890, a store Santa can expect to work ten hour days and see over 30,000 kids a season. In fact, schools across the country now train people to play Mr. Kringle. Since so many are running around, I guess they do know who has been naughty or nice.


If you want a chance to see Santa for yourself, then bring the family down to the museum this Saturday December 1st. We will have Santa in the Stans House, as well as marshmallow and weinie roasts in the Community Garden. It’s the annual Holiday Fest and we would love to have you come out and enjoy the day with all of us here at the museum.

Black Friday: A Little History

While holiday gift-giving is a centuries-old tradition, the holiday shopping season is not – it was defined by of all things, parades!  By the mid-20th-century parades were drawing large crowds and not just in large cities. Many parades were sponsored by local retailers (usually department stores), who by attaching their names to the parade, increased store visibility with holiday shoppers. Over time, Thanksgiving parades came to be seen as the unofficial start to the shopping season. In fact, Macy’s first parade on November 27, 1924 was advertised as a Christmas Parade with the arrival of Santa marking the official start to holiday shopping. (Note, the first few Macy parades included live animals from the Central Park Zoo, who were replaced with large balloon animals in 1927.)

thanksgiving-trivia-1st-macys-thanksgiving-day-parade-1924-Bettmann Archive-Getty Images-515134184
Macy’s 1st Thanksgiving Parade 1924, Bettman Archive – Getty Images

But where does the term Black Friday come from?


Originally, the term was used to describe a financial crisis in 1869 when James Fish and Jay Gould worked together to buy up as much gold as possible ,to drive up the price and corner the market. However, their conspiracy unraveled on Friday, September 24, 1869, sending the stock market into a free-fall, ruining investors and tanking the economy. That day came to be known as “Black Friday.”

So if that’s where the term comes from, why is it associated with shopping? Well, we have to back up a bit.

President Lincoln designated the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving and, as noted above, that day came to be known as the start of the holiday shopping season. This was fine until 1939, when Thanksgiving fell on November 30, leaving only 24 shopping days (actually, a bit less as most stores weren’t open on Sundays). President Roosevelt gave in to pressure and moved Thanksgiving up a week to allow more time for shopping. (Remember, this was during the depression and a longer shopping season was seen as good for the economy.)  This move caused controversy and confusion, particularly because he made the declaration in October! Congress finally passed a law in 1941 making the fourth Thursday in November the official Thanksgiving holiday.

Franklin Thanksgiving, Bettman Archive – Getty Image 

By the 1950s it was clear that many people were taking the Friday after Thanksgiving off work, giving themselves a four-day holiday and getting a head start on holiday shopping. Although the day after Thanksgiving isn’t a Federal holiday, many state and school employees were given the day off, increasing the number of potential shoppers. This came to a head in Philadelphia where the annual Army / Navy college football game takes place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Thousands of people flooded into the city to not only take in the game, but to shop. The combination of football fans and shoppers was a bad mix – city cops had to work extra-long shifts, deal with large crowds and traffic, and the headache of shoplifters who took advantage of the situation too. By the 1960s locals were calling the crazy day after Thanksgiving “Black Friday”, a name that stuck and spread.


Black Friday came into its own during the 1980s and 90s when large big-box stores like Walmart, Target and Best Buy advertised blowout sales. By the turn of the 21st century deal-hunters were camping out in parking lots and waiting in lines through the wee-hours of the morning to be the first to get bargains.  At times, some crowds have turned a bit violent with fist-fights breaking out.  There’s even a website called Black Friday Death Count!

black-friday-gallery-gettyimages-97160565 (1)

Today Black Friday has to share space with Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday, but Thanksgiving is still seen marking the start of holiday shopping.

If shopping isn’t your thing, a group in the UK (Buy Nothing Day ), invites people to escape the “Shopocalypse” by engaging in anti-commercial activities, suggesting you stay at home with a good book or organize a free concert, anything as long as you don’t buy anything.

All of us at the Scott County Historical Society wish you and yours a warm and filling Thanksgiving Holiday.

(FYI: The museum is closed for Thanksgiving and Black Friday – we’re eating goodies and shopping!  The museum – and our museum store are open on Saturday.)

thanksgiving dog and cat

Spooky Times Are Here Again

Well its that time of year again, soon ghosts and goblins will hit the streets in search of candy. Halloween is always a fun time of year, a last hurrah for kids before winter rears its head. Halloween has had quite the transformation over the centuries. It started as All Hallows Eve, and was associated with witches and demons. It was a dark day when you stayed inside and hoped nothing came for you in the night.

Did you know that the first Halloween costumes were meant to scare away evil spirits? I can’t imagine a spirit being too afraid of Charlie Brown is a hole-filled bed sheet, but I can imagine them getting a good laugh.


The turn of the twentieth century, and even a little earlier, saw the waning holiday go from being a day to be feared to one of jokes and pranks. In time, it became the Halloween we know today.


It is little wonder, given the history of the festive and colorful holiday why we still tend to associate fear and other dark things with it. Even today Halloween has an air of unease for some people. The neighborhoods of American before graveyards and haunted mansions, I wonder if those are to scare away evil spirits too?


So before the weather decides to turn its old familiar Minnesota Cold, let’s have one last night of spooks and jokes at the expense of whatever evil spirits might still linger. After all, the reward for be brave and going out is the best one of all some sweet, sweet candy!


A Golden Time

This year marks a fantastic occasion for us at the Scoot County Historical Society; we get to celebrate our 50th year Anniversary. In appreciation of our volunteers and our communities, we will be having an anniversary picnic at the Stans Museum in Shakopee. It will be a day of food, fun, and trip through the past. Our main entry way will be time machine back to 1968 where you can see what made the headlines and what the world was doing 50 years ago. We will have a photo booth where you can take a picture are a hippie, John Lennon, or even Richard Nixon.

Our Stans House Garden will have picnic tables for food and relaxing as we celebrate the historical societies golden anniversary. We will be recognizing a longtime volunteer, looking back at what we have accomplished, and looking forward to the future we hope to build. A day full of old fashion games, sack races, food, community, and history sounds like a great day to me. August 25th at the Stans Museum, come celebrate the Scott County Historical Society’s anniversary, and help us usher in the next 50 years of preserving our history. 50th picnic celebration

On the Hunt…

This summer the Scott County Historical Society turns 50 years old. To commemorate our golden anniversary, we are having a summer full of events, festivals, and grand picnic (August 25th), and we have launched the Great Summer History Scavenger Hunt!

FB-scavengerhunt-2018 (1)

Visit 10 historic locations (or as many as you can) in Scott County before our 50th anniversary picnic! Take a picture at each one and email it to us (info@scottcountyhistory.org). Complete the quest and you will win…

  • A prize at our 50th anniversary picnic
  • The chance to have your photos featured in an upcoming exhibit
  • everlasting fame and glory.

The great hunt has already spawned stories. A woman and her father have been visiting a new town’s locations each day and are trying new restaurants. A family has been making a summer scrapbook with their photos. To augment those tales, here are some of the stories behind the 10 Scott County locations you will visit as you complete your summer adventure:

Location 1: The Stans House/ Scott County Historical Society – Shakopee


The Stans House was built in 1908 by Hubert Stans. It is constructed in the Dutch Colonial Style, popular at the time. One of our long-serving volunteers recounted visiting the house while she was girl, but sad she never got past the kitchen because Mrs. Stans didn’t want young folks mussing up the rest of her house. Luckily, today you can visit the whole lower floor. It has been restored giving visitors peek at what life was like for a middle class family in Scott County near the turn of the 20th century. Inside you can wind a Victrola, learn how an icebox works, and recline on a fainting couch. If you are interested in touring the house, be sure to call us and make an appointment in advance- 952.445.0378.

Next door to the Stans House is the Scott County Historical Society. Inside the building is used for a wide variety of  purposes. We have rotating exhibit galleries: currently you can learn about Scott County in WW1, toursim in Scott County, American Indians of the area, and the history of the Stans Family. Coming soon are exhibits on sports in the county, and the use of tools to build Scott County. The building is also home to a play ball final transparent (002).png

research library featuring the lineup of newspapers throughout county history, subject folders, historic maps, county books, and a card catalog to help you track down your family’s history. The museum and library are open:
Tuesday , Wednesday and Friday- 9am to 4pm
Thursday- 9am to 8pm
Saturday- 10am to 3pm
Come pay us a visit!

Location 2: Veterans Memorial- Shakopee

Located off of highway 101, Memorial Park is Shakopee’s largest. scav2The 147 acre park features picnic shelters, friendly mill-pond ducks, multiple playgrounds and shady walking paths. Centrally located is an AH-1F Cobra helicopter. The design was prominently used during the Vietnam war, and now serves as a sculptural tribute to Shakopee’s veterans.


Location 3: Mudbaden (now called the SCALE Training Facility)- Jordan

Mudbaden was a health spa founded by Ose Rosendahl in 1906. Around 1900, a peddlers cart and horse got stuck in the mud while trying to pass through Rosendahl’s property. As they worked together to free the cart. As they labored in the mud, the murky ground began to release sulfurous fumes. Rather than be offput by the smell, the men realized that Rosendahl had a business opportunity on his hands. The smelly mud was believed to have health benefits, and mud spas were making money throught Europe at the time. Rosendahl began cooking up mud treatments in his kitchen, and soon “Rosendahl Sulpher Springs” was born. default.jpgscav4.png

By 1910 a new building was built to house up to 70 people who had come to visit the restorative mud. The sight was renamed Mudbaden, and it began to become a serious tourist attraction. By 1912, ten plus trains were stopping at the site each day.

In 1914 the modern brick building was built with a capacity of 200 visitors. Mudbaden was a true resort, with dancing, music, parties, movies and banquets complimenting mud treatments. The facility continued to grow, acquiring the rival Jordan Sulpher Springs site in 1925. It continued to host a steady clientele until the 1940s when medical advances made mud treatments seem out of vogue. Mudbaden finally closed it’s doors for good in 1952, but the beautiful structure created for the mud baths still stands. Now known as the SCALE regional training facility, Mudbaden is located at 17706 Valley View Dr and is a pleasant bike ride from Jordan.

Location 4: Ambrose Friedman Cabin – Jordan

One of the oldest European American homes still standing in Scott County. It was being used as a storage shed, but was purchased, restored and moved to its present location scav4 (1).pngby Clement Nachbar in memory of his parents, Mathias Nachbar and Wilhelmina Mertens Nachbar, who settled near Jordan in 1855. The cabin is now open as a museum on Memorial Day and for special events. The cabin is found at the intersection of Water st and Varner st, near downtown Jordanmedia.jpg

Location 5: Episcopal Church of the Transformation – Belle Plaine

The Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, an Episcopal church building in Belle Plaine,  is a Carpenter Gothic style building with wooden buttresses. Sometimes referred to as a “prairie Gothic” church, it was built in 1868 for English-speaking parishioners, but most of the rural residents at the time were German and Irish immigrants who brought their own languages and religious practices with them. The result was a church building that struggled to attract worshipers for 80 years before the beautiful church was abandoned. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.scav5.png Memories, details and stories about the church can be found in the book “What Happened Here: A History of the Episcopal Church of the Transfigoraton” by Lee Howard Smith, available at the Scott County Historical Society. Here is a taste, recalled by Hinrietta Hillstrom Smith: episcopal-church-of-the-transfiguration.jpg

I have many memories of this church. I remember the early services at 7am with the early morning sun streaming through the east window above the alter with its beautiful colored glass. I remember the 5pm services during the winter months when the church had to be heated. The fires were started during the morning and kept going most of the day in order to get it warm enough to spend an hour at service. Later to save time and heat services were held in the Vestry. I had a round oak stove which wasn’t being used that I loaned to the church, some benches were moved in, a small table with white linen was used as an alter. It provided warmth and since there were so few people there was a closeness, and a closeness to God.

The Episcopal Church of the Transformation is at 201 N Walnut St in Belle Plaine

Location 6: Two Story Outhouse – Belle Plaine


The Hooper–Bowler–Hillstrom House was built in 1871 in Belle Plaine, Minnesota, United States, by Sandford A. Hooper, a local businessman and promoter of the town. By 1886 it was sold to Samuel Bowler, a founder of the State Bank of Belle Plaine and lumber-yard owner.3726_HillstromHouseTwoStoryLatrine2.jpg Bowler added a new kitchen, buttery, and , most famously, a five-hole, two-story outhouse that is connected to the house via a skyway. He also added a copper-lined bathtub. When the Bowlers moved to Denver, Colorado in 1901, the clapboard frame house was sold to Alfred Hillstrom whose family lived in the house until it was purchased in 1975 by the Belle Plaine Historical Society. The house is now furnished in a variety of periods that reflect its long life. It is open for tours from 1-4pm on Sundays between Memorial day and Labor day. Find the Hooper-Bowler-Hilstrom house along with its famous toilet at Court Square Park in Belle Plaine

Location 7: New Market Hotel and Store – Elko New Market

The Elko New Market Hotel and Store was built by Joesph Baltes in 1897. The building was originally given the cozy name of Home Hotel, and featured a first floor tavern with sleeping rooms upstairs. The hotel served visitors a business people traveling throughout the region. It also was a local social gathering place, holding suppers during dances at the Village Hall, and as a place to meet with locals and visitors.scav7.png
The hotel was typical of its time, with no electricity, and the owners living on site in the back of the first floor barroom. Laundry services were also offered for a small fee, and the owner’s wife would start washing sometimes as early as 3 O’clock.

Today the building still looks the same as it did in 1897, though with some different paint around the old windows, and big green sign on the front. . Visitors to the hotel today can walk up the double-wide staircase and peek into original rooms, each with a different theme which constantly changes. The current operators of the hotel maintain six rooms that visitors can see. The first floor is still a shop that is open periodically throughout the year.

Visit the Elko New Market Hotel and Store at 441 Main St, New Market, MN

Location 8: Church of Saint Wenceslaus – New Prague

The group of immigrants who settled New Prague had originally settled around Dubuque, Iowa, but many of them died of cholera. Four men from the community traveled up the Mississippi River to Saint Paul, in search of a healthier climate. They met with Catholics in the area who advised them that Benedictines from Saint John’s Abbey near Saint Cloud, Minnesota, were helping settlers find land. The explorers from the Czech community got lost, though, and ended up following the Minnesota River to Shakopee instead. They found that there was ample land to the south, so the four men purchased land and brought their families north from Iowa.

The parish of St. Wenceslaus was organized in 1856, and a log church was built the following year. The log church was destroyed by fire in 1864, so a more permanent building was erected in 1866, built of brick and stone. As the parish grew, though, more room was needed. Father Francis Tichy (pictured) default.jpgdirected the building of the new church, which was designed by St. Paul architect Hermann Kretz. Archbishop John Ireland dedicated the new building on July 7, 1907.scav8.png

Brick and Kasota limestone were used for constructing the spacious building. It dominates the skyline of the small city of New Prague, measuring 165 by 67 feet , with two towers that rise 110 feet. The architectural style combines neoclassical and Romanesque architectural styles, and is based on a church in Prague. Czech Republic. The church, rectory, and school were listed together on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Location 9: Train Depot – New Prague

One of the most important developments in the new village occurred in 1877 when the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway (M & St. L) reached New Prague.scav9.png The arrival of the railroad era expedited agriculture as New Prague’s most important industry. A link with the outside world enabled farmers to send their commodities to markets and created a conduit to bring inventory to the village’s businesses. Just four years after the M & St. L reached New Prague, the first grain elevator and flour mill were completed, marking the beginning of New Prague earning its nickname, the “Flour City.”

The historic New Prague Train Depot is still standing next to the flour mill on 2nd ave in New Prague

Location 10: Your Hometown History!

For site number 10, choose a place that has historic significance to you or your family. It could be a home that goes back generations, or simply a place that you enjoy today. Take a picture and share your story with us- these stories are what make history come alive. scav10.png

Please join us in the 2018 summer history hunt- and share your pictures and stores with is at info@scotthistory.org, even if you are unable to make it to every site. Happy hunting!

The “New Woman” in Scott County

Hello all, I’m Karly, one of the Scott County historical society’s summer interns. I’ve been digging through the archives here at the Stans Museum, taking in the wealth of Scott County history, and I noticed something in a microfilm of the 1898 Scott County Argus newspaper that caught my interest. The community news section of the paper read like a Facebook feed; entries appeared, ranging from where Mr. Frank Wilder was spending the weekend to who was selling the best apple cider, as well as this gem:

new woman attempt 2

Enter the “New Woman,” a politically and socially charged term from the early 19th century. The idea of what it was to be a woman in society was a subject of constant analysis by authors, newspapers, etc., often sarcastically. Satirical photos appear constantly in this era, depicting absurd or critical versions of new womanhood.


While the information presented on the brakewoman here in Scott County offers no opinion for or against the installment of a female rail worker, the very presence of the article speaks volumes about the sentiments of the time, showing that the public was interested, invested, in this new change. Even as popular topics today are circulated again and again, locally and globally, the 1898 Shakopee public was integrated into a news network that would continue to expand.

Shakopee 1880

I was surprised to learn that the city of Shakopee set itself apart by electing its first female Mayor in 1925, just 6 years after the state of Minnesota allowed women to vote in presidential elections. Shakopee women proved that they had a place in working society and leadership positions, creating a positive reputation for the new woman.

As I continue to work here in Shakopee this summer, I’m excited to think of what other insights into the past I’ll encounter as I discover what makes Scott County such a unique place. Come pay us a visit at the Stans Museum and join me in learning more about Scott County!