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!
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 (firstname.lastname@example.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
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. The 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.
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 by 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 Jordan
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. 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:
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. 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.
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) directed 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.
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. 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.
Please join us in the 2018 summer history hunt- and share your pictures and stores with is at email@example.com, even if you are unable to make it to every site. Happy hunting!