Watonwan County Historical Society
This is the Home Page of the Watonwan County Historical Society, affiliated with Minnesota Historical Society, located at Madelia, Minnesota.
To effectively Link the Past, with the Present, And Preserve It, For the Future.
The Watonwan County Historical Society was organized in 1935. World War II ended those activities. Twenty-nine interested persons met at the American Legion Post House, Madelia, in 1966 launching the present organization. Four objectives were adopted:
- Preserve and mark historic sites;
- Work with the Minnesota Historical Society;
- Locate, record and preserve items of historic interest;
- Provide a fireproof building for their preservation and display.
Meetings are held annually at a county site to be announced. They are usually held in April.
We invite you to become a member of the Watonwan County Historical Society. Annual dues are $10.00 for single/$15.00 for family; Lifetime is $200.00.
The Society can be contacted at:
Watonwan County Historical Society
423 Dill Ave. SW,
Madelia, MN 56062
Telephone: (507)642-3247 or (507)375-5117
Members receive a newsletter two or three times a year.
- **Jan. Feb. March - open Wed. & Thurs. 9:00am to 12:00noon and 1:00pm to 4:00pm.
- April, May, June, July, August, Sept. - open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 9:00am to 12:00noon and 1:00pm to 4:00pm.
- **October, November - open Wed. and Thurs. 9:00am to 12:00noon and 1:00pm to 4:00pm.
- December Please call ahead.
- **Winter hours may vary so please call ahead.
Admission is free but a $2.00 per person donation is appreciated. Exhibits are in the main museum and breezeway leading to the building housing primarily horse-drawn farm equipment. There are about 25 display areas including the Younger Brothers Capture and a Drug Store area. The Ashippun Post Office, the first Post Office in Watonwan County, a log cabin completely restored and furnished as it was a hundred years ago, is housed in the farm equipment building.
The research library at the Historical Center offers a wealth of information for those interested in local history or family histories. Research materials include: Business Histories/Documents, Cemetery Records, Census for Watonwan County (microfilm), Church Records, Club and Organizational Records, Family Histories and Documents, Genealogical files, Library Card Catalog (index files), Maps, Military Records, Naturalization Records (microfilm), area Newspapers (microfilm), Obituary Files, Periodicals and Newsletters, Photograph Catalog file, Plat Books/Atlases and Indexes, Telephone Books, Yearbooks, and more.
Group tours are available by prior arrangement. Call Wilma Wolner, Museum Director at (507)642-3247 or (507)375-5117.
A map showing "A Suggested Scenic & Historic Tour" of the county and locations of historic sites is available free by writing the Watonwan County Historical Society at the address above. Please include a business-sized self-addressed stamped envelope.
- 1886 Watonwan County Plat Book with Watonwan History. It is a complete 1886 plat book plus 46 Watonwan historical pictures and histories of the county, each township, past and present villages and towns.
- Briefly written Facts, 1895. A St. James and Watonwan history with 34 pages and 42 pictures.
- A Souvenir of St. James, 1901. A 56 page booklet with county, city, school, church and fire department histories plus business and professional men and women biographies plus many pictures.
- Coming to America in 1868 and Thirty Years on a Farm. A 162 page book written by O. Broste, I. G. Haycraft and C. M. Delling.
- Madelia in Retrospect.
These books and many more are for sale at the WCHS Museum, Madelia. For current pricing and ordering information please contact Watonwan County Historical Society by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail: WCHS, P.O. Box 126, Madelia, MN 56062.
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