Archived Story

Hormels donated home to the YWCA

Published 4:30pm Saturday, September 29, 2012

This week I’m sharing the story of how the Hormel family donated their house to serve as Austin’s YWCA. This is told from the Y’s history, a report written in 1956 by Helen Baird Vance.

“The fall of 1927 was a memorable and outstanding season for the Austin YWCA for it was then this fortunate organization was given the beautiful home of Mr. and Mrs. George Hormel for its headquarters. Mr. and Mrs. Hormel had always been generous contributors to the work of the YWCA and the latest gift was just another very substantial evidence of their thoughtful love of the Association, its aims and endeavors. After twenty-one years of service in the community, the Y after hoping that some day, plodding away it would have its own fireside protected by its own rooftree, the dream had finally come true.

Mrs. George A. Hormel presented the keys to her home to the officers and directors of the board of the Y at a one o’clock luncheon she gave for them in her home. All of the hangings, many of the rugs and much of the furniture was left exactly as it had been while the Hormels lived there. The dining room and kitchen were left intact to be put to whatever use the board would suggest. Mrs. Hormel personally selected every item replaced through the house and so it came as an absolutely complete home. With very few changes it was almost as though it had been built for the purpose it has served since 1927. The garages to the north were later remodeled for Girl Scout Rooms…

To the Hormel family, the house at 208 West Water Street was always home. To it the elder Hormels came when visiting in Minnesota in later years. And when each returned for the last time, it was here old neighbors and friends, those who knew them best, gathered to pay their final tribute. The YWCA, not only in its physical property but in spirit as well, stands a monument to their generosity. It was here the last rites for their only son, Jay, were held as were those of his parents but a few years previously. Newcomers to Austin will know the Water Street building only as the Y but to Austinites of long standing it will always be the ‘Hormel House’!!”

Written in 1956, the author of this report could not have predicted that fifty years later, the building would continue serving the community, but return to the name Hormel Historic Home.

 Coming soon to the HHH

•Social Concerns: Avoiding Bank Fraud Scams by Andrea Hodges from US Bank, 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 16. Free and open to the public. Please register at 433-4243 to attend.

•Remembering Downtown Austin: Thursday, Oct. 18 at noon at the HHH. Dustin Heckman of the Mower County Historical Society and Laura Helle of the HHH will present on the history of Austin’s down town area. Free to members of either organization, $5 admission to non-members. Please register to attend at 433-4243.

•Austin’s Best Bartender BBQ: Friday, Oct.19 at 5 p.m. Area bar tenders will compete in accuracy and showmanship rounds for the title. Piggy Blues BBQ available for purchase. $5 cover. Call for details.

•Halloween Costume Dance for Kids: on Saturday, Oct. 27 from 3 to 5 p.m. $1 admission, offered in cooperation with the Mower County 4-H Ambassadors.

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