Archived Story

Tearing down of Carriage House a day of change

Published 5:11am Sunday, March 16, 2014

March 7, 2009, was a turning point in the history of the Hormel Historic Home. It was also the day the vision of many people concerned with the future of the HHH came to life. However, it was also the day a long-standing structure came down.

On that chilly day in March, five years ago, a demolition crew reduced what was the Carriage House to a slab of concrete. The Carriage House was original from when the Cooks owned the property. At its construction, the space was for horse and buggy. When George and Lillian purchased their first car in 1906, they expanded the Carriage House to a triple garage.

An apartment with a small foyer, living room, kitchen and dining area, bedroom and bath was above the garage. Records are scarce on the exact date of construction of the apartment, but it is speculated that the Hormel’s chauffer and his wife (Lillian’s seamstress) may have lived in the space. When George and Lillian relocated to California, the chauffer and seamstress moved with them, and an apartment similar to the one in Austin was provided for them. Following their move, the Carriage House apartment was rented out; funds generated were used to help support the operations of the YWCA.

In 1939, a gift from George and Lillian facilitated expansion of the garage for use by local Girl Scouts. The Scouts had been meeting in various parts of the YWCA but with the expansion of the Carriage House they had a dedicated space of their own.

Many local groups used the space in much the same way it is being used now. Business and club meetings, bridal showers, graduations, anniversaries, and holiday parties were all held in the remodeled space that once held horse and buggy.

Though we no longer are able to rent the space for residential purposes, the space once occupied by the Carriage House is still used by the community. The commercial kitchen that was constructed five years ago is used by many caterers and the rooms are utilized in countless ways. Since the first event in November of 2009, the newest expansion has seen more than 1,400 events. This space that supported the Cook and Hormel residences and the YWCA for many years continues to serve the Hormel Historic Home and ensures its place in the future.

A special five-year anniversary party for the 2009 expansion is being planned for this fall … details forthcoming.


Board of Directors 4 p.m.


Social Concerns

Tuesday, 10 to 11 a.m., free

The Grange in Mower County, presented by Dustin Heckman of the Mower County Historical Society.

Dustin will describe how the Grange improved the agriculture industry as well as led to the implementation of rural mail delivery and other worthy causes. This grassroots movement began in Minnesota. Dustin will tell us how it affected our region.

Please call to register. 507-433-4243


Foodie Throwdown: Taste the Spirits

Saturday, March 22, 6 to 9 p.m.

Six of Austin’s best food enthusiasts will compete for your vote. Samples of main entrees and desserts will be served at 7:00. Music will be provided by JT Thompson. Tickets are $30 per person and are available online at or by calling 507-433-4243.


Stepping Out for Autism Walk

Saturday, April 26, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Bandshell Community Park

Teams are forming now for the annual fundraising walk to support the Summer Camps offered by the HHH for area youth affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. Visit to print your registration form. Lunch (free will offering accepted) will be offered at 11 a.m. and Koo Koo Kanga Roo will perform at 11:30 a.m.


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