Iowa students visit the HHH

Published 5:02 pm Saturday, May 11, 2013

By Holly Johnson

The Hormel Historic Home

It is always fun to have bus tours visit the Hormel Historic Home as we get to hear the reaction of the guests as they tour each room.

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This past week we had the unique opportunity of receiving 92 seventh-graders from the Ventura/Garner-Hayfield Junior High in Iowa and what fun reactions they had.

With their nine chaperones, they visited the Spam Museum and then ate their brown bag lunch in our banquet rooms.

With groups of 12-15 we enjoyed comments and questions such as “Do you live here?” “Is the cat real, and what is its name?”  “Can you sleep here?”  “Who is George Hormel?”  “This is the biggest house I have ever seen.”  “They had servants!”  “Is the house haunted?”

When I asked them how much they thought the Hormels paid for the house I heard answers ranging from $1 to $2 million.  They enjoyed the story of George’s horse, Billy, that would deliver George to the plant and then return home alone so Lillian could use him for her errands.

After the 20-30 minute tour (because they grew distracted quickly) one tour guide, Ginny Peterson, quizzed a few groups to measure if they had learned anything.

We were mildly surprised that many of them had absorbed the fact that the house was built in 1871, that George was the founder of Hormel Foods, that the cat’s name is Lillie Belle (the white stuffed cat that lives in George’s office, that is).

They were really amazed that George and Lillian only paid $3,000 in 1901 to purchase the home.

Their fascination with the tiny bathroom under the stairs (which they compared to Harry Potter’s sleeping quarters with the Dursleys) was curious.  In fact many photos were taken in that space. One very enthusiastic group loved the tour guide, Anita Ulwelling, and took many photos with her as well.

Some of you driving by about 1 p.m. on Monday may have been greeted by some energetic youth who were enjoying the garden. Thankfully, the weather was finally nice enough so they could wait patiently (and rambunctiously) for the other groups to finish their tours.

All tour groups are welcome at the HHH, but I truly enjoyed seeing the house through the eyes of nearly 100 seventh-graders.

Social Concerns: Patient-Centered Health Care

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Please call 433-4243 to register for this free Program.  Coffee and Snack provided.