Getting a first-time view of the HHH

Published 5:05 pm Saturday, October 25, 2014

I tried a couple new recipes last week and served them at the Hormel Historic Home dining room table. This is the very same table where Lillian Hormel hosted meals with her friends and George’s business colleagues. The recipes were Lillian’s, and I have wanted to try them for a long time.

The reason for the meal was to welcome a group of local ladies who I knew had never been through the Historic Home. I invited them in to get their feedback as a first time visitor. After walking through these rich rooms for two years, I often forget to look around and see the environment as a newcomer would. As the leadership of the HHH considers ways to continue meeting our mission and to remain vital to the community we consistently seek feedback. Out of town tourists visit one time, maybe twice, but they are not the ones who will cherish the history we preserve. They enjoy the architecture, the brief history lesson and the Hormel family stories. You are the ones who recognize the treasure we have under this roof and who will keep it for the future.

I fixed lunch and asked some questions. The responses were eye opening. I asked if the ladies knew who owns or operates the HHH. Answers ranged from “no” to “Hormel” to “it’s a nonprofit” to the “Hormel Foundation.” The answer is we are a nonprofit. We rely on rental fees, donations and grants to preserve the home and offer educational programming. That is the reason why we do fundraising events and value our many corporate and individual donors.

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I asked, “Why is it important to preserve the HHH?” The replies followed a sentimental theme: “It would be a shame to not preserve all the beautiful features of this house;” “the home is an architectural treasure from its era;” “It is such a big part of Austin and the community. It’s the reason why so many of us are here;” “a fun-family-friendly place that hosts events;” “It is the history of the family that brought Hormel to Austin.”

I also asked for feedback about the various rooms in the home including the newer Carriage Hall Expansion. I will be taking the suggestions into serious consideration as we plan for future enhancements and new programming.

I would love to share Lillian’s recipes again with anyone willing to be part of a group interested in preserving and improving the HHH. You, too, can share our table. Call or e-mail me 507-433-4243,

 Carriage Hall Expansion party

Nov. 1, 2014

Tickets still available! Help us celebrate 5 years of the Carriage Hall Expansion at a party featuring Davina and the Vagabonds. Tickets are $7 and includes wine tasting, magic, gourmet food by Chef Kristine, raffles sponsored by Stadheim’s, Running’s and the Austin Country Club, and of course phenomenal music by Davina and the Vagabonds. Concert only tickets available. Call 507-433-4243 for details.