Appreciating what the YWCA offered

Published 8:05 am Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Hormel Historic Home’s atrium. Photo provided

The Hormel Historic Home’s atrium. Photo provided

It is easy to take for granted that which we see every day, isn’t it? I stumbled across an article that made me view the HHH with fresh perspective.

Dated May 21, 1928, the article has been preserved in one of my favorite scrapbooks from the past. The column describes how visitors to the YWCA appreciated the facility 87 years ago.

Responses to the question “What does the new YWCA home mean to Austin at a conference time?” praised the environment we work hard to emulate today:

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•“Both my husband and I have enjoyed the quiet of this beautiful home. We are accustomed to taking a short period of rest each day and so doubly appreciate the privilege of coming here.”

•“We are so glad to accept the hospitality of this lovely home and shall frequently slip over here for short periods of rest.”

•“My husband would like to relax in one of these easy chairs, while I looked around the house. I have heard so much about it.”

•“This is surely a wonderful gift, I wish you would tell us how it is financed, we are hoping our town will be as fortunate someday.”

The writer of the column continued the praise with the following description of what we now call the Atrium. “This porch, and it’s worth a trip downtown to see, is a delightful surprise, for it is an attractive secluded nook overlooking the lawn, where grow the graceful fir trees, beautiful flowering shrubs, and just at present a rosy pink blossom tree is about to burst into bloom. Birds, seemingly myriads, attracted by the thirteen bird shelters provided for them on the grounds fairly vie with each other in sweet, liquid notes of varied song. This outdoor uncovered porch, this delightful sheltered retreat, is now, and will be an added attraction to the YWCA through the warm months to come.”

As you know, the porch being praised is now enclosed. However, the view is very similar to the one described above. Both tour and event guests find the space a comfortable place to rest during their visits. Bridge groups spend hours surrounded by the four seasons of the grounds while in a climate controlled area. And business groups have utilized the space for a change of scenery and to be inspired by the copious amounts of sunlight that streams through the glass.

The article concluded with these words, “The Hormel home of the YWCA is a charming spot in summer and open for all to use and enjoy.” I would only add that our space is wonderful and available in all seasons.

 History Happy Hour

June 8

Antique Evaluations with expert Mark F. Moran. Guests can bring one item for Mr. Moran to evaluate. Some exclusions do apply. Must pre-register by calling the HHH 507-433-4243. Free to members of the HHH, The Mower County Historical Society, or the Friends of the Library. $5 for non-members. Light refreshments included. Cash bar available.