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Celebrating a month of George Hormel

I am dedicating my June columns to the memory of George A. Hormel.

He died on June 5, 1946, in California but his legacy remains in Austin. I hope to share with you features of his life you may not have known of before.

Did you know George served Austin as mayor for a brief time or that he was involved with the creation of a group dedicated to protecting youth in Austin?

On Monday, Aug. 31, 1896, the Austin Daily Herald printed the following tidbit.
“In the Absence of Mayor Crane, Alderman Hormel Will Act.  Mayor F.I. Crane expects to leave tomorrow morning for the Twin Cities, and to this end has called upon Alderman Hormel to look after the wants of the people during his absence.  In sending in your complaints you will find Mayor Hormel over the telephone at No. 100, or at the packing house.”

Then a few years later on Monday, June 30, 1902:

“Firework Notice: The firing of any fireworks within the city limits until the day of July 4th is hereby strictly forbidden.  The police will enforce this law.  Geo. Hormel, acting mayor.”

In March of 1903 he is referred to as “Acting Mayor” once again upon the election of Mayor Cook.  Finding no other mention of George as Mayor, I can only speculate that he chose to serve in the absence of those elected and did so with the approval of the city.

George was elected Alderman in 1894 and worked on causes such as securing adequate water supply for the city, paving the streets, the issuance of liquor licenses and the erecting of a new City Hall building.

In 1895 a new action group was formed that George Hormel readily became involved with.  The Law and Order League was started to protect young people against vice and corruption.  Hormel served on the Executive Committee and worked to make the city enforce city ordinances.  One measure was to prevent the issue of license to any saloon connected with another business.

George had been traveling through Austin for seven years before settling here.  He made friends and recognized the potential in the community.  He didn’t just move to Austin, though.  He chose to get involved, and he chose to serve where he felt his influence could make a difference.  Whether we call him Mayor, Alderman, or Employer, George gave himself to Austin.

Songwriting workshop with Charlie Maguire

2 p.m., Monday, June 12

Use your own creativity to help Charlie compose a song using Minnesota’s unique history.  You will hear about Charlie’s experiences and learn how to use stories to write meaningful songs. Geared toward those 10 and older but all ages welcome. Free.