Relatives of the HHH’s original owners visit

Published 6:30 am Saturday, October 27, 2018

The Hormel Historic Home received some very special guests last week. Kirby and Connie Cook live in the state of Washington, but they were visiting family-and memories- in Minnesota.

Maybe you recognize the last name Cook. The HHH was originally built by John F. Cook in 1871, and he and his wife Addie raised their three children here. John died in 1892. Addie remained in the home for a few years, and then the couple’s oldest son, Charles and his wife, Julia, resided here with their two children from 1896-1901. The man who visited last week is the great-great-grandson of John and Addie Cook.

The cook family plot

Kirby remembers visiting his great grandmother, Julia Cook, here in Austin and sliding down her banister as a young child in the late 1950’s. He came to the HHH thinking this was the house that contained his memories, but after discussing dates and timelines, we realized that it was not this house he remembered. However, we have now found that after Charles Cook sold the home to George and Lillian, his family lived in a house directly to the north of the Hormel’s. The address was 510 N. Greenwich which is now 510 N. 2nd St. The house is gone but Kirby’s fond memories remain.

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We don’t talk much about the Cook family history in Austin today, but they did contribute to the community’s history. Following is a timeline of the Cook family line that includes our guest, Kirby.

•Steven Cook, born 1796. Married Jeanette in 1819. Had Four children.

•Pastor of Austin’s First Congregational Church

•John Franklin Cook, born 1823. Married Addie, 1865. Had three children.

•Early land developer, hardware store owner and Mayor.

•Described as one of Mower County’s pioneer residents.

•Addie was regarded as Austin’s first music teacher.

•Charles Franklin Cook, born 1866. Married Julia Wood, 1896. Had two children.

•President and manager of the Austin Mutual Hail Insurance Company of Minnesota.

•Alderman from the First Ward for two years, Mayor from 1903-1906.

•1910 elected to represent Mower County in the state senate.

•Wife Julia lived over 100 years leaving Austin in the 1960’s

•John Alden Cook, born 1899. Married Florence and had two children.

•Moved to Minneapolis and was engaged in the insurance business.

•John Alden Cook Jr., born 1926. Married Betty and had nine children.

•Kirby Cook-our visitor.

The Cooks and Hormels were friends, neighbors, and investors in Austin. They left their legacy in the HHH and in the community.

ASD Parent/Caregiver Event: “Working Together Through the Special Education Process.”

6-7:30 p.m. free, Monday, Nov. 5

Presented by educators from the Austin Public Schools Special Services Department, the focus will be on what to expect during the referral, evaluation and IEP process.

Light supper and childcare available with registration at

History Happy Hour: National Register of Historic Places in Your Neighborhood

5:30 p.m. Social, 6 p.m. Presentation, Monday, Nov. 12

Presented by Denis Gardner of the Minnesota Historical Society. Free for members of the Mower County Historical Society, Friends of the Library, and the HHH. $5 for non-members.