History Happy Hour extended into June

Published 6:34 am Saturday, June 8, 2019

The History Happy Hour season has been extended into June this year so that we can showcase one of Austin’s special water features from a historical perspective. I hope you will join us on Monday, June 10, for a Walking History Tour of Mill Pond led by Tim Ruzek of the Cedar River Water Shed District.

Tim Ruzek, Mower SWCD’s water plan and outreach coordinator

Ruzek will lead the group around the pond and point out how the area has changed throughout time. The area went from a backwater swamp with islands to a state park to an area for economic development in the 1960s to its present-day flood walls and berms. The walk will be just over a mile long and will begin at the HHH at 5:30 p.m. with snacks offered until 6 p.m. The event is free for members of the Hormel Historic Home, Friends of the Library, and the Mower County Historical Society and $5 for nonmembers.

Since the origination of the company, the Mill Pond area has been an important contributor to the success of the George A. Hormel & Co. business. In his autobiography, The Open Road, George wrote reminiscently about the river in the days leading up to starting his company.

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“Many times I have been grateful that we could not look ahead on that Sunday before I opened the plant, when my fiancée and I had spent the afternoon skating. At sundown we crossed the river [Cedar] for her first inspection of the plant.”

That river was an asset that the packing plant could not have survived without. From it the company harvested ice for keeping meat cold. They got water to operate the plant’s ammonia condenser. And water flowing over the Water Street bridge operated the city’s turbines, which provided power to everyone.

Today the river is dammed up to provide a lovely place of recreation for our community. It has been altered to better serve the area, but its history remains. Water is crucial for our existence and it was as significant for George A. Hormel in 1891 as it is for us today. Join us for a stroll around part of Austin’s history on Monday.

Music @ the Mansion for Kids

2 p.m., Tuesday, June 11

Enjoy music and stories from Dennis Warner. Entertainer and author of “Beads on One String” Warner has traveled the world. Come join us for a magical afternoon of singing and laughter. Free.