Hormel Historic Home: Preserving history

Published 5:52 am Saturday, August 10, 2019

In the midst of all the events and special occasions at the Hormel Historic Home, it is sometimes easy to forget that we do all these things to preserve an old home that contains the legacy of one of our community’s most influential families.

Maintaining the house with period décor and educational displays allows us to showcase the Hormel family lifestyle and values. But we must also maintain the home’s environment and equipment. Throughout the last 10 years, since the addition of the Event Center, we have created new exhibits and addressed mechanical issues to ensure the house remains structurally sound and filled with interesting things for visitors to see.

Holly Johnson

A few projects that added to our long term preservation were the replacement of the shingle and flat surface roofs. The concrete steps and sidewalk were replaced to ensure safety and an appealing entrance for our guests. We have addressed a few leaks and resurfaced ceilings.

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The exterior trim was painted and some stucco repaired. Knob and tube wiring was replaced to meet modern electrical standards. A modern boiler was installed and we have serviced air conditioning and heating units a few times. My first maintenance job was to hire the Bat Evictors to try to control and limit access to those flying creatures of the night.

Exhibit updates have taken place throughout the historic home as well as in the Carriage Hall Event Center. China and textiles have been placed in archival display boxes in order to show them off but also to protect them.

The historic sun room and kitchen were restored to a more period appropriate appearance. Jay’s bedroom was redesigned to showcase his entire 24 years in residence here.

George Hormel’s Masonic Lodge uniform is now on display as is a quilt made by Lillian Hormel in the early 1920s. We have a mostly complete set of Squeal’s and other Hormel family books featured in the library and we’ve added history panels to the corridor in the event center.

These projects, and many more, were funded in part by the Hormel Foundation, the Thomas D. Hormel Foundation, Gary and Pay Ray, and many other private donors. They were also made possible because of the events held in the now 10 year old event space.

The continued preservation of the Historic Home and the legacy we contain depends on all these sources and on YOU. We hope you will join us as we celebrate the past, present and future history of the organization at our Sept. 8 community event.

Music @ the Mansion: Bissen Family and Friends Band

7 p.m., Monday, Aug. 12

One of the area’s most loved musical family (and friends) bands. These talented and downright friendly musicians will perform your favorite classic rock tunes. You’ll be singing along the whole time. Free.

Jammin’ at the Mansion

7-9 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 14

A fun night of impromptu music performed by area music lovers. Free.

Music Event to honor Minnesota Art and Music

7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 21

Organized in honor of Blair Lawhead a variety of musicians will perform classical music in the Historic Living Room followed by jazz in the Carriage Hall Event Center. Special guest Bobby Z. Art by Tyler Quitmeyer will be on display. Refreshments and cash bar available.