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20th Anniversary of the Annandale History Club
Presentation to the Annandale History Club
May 2, 2011
Barb Ostlund and Karen Christofferson

Barb Ostlund donned her grandmother’s 1920s wool swimsuit just as she did for the first Annandale History Club meeting in May 1991.  The topic for that first History Club meeting was “Reminiscence of the Past and Good Old Days.”  Barb said that the Annandale History Club was an off-shoot of the Minnesota Project grant that Annandale received in 1990.  The $3,000 grant was to identify services to senior citizens in the surrounding area, organize the material, and find the best way to disseminate the material to residents, summer lake home owners and vacationers who have been identified as senior citizens.  Harvey Hawkinson was selected as the senior intern to implement the project and Val Lawler as his assistant. 

Regarding the history project, Harvey Hawkinson wrote the following to the seniors of the area: “Knowing that the past creates a desire to become conscious of our rightful heritage, we will pass on for future generations our very own contributions.”   Harvey Hawkinson, Jim Rudolph, Kermit Lundeen and Barb Ostlund were the organizers of the Annandale History Club.  Many people have served as officers or helped in other ways over the years.  The current officers are as follows:

President Wally Gloege
Secretary Karen Christofferson
Trearurer Aloys Olson
Social Rose Johnson & Barb Ostlund
Calling Aloys Olson, Barb Ostlund & Hazel Strand
Programs Ken Rudolph, Al Ostlund, Wally Gloege & Karen Christofferson

The meetings are held the first Monday of the month at 1:00 p.m. (excluding holiday months) following the senior dining meal at Annandale City Hall.  The meetings are announced in the Annandale Advocate and are open to everyone.  The Annandale History Club is a volunteer organization and receives no funding.

To date over 135 people have presented history programs to the Annandale History Club.  So far, 83 programs are on Annandale Online.  Program notes are taken by the secretary, typed and submitted to the speaker for edit.  When approved, the completed notes are e-mailed to Jill Bishop, webmaster of Annandale Online, and Jill puts them on the website.  The presentation notes can be accessed by doing a web search of Annandale History Club or

We appreciate all the people over the years that have been willing to speak to the club about their areas of interest.  Working together, we are helping to document the history of Annandale.  

Annandale Advocate – May 1991

HISTORY CLUB FORMS IN ANNANDALE – Minnesota Project helps fund new senior program

By Russ King

Many hands were raised when the topic of a one-room schoolhouse came up at a meeting in Annandale City Hall recently.  One person recalled toting a silver lard pail to school as a lunch box, and the wrong pail was grabbed.  Lunch turned out to be half a pail of lard.

And lunch reminded another of the potatoes brought by the students and set up on an old wood stove.  By noon the fire warmed the potatoes, which were then mashed by the teacher for an early form of school hot lunch.

And a stove reminded another of the cold winter day when Miss Werner fired the stove so hot it started the schoolhouse roof on fire.  A bucket brigade of local men had to be called out.

Each story was told with a smile.  And each smile revealed a personal recollection by many others in the room.  And most of the recollections reflected local memories of the Lake John School or the Albion School that is now on display at Minnesota Pioneer Park.

Those types of reminiscence will be the specific task of a new history club that is forming in Annandale for area senior citizens.  The group was formed when about 30 senior citizens met Tuesday, April 30, in Annandale City Hall to reminisce about the old days.

The history club is another off-shoot of the Minnesota Project grant Annandale received last fall.  The $3,000 grant was given to focus on services for senior citizens.  Harvey Hawkinson is the program intern serving with Val Lawler as mentor of the project, along with a committee of  local residents and business people.  (Note:  Serving on the Minnesota Project committee along with Hawkinson and Lawler are businessman Kermit Lundeen, City Administrator Gary Hale, Kiwanis President Jim Rudolph, Community Education Director Lois Kicker, Annandale Care Center Home Health Care Agency coordinator Kathy Schultz, Jeanne Fobbe of Wright County Human Services, and Rev. Phil Quanbeck of St. John’s Lutheran Church.)   

“It is a fact that the average American has a deep rooted interest in his past history, and to that extent we hold precious and want to preserve our own historic background,” Hawkinson wrote in an introductory letter to senior citizens of the area.  “Knowing that the past creates a desire to become conscious of our rightful heritage, we will pass on for future generations our very own contributions.”

Lawler and Jim Rudolph also spoke at the first meeting of the seniors.  “I remember when… As I get older, that phrase is getting a little worn in my vocabulary,” Lawler said, smiling.  “While we realize that there have been a number of histories written about the local area, I’m sure that there are still many more anecdotes to be told about the colorful characters we’ve all come across in our lives here.”

The club will attempt to preserve many of those, as it convenes for its first meeting Tuesday, June 4 at 1 p.m., in the senior citizen room at city hall.  For the first meeting three topics have been scheduled for discussion, that include “something handed down from parents or grandparents,” “horse and buggy days; Indians, homesteads” and “early days and farming.”

The Minnesota Project has so far worked to develop a central resource for information and referrals on senior services in the area, along with working on a mechanism to disseminate the information, especially for seniors who are new to the area.

The seniors are considered to be one of the relatively untapped resources of the community, and the Minnesota Project is hoping to change that by getting them more involved in the community, both for the good of the community and the good of the individual.

REMINISCENCE - Excerpts from the American Association of Retired Persons

The handing down of family history from one generation to another has always taken place.  But with the mobile and busy family of today, we need to make special efforts to provide our elders with opportunities to reminisce.

Taking time to listen to another person reminisce gives the powerful, unspoken message that ‘Who you are, what you have done, and the things you care about are important to me.’

In the later years of life, people can come to terms with events and feelings they may not have had time to reflect upon and think through when they occurred.  The opportunity to reminisce can help our elders unlock what may be long forgotten resources within themselves.

Reminiscing promotes mental and emotional well-being and combats isolation, loneliness and depression.  The process helps older persons get back in touch with things that matter to them and again experience positive feelings about themselves.