Santa Claus and Kathy Lindgren McCully, c. 1950s. “I don’t remember what I asked for then, but now I would ask for time to be turned back to before the arson fire. But since this cannot happen, my wish is for a better year ahead, a new Heritage Center, more volunteers, new members (young and old and in between), and a renewed appreciation of Isanti County history. What do you think?” Merry Christmas from the Isanti County Historical Society…Enjoy those gifts!by Kathleen J. McCully, Executive Director Isanti County Historical SocietyAs it happens, Week 24 after the fire falls just before Christmas. This is a time when everyone is looking forward to giving and receiving gifts from their friends and family. So while your gifts will be wrapped in festive paper and bows, ours are freeze-dried and packed in sixty-one boxes. A plan has been formulated on how to inventory and process each box. ICHS has been very lucky in having Marilyn McGriff, the first executive director of the society, working with us. Marilyn set up all of the filing systems during her tenure, and was familiar with many of the documents and items that were in our collection. Now, after having worked with technology and libraries, she is volunteering time to assist in the identification, prioritizing, processing and cataloging. Her time and talent is a gift that is truly beyond measure. While we will not be processing and cataloging in full force until after the first of the year, Marilyn has been going through a few of the boxes to see if our process will work. After the fire, we had a crew of about 12-15 folks retrieving items, sorting, wrapping and freezing them. Opening each box now is like opening a Christmas present to ICHS. As Marilyn has been doing so, she has discovered
a few things that are almost unscathed: Several scrapbooks of newspaper clippings from the local area; records of the Cambridge WCTU; Isanti County Arts Guild records with some photos of events; memorabilia from the Cambridge American Legion; Justice of the Peace dockets from Braham, 1950s; and file folders of information about several of the cross-roads communities in the county. We do celebrate these small gifts as we move forward. However, there are many more items that were partially burnt in these boxes as well, and this is still a very dirty, sooty, smelly job. We can’t wear nice clothes, must wear masks and gloves, we have a hepa-filter air purifier running to pull stray particles from the air, and expect that we will be making a grand mess of things as we move forward. In spite of this, my staff and many volunteers continue to come back, day-after-day, week after week-to-work and clean up daily. They are all a gift to me and to the history of Isanti County, because this task could not be accomplished by one or two people alone. As you celebrate this season with family and friends, Isanti County Historical Society thanks you for your gifts, whether they are photos, historical information, old business or civic organization records, oral histories, family histories, volunteer time and talent, monetary donations or moral support. Remember, this is a marathon for us all, not a sprint and we thank you for accompanying us on this journey. Donations are greatly appreciated and can be made by mail, at our website, or directly at Cambridge State Bank. For all other inquiries, visit www.ichs.ws, follow us on Facebook, call us at 763-689-4229, email at email@example.com or drop us a letter at 1700 E. Rum River Drive S., Suite K, Cambridge, MN 55008. We are open by appointment only at this time.
Over the next two weeks, when the entire world will all be busy with family and friends, ICHS is taking a break before the hard-core processing of salvaged materials is started. The office will be taking phone calls and emails, but will not be open until Tuesday, January 3, 2012.
Musicians unknown, time frame unknown. If you can identify this group, let us know at 763-689-4229 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. I bet they played great dance music!Week 23 since the fire and the holidays are almost upon our lovely county. This weekend I found myself on both sides of the stage--as a performer with the East Central Grad Band, and as a concertgoer at a Celtic Thunder concert. Both made me think about the everlasting gift of music, heritage and traditions. I have played the baritone/euphonium since 5th grade…almost 50 years now. Remembering band lessons, school concerts, contests in high school, and marching band I have great memories and a few really good stories to tell. The East Central Grad Band is the “frosting on the cake” for me as I get to entertain the community, make friends from all walks of life and of different ages, and play music ranging from contemporary to traditional (depending on conductor Lynn Wedlund’s choices, of course). Never would I have thought in 5th grade that I would be playing with a band now. Music is a part of my heritage, but it didn’t just start then. Celtic Thunder performed songs and played instruments that are very common in their part of the world in celebrating their Irish heritage, The concert was attended by ages from 10 to 100 and amid the laughter, clapping and cheering (and that was just from the performers themselves), I can definitely say that everyone had an excellent time. What a novel idea…combining music and heritage to entertain! Our ancestors were also performers and musicians. My great-grandfather, Korp Eric Olson was a notable fiddle player in Sweden, who immigrated around the age of 50 to start a new life in North America. Traveling from Sweden he brought with him two violins, and continued to play until his death. Eric, and other immigrant musicians I am sure, brought with them the musical heritage of the old country, which was played, passed down, and eventually evolved into Swedish-American, or perhaps German-American music. What a wonderful gift to leave those that follow. In the 1940’s, my mom Eileen was given an accordion. She has told me how she sat on the washtub and worked until she finally figured out how to play that accordion. Playing only by ear, she plays some of the Swedish-American tunes, and she even played with a polka band before she was married. She still has that accordion and I marvel at the idea that she plays by ear. Music and heritage at work again! It seems that not all bands and musicians are as well-known as the East Central Grad Band or Celtic Thunder. Over the past 150 years of Isanti County’s existence, there have been community bands, school bands and orchestras, chorals and choirs, theatrical musicians, traveling musician’s, and even family bands. I have enclosed a photo of a band that was found in the Carlson negatives. I bet this family had a great time performing, sharing their music and heritage to audiences everywhere. If anyone can identify this group and/or the time period, please let ICHS know. So whether music is in your blood or not, you are an entertainer or performance attendee, as the years pass and generations come and go, remember to share your heritage with others, carry out a long-standing tradition or establish a new tradition this season. Entertain by sharing your memories and family stories, and play that instrument that is collecting dust in the closet. Passing all this on to your descendants is the most wonderful gift of all. Most importantly, keep playing the music … tunes old and new and everywhere in between. Music and Heritage--these things will not change if we don’t let them. Over the next two weeks, when the entire world will all be busy with family and friends, ICHS is taking a break before the hard-core processing of salvaged materials is started. The office will be taking phone calls and emails, but will not be open until Tuesday, January 3, 2012. Year-end donations toward operating expenses are greatly appreciated and can be made by mail, at our website, or directly at Cambridge State Bank. For all other inquiries, visit www.ichs.ws, follow us on Facebook, call us at 763-689-4229, email at email@example.com or drop us a letter at 1700 E. Rum River Drive S., Suite K, Cambridge, MN 55008. We are open by appointment only at this time. Kathleen J. McCully, Executive Director Isanti County Historical Society
The program at 2:00 pm is entitled: Lessons and Carols in the German Style (Lesungen und Weinachtslieder – im Deutschen stil) – a traditional German Language service based on the nine lessons & carols format – but using the German language (with English sub-titles), and with traditional German Christmas carols, in a format recreating the ambiance as it would have been back in 1882, when the Historic Church was built.
The program at 4:00 pm is entitled: A Most Beautiful Candlelight Service – again a nine lessons & carols program and presented in modern English – with the Christmas carols you know and love – favorites from years gone by. Revel in the enchantment created as the setting sun slowly disappears in the windows, only to be supplanted by the shimmering lights in the interior – created by kerosene wall lamps, hanging gas chandelier lamps, and the flickering light from real candles on the real Christmas tree.
Each program will be concluded with the giving of a traditional Christmas program goodie bag to each attendee (just like the one you got after the church program when you were young), and a gala reception featuring traditional German treats: Christstollen (German Christmas cake), several kinds of Lebkuchen (gingerbread style German cookies), Spekulatius (German spice cookies), and hot apple cider and coffee.
Historic St. John’s is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and has been restored to it’s original condition by the Friends of Historic St. John’s, which sponsors and programs these unique events. A suggested $5.00 per adult contribution will offset presentation costs, and further assist in continuing the on–going renovation/restoration efforts. Come and share in a delightful event.
You are cordially invited celebrate the ending of the Christmas Holiday season in the same way as the German immigrants to Minnesota did almost 130 years ago. Two programs will be presented on Epiphany Sunday, January 8, 2012, at the Historic St. John’s Lutheran Church of Bradford, located at 900 County Rd 5 NW, just 2 1/2 miles west of Isanti.