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NCHS to host photo contest; seeking Nobles County images from 1930-1970

Captured in 1900, this image depicts pioneer days at harvest time. Note the covered wagons in the background. This image was the grand prize winner in the Nobles County Historical Society's 1936 photo contest. It was submitted to the society by R.H. Hicks of Bigelow. (Submitted photo)1 / 8
The George M. Plumb Grocery Store, once located on Worthington's 10th Street, is shown in this photo from 1874. The image was submitted for the NCHS's 1936 photo contest by G.O. Bigelow. (Submitted photo)2 / 8
Civil War veterans pose in uniform with rifles in this picture of Worthington's GAR Post taken in 1882. The image was submitted to the Nobles County Historical Society by J.P. Loveless. (Submitted photo)3 / 8
Worthington's Main Street in 1874, showing the Colony Drug Store and RF Baker Clothing. (Submitted photo)4 / 8
A group of women enrolled in the 1890 Sewing School, taught inside the Humiston and Warren Drug Store. (Submitted photo)5 / 8
An 1890 view of Worthington's Fourth Avenue, before the railroad street was built. The Davis home on the right is pre-Dayton House. (Submitted photo)6 / 8
Hay baling on the Langseth farm, circa 1886, with Ole Langseth, Frank Hartun, John Cunningham and C. Salomsen shown in this image that was submitted for the 1936 photo contest spearheaded by the Nobles County Historical Society. (Submitted photo)7 / 8
Shown in this 1875 photo is the home of Jonas Bedford of Rushmore. The image was submitted for the NCHS's 1936 photo contest by Mrs. A.C. Constable of Rushmore. (Submitted photo)8 / 8

WORTHINGTON — Was someone in your family an obsessive picture taker? Do you have old scrapbooks and albums filled with photographs of family life and happenings passed on to you from previous generations?

If so, the Nobles County Historical Society is asking you to share them.

Beginning Saturday and continuing through mid-November, the NCHS is sponsoring a photo contest, looking specifically for images depicting Nobles County life between 1930 and 1970.

Tasked with sharing the story of the county’s people and places, the NCHS leadership has discovered it’s rather short on images from those decades.

The photo contest will award cash prizes for the top images submitted in each of four categories depicting Nobles County — pre-1930; agriculture, farming and life in rural settings between 1930 and 1970; town life (examples include festivals, parades, street scenes, disasters, town baseball teams, city band concerts county fairs and other public events) between 1930 and 1970; and family life (examples include hunting, fishing, trapping, archery, boating, skiing, bowling, softball leagues, golfing, snowmobiling, church gatherings, family celebrations, school activities and youth organizations such as Scouts, 4-H and church) between 1930 and 1970.

“We just really need to build the collection,” said NCHS board member Jerry Fiola, noting the board’s interest in doing a second volume to “Images of America: Nobles County,” published in 2017 and printed by Arcadia Publishing. The first volume focused on 1940 and earlier.

Fiola noted the society has many pictures of King Turkey Day — it’s other festivals and events it would like images from.

The idea for the photo contest stemmed from, well, history.

The Nobles County Historical Society organized in 1934. Two years later, in need of gathering images that helped tell of the county’s history, the society partnered with The Globe and Rickers Photography, both of Worthington, to sponsor a county-wide photo contest.

A story about the contest was clipped and saved in the society’s archives.

“It was maybe the historical society’s first attempts to catalog history,” shared NCHS board member Paul Hoffman.

Images from all of the county’s communities are sought. With the hope of using the photographs in a book, Fiola prefers that people bring original photographs to the NCHS office, located in the lower level of the War Memorial Building, 407 12th St., Worthington. The images, slides or negatives will be scanned in and returned to contributors, unless they’d like to donate them to the society.

Images can also be emailed to the society at n.c.h.society@gmail.com. Photographs should be scanned and emailed at highest quality and largest file size (600 dpi).

Equally as important as the photographs are the stories behind them. The society would like any information available to accompany the submissions for the photo contest.

“The more of the story we get, the more valuable it is,” Fiola said.

“We need a descriptor and a year,” added Sandy Wood, another NCHS board member.

People may submit up to five images for the contest, but board members are quick to say they will accept entire collections if people have them.

“If they have a box of slides, we will find a safe place for them,” added Wood.

Hoffman said people are tossing away old photographs, slides and negatives at an alarming rate — things passed down from previous generations that many of today’s generation don’t want to save.

“We want to capture that stuff while it’s still out there,” Fiola said.

If people need help narrowing their collection of photographs to come up with five for the contest, Wood said the society is willing to help in the selection of entries.

In addition to seeking publishing rights of the photographs for a possible new book, Fiola said the NCHS would like to display the images at some point in the future.

“We’re somewhat hopeful we’re going to be getting new museum space, whether it’s the armory or we stay here,” Fiola said. “We’re hoping there’s going to be a rebirth and we’re going to get an expanded museum, and we want to prepare for that.”

Prizes for the winning photos are $100 for first, $50 for second and $25 for third place in each category. There will also be an overall grand prize winner with a $50 bonus.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at The Farm Bleat

(507) 376-7330
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