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Rock County Historical Society to relocate

LUVERNE — The Rock County Historical Society has made a purchase agreement with Herman Motors to move to the Ford dealership facility.

“Herman Motors is looking to expand to a different site on Highway 75,” said Betty Mann, director of the Rock County Historical Society. “The current location is right on Main Street, and moving there would give us great visibility.”

The Herman Motors dealership has three times the floor space that the current Historical Society building at 123 N. Freeman Ave. It will allow the current exhibits that are displayed to be expanded.

“The other main reason why we want to move locations is right now our building is not handicapped accessible,” said Mann. “The new location would have a nice ramp sidewalk up to the building, and would make accessing our building so much easier.”

Currently, the Rock County Historical Society owns four buildings at the Rock County fairgrounds, two barns and a country school. However, the main location features exhibits about each of the nine communities in Rock County, and is used primarily for research.

“It’s amazing to see how many people come in here for genealogy records,” Mann explained. “We have newspapers from 1873-1942 where people go through and save obituaries or other information on families.”

Employees at the Rock County Historical Society are dedicated in preserving these records to help people in their search about their family history.

“We cut out and preserve each obituary that we see in the newspapers and categorize them either alphabetically or chronologically,” Mann said. “With this new location, we can hopefully expand our research and be able to provide anyone who comes in looking for information on their family with that history.”

The interest in genealogy, according to Mann, has really grown in the past couple of years.

“It’s amazing to see how many people we are from all over the country looking for information about their family from us,” Mann said. “You’d be surprised by the littlest of information that could have an impact on someone.

“I remember I talked to a woman who was looking for information about her family, so I pulled everything we had with that family name, and one of the death notices stated that an infant of that family died,” Mann continued. “All of a sudden the woman said to me, ‘I had no idea that my mother had a sister,’ so I think the work we do here is extremely valuable to people’s lives.”

In lieu of moving into the new building, the historical society will be focusing on fundraising to make this purchase possible.

“We have signed and made a purchase agreement, but it’ll probably be a year before we actually move in,” said Greg Burger, chairman of the fundraising committee. “We want to develop a list of potential contributors and create informational brochures on why it’s important for the whole county that we do get this new building.

“It is a large amount of money, but the community has always supported us, and I think people in Rock County want to preserve their history,” added Burger.

With the new building, Mann is looking to grow the exhibits involving the nine communities throughout Rock County.

“Right now we just have little booths for each township, but I’d like to expand that,” Mann said. “A lot of these little townships disappeared when the railroad stopped, so I believe it is important to keep that memory alive, and keep the history alive.”

The Historical Society is also looking to switch up exhibits and have flexibility.

“We also want to be able to switch out things and bring new things to Rock County,” Mann said. “I think it’s important that we try and bring as much new things as we can here.”

The Rock County Historical Society is planning to fundraise one-on-one with citizens at community and county events.

“Our goal has been and always will be preserving the history of Rock County and keeping those memories alive,” Mann said. “I always say we can’t live in the past, but we can learn by it.”

Anyone interested in making a donation to the Rock County Historical Society may send it to 123 N Freeman Ave., Luverne 56156.

Erin Trester
Erin Trester is the crime and city reporter for the Daily Globe. She's a native of Lewiston, MN, but moved to Buffalo, NY to attend college and obtained her bachelor's degree in Communications. She started at the Western New York Catholic Newspaper as a reporter in Buffalo, but in October 2013 she returned to her home state to start with the Daily Globe. Most of her spare time is taken up by her 13-year-old thoroughbred named Faith, but some of her other hobbies include reading, fishing and spending time with friends and family. 
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