An education tradition is preservedWORTHINGTON — The handing down of stories, beliefs, customs and practices could be referred to as traditions. They were, at first, handed down orally from person to person and then from one generation to another.
By: Al Swanson, Daily Globe Historical Columnist, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — The handing down of stories, beliefs, customs and practices could be referred to as traditions. They were, at first, handed down orally from person to person and then from one generation to another.
A historical society deals with traditions as part of their goals and objectives. There are many traditions in the files of this society; one of the evidences of this is the preservation of buildings from the past.
An example of tradition in Nobles County is the old Gilomen School. When the rural school no longer served its purpose of educating, this building could have been demolished or moved.
In 1958, the Gilomen School was moved from north of Brewster to the Nobles County Fairgrounds in Worthington. It was intended to be a place for the exhibits and artifacts that had been collected by the Historical Society. There were some complications, so the Historical Society purchased about five acres of land west of the Fairgrounds. The idea of collecting buildings and forming a village on the prairie was established. A tradition of education that was started in a rural district was preserved in the school on the grounds of Pioneer Village. It was a key to a program of school tours hosted annually in the month before Memorial Day.
As it is with towns and villages, there were always some problems. There were disputes and disturbances. There were crimes committed, and there was peace to be kept. The sheriff and the “cop” were a tradition in every town. There was always a place to punish the violators and a place “to keep the peace.”
As in ancient tradition that came from Europe, there was a way to punish those who had offended or broke the rules of society. The way was the “stocks” in which the hands, head and feet were locked in place and viewed by the public to show there had been offense.
This method was not used very often in the New World. They used jails for those offenders, but many of the offenders were located outside, in view of everybody. The public could see the violators; they could poke fun at the offenders. Sometimes, the jail was used as a place to put those, who had consumed too much as a place to “sleep it off.”
There was an outside jail at Pioneer Village, just off the Main Street, near the railroad depot. But there were not many “disturbances of the peace.” When the fire hall was built, the jail was moved to the west end of that building. The sheriff and the police were in another room. While it was never used for its original purpose, it was a tradition that was and is still established in towns and villages. It is a part of the past — “the way it used to be.”
Al Swanson is chairman emeritus of the Nobles County Historical Society.