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Heritage Country Show to raise funds for Fulda Depot Museum

FULDA -- Forget about your Sunday afternoon nap. There are better things to do in Fulda. The fifth annual Heritage Country Show will offer country music by region-wide performers at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Fulda High School gym. It will also support...

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Fulda’s depot is in need of repair. Tim Middagh/Daily Globe

FULDA - Forget about your Sunday afternoon nap. There are better things to do in Fulda.

The fifth annual Heritage Country Show will offer country music by region-wide performers at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Fulda High School gym. It will also support an important community cause - the care and preservation of the historic Fulda Depot Museum.
Doc Schwarz, a lifelong musician and more recent member of the Fulda Heritage Society, knew that the society needed a new fundraiser - one that would be unique and effective. So, five years ago, the first country show was coordinated, and it was a great success.
“We have some of the best singers from around the region,” Schwarz enthused. “They all donate their time and talents. People from all around the state come to see the show. They look forward to it all year.”
Fulda’s depot is on the National Register of Historic Places. Because of this designation, the windows, which badly need removal, must be replaced with six-paned original-style windows. In addition, the entire building is in need of a new paint job.
The depot, built in 1880, is the only remaining two-story Eastlake-style depot in southwest Minnesota. It currently houses a museum run by the Heritage Society as well as an antique store. The top floor was the station master’s home, and the bottom floor housed offices and waiting rooms.
In its day, the depot served eight regularly scheduled trains - both passenger and freight - daily, plus several “extras.” Improved automobile roads and a new railroad division point west of the town meant that the roundhouse, turntable, stock yard, water tank, coal bins and the depot itself proved to be less and less necessary. In 1979, 100 years to the month it opened, the railroad to Fulda was closed.
Following the closure of the depot building, which occurred in 1976, the Fulda Heritage Society was formed and officially incorporated in 1978. Those early members knew that the depot was a building worth saving and they have been striving to that purpose ever since, even adding a 40x60 steel building that will ultimately help house the society’s ever-growing displays - many of which are now stored in the upper story of the depot.

That building, financed in part with funds provided by the State of Minnesota, stands close by the depot with an old preserved outhouse boasting carved graffiti by the “King of the Hobos” standing in between. A restored caboose from 1914, purchased by the society in 2010, is available for touring. The caboose is so well preserved that it seems as if the conductor and his crew have just stepped out for a moment and will return at any time.
All of these buildings and artifacts require care and attention. That’s why the Heritage Society has three main fundraisers a year, with the Heritage Country Show being a new favorite.
Schwarz is no stranger to the stage, having played in “I don’t know how many bands” over the years, he said. In fact, if it weren’t for the unfortunate timing of a Johnny Cash recording of the exact same song - “Green, Green, Grass of Home,” which Schwarz recorded in his one and only venture into the recording industry - it could well have been Schwarz and not Cash with all the fame and glory.
But Schwarz doesn’t seem to mind. Members of his old bands have even been known to show up at the Heritage Country Show, where, this year, attendees can take in not only Schwarz on the stage but also Craig Borsgard, known locally as “Our own Willie Nelson”; Jerry Davis, who sings all over the United States and even performed on “The Love Boat” TV show; Jason Grinnen, who will not only sing but also be master of ceremonies for the show; Cindy and Roger Harvey, Worthington residents; and Paulette Whiteford, from Windom.
“We’ve got quite a crowd coming in,” said Chuck Lursen, president of the Heritage Society. “We’re fortunate to have Doc with his background. I call him my advisor.”
“We’ll have some really good entertainment,” Schwarz said, deflecting the praise. “Everybody really appreciated it last year. We have a repertoire change every year.”

The Heritage Country Show will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Fulda High School Gym. Popcorn and water will be available at the show, and a CD of the performances will be available to order. Tickets are available in advance and $8 in advance and at the door, and can be purchased from the Fulda Free Press, The Depot, Ramerth Hardware, or direct from Lursen or Schwarz. For more information, call (507) 220-9063.

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