Monday, June 4, 2018

Summer of Music

It won’t be long before music is filling the Hormel Historic Home Peace Garden.  In fact, the way the sound bounces off the side of the house, the music often fills more of downtown than just the garden.  And, if the weather threatens us, the show will go on and music will fill the event center.  We are grateful to be able to offer musical events for the community to enjoy.  They bring people together with the goal to entertain and enrich people’s lives. 

I like how LZ Granderson, American journalist, describes the experience of live music.  “Complete strangers can stand silent next to each other in an elevator and not even look each other in the eye. But at a concert, those same strangers could find themselves dancing and singing together like best friends. That's the power of music.”

Mark your calendars to attend the following events and turn a stranger into a friend.  All are free with the exception of the instrument making workshop for children on July 17.

Friday, June 15 - Summer Music Kick Off Happy Hour with JCA (Jamie Braaten and Cody Yost, formerly of SEEDS)
5-7 p.m. Local favorite in an acoustic show featuring country and rock favorites as well as some fresh originals.

Tuesday, June 19  Tricia and The Toonies- The Happy Days Show 
2:30 p.m. Koncert for Kids inside the event center.  Followed by cookies sponsored by the Spam Museum. 
6:30 p.m. Peace Garden Concert Music that brings all ages together in fun and dancing with great music and laughter.  Think the Shimmy, the Twist, the Swim and the Pony.

Sunday, July 1
The Austin Community Jazz Band
6:30 p.m.  Join us for classic jazz and fun arrangements performed by local musicians.

Tuesday, July 10
Todd Menton
6:30 p.m.  Edgy Celtic/eclectic folk and original music.  Featured instruments will be the Bodhron (The Irish Drum), Mandolin and The Tin Whistle. 

Tuesday, July 17
Jack & Kitty  Emmy Award winning duo specializing in Organic Vaudeville and Jug Band Folk. 
10:30 a.m. Instrument Building for preschool through elementary aged kids (limit 30).
Must pre-register through the Hormel Historic Home.  $3 per child for HHH members, $5 for non-members
2:30 Sounds So Sweet! The History of American Jug Band Music of the ‘30s
A concert of Americana jug band music of the 1930s.
6:30 p.m. Peace Garden Concert – Jack & Kitty will perform for all ages to enjoy.

Tuesday, July 24
History of Blues with Joey Leone
6:30 p.m.
Enjoy an assortment of blues, from Pre-War to Texas to Chicago Electric Style Blues, as well as original blues compositions.

Friday, August 3
Dang Ol’ Tri’ole
6:30 p.m.
Four-part vocal harmonies, tight instrumental interplay, high-energy performances, and a great time for all generations. Genres include Traditional Folk, Progressive Rock, Salsa, and Blues.

Tuesday, August 14
Driven By Rhythm
6:30 p.m. 
Rochester-based band that has been pleasing audiences around SE Minnesota with classics from the 60's through the 80's.

Upcoming Events:
Sunday, June 3
Oakwood Cemetery Tour, Mower County Soldier Stories
Led by Jaimie Timm of the Mower County Historical Society
3:30 or 5:30 p.m.; 60 minute tour
Cost is $8 for members of the HHH or Historical Society and $10 for nonmembers
Limited to 15 per tour.  Tickets available at

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Art in the House

It seems every time I walk through the rooms of the HHH I notice something new or figure something else out about the Hormel family or this home.  I could spend days looking through all the documents and files we have on the history of this place, but I try to limit myself due to other responsibilities. Today I decided to finally open one of the many boxes of history and I found information on some of the artwork we have on display in the house.

Apparently two pieces that I walk by everyday were painted by women with connections to Austin.  The colorful lake scene that hangs in the corridor of the banquet area was painted by Louise (Louisa) Minert-Kelly.  A native of Waukon, Iowa, Louise was a talented artist who studied at some prestigious art schools including The Art Institute of Chicago and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.  In 1906 Louise was a teacher in Austin, and here, she married Edward P. Kelly, an Austin native and Law School graduate.  We do not know how or when the HHH obtained the painting, but we know it was hanging over the fireplace in the library in 1947 based on photographs from that time period.  It is likely that the Hormels knew the Kellys as Edward practiced law here from 1903 until 1906.

Just inside the front door of the home hangs a trio of postcard size pictures depicting early 1900’s Austin scenes painted by Anna Leach in 1912. Ms. Leach moved to Austin at the age of two with her parents in 1866 according to an Austin Daily Herald article dated April 29,1981.  She was raised in luxury and it was noted that she was not taught the practical tools that would help her in the world.  She did have access to painting lessons and she attended Austin schools graduating in 1881. She was remembered in her later life by her unkempt and eccentric appearance.  I have not found any other information about Ms. Leach in our records but we are happy that the pictures were donated to the Y.W.C.A. in 1981 by Mayor Robert Enright.

Many other treasures adorn our facility and as I learn about them I will enthusiastically share the information with you.

Volunteer Week

I am a little late but my intent was good! April 21-27 was National Volunteer week, and although I intended to send a note of gratitude to all those who help us out here at the Hormel Historic Home, I didn’t get it done in time. (Perhaps I needed the help of a volunteer!)

National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 and is celebrated all over our country in many different ways. According to “It is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities.” Volunteers are very important to the HHH and I would like to recognize those who have chosen to share a little of their imaginative and caring ways with us.

Over the years the HHH Board of Directors has spent countless hours planning events to benefit the Home.  They offer tours to remind guests of our history, they serve treats or meals to represent the spirit of hospitality that the Hormels were known for, and they consider ways in which the Home can continue to serve our community. 

In the office we have people with great organizational and people skills who help keep things running smoothly.  From scheduling tour guides, to arranging historical documents, to answering phone calls and selling tickets to events, they are priceless in helping us maintain a healthy organization.  We also have friends who just like being here and will often tidy up and water the plants.

Another regular group of volunteers is the Y’s Women.  This group has met at the Home for 20 years, and they often volunteer at events such as our Holiday Open House and German Cookie Bake, and they even set tables for our Sweetheart Dinner.  You will soon see a bit of their gardening work as they fill the window boxes on the west side of the Home.

Our volunteer Board of Trustees oversees the financial position of the HHH and develops long-range goals to help us remain vital to Austin.  They oversee the administrative processes and ensure that positive business decisions are being made.

So although I am late in saying it, I am extremely grateful for those who have chosen to make the HHH their outlet for volunteer work.  They do it because they recognize the value of a facility such as ours and they want to see it preserved. We wouldn’t be able to accomplish what we do without them.