Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County

Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County This local history museum’s Hjemkomst Viking Ship and Hopperstad Stave Church make a premier destination for Scandinavian and Northern Plains heritage.
The Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County (HCSCC) directs a local history museum and hosts traveling exhibitions in 7,000 sq. feet of space at the Hjemkomst Center. HCSCC is a community resource for over 200,000 people in the Fargo-Moorhead metro area and serves an average of 30,000 visitors a year from all over the world.

A fisherman tries his luck in the Red River. The view is to the north, where the Main Avenue Bridge can be seen in the d...
05/13/2019

A fisherman tries his luck in the Red River. The view is to the north, where the Main Avenue Bridge can be seen in the distance.

Fishing in the river at this time (1905-1910) was good, but by the 1920s untreated raw sewage from both Fargo and Moorhead had created a dead zone downstream. Fishing all but disappeared. Since the late 1930s the Red River has been cleaned up and fishing has resumed.

(Photo: Flaten-Wange Collection, HCSCC).

's cover photo
05/06/2019

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Local nurses were the unsung heroes during Clay County's darkest days. They joined our military in the European theater ...
05/06/2019

Local nurses were the unsung heroes during Clay County's darkest days. They joined our military in the European theater of World War I as part of the Army Nurse Corps, and those who remained sacrificed on the local front fighting the Spanish Influenza pandemic.

Here three nurses from Moorhead's St. Ansgar's Hospital pose for friend Cora Ahlberg's camera, circa 1917 (HCSCC, The Cora Ahlberg Collection).

We have several openings for volunteers, interns, and work-study participants at the Hjemkomst Center. Please reach out ...
04/29/2019
Volunteer/Intern Opportunities

We have several openings for volunteers, interns, and work-study participants at the Hjemkomst Center. Please reach out if you or your friends and family are interested!

The Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County would not be able to function without the generosity of our many volunteers. Our volunteers help staff our admissions desk, run our gift shop, and...

04/29/2019
Cliff Hitterdal & the Meuse-Argonne

Clay County veteran Cliff Hitterdal served in France with the 35th Division during World War I's Meuse-Argonne Offensive — a fall 1918 campaign that stands as the deadliest in American military history. Cliff came back to his farm in Goose Prairie Township and late in life recorded his memories of the Meuse-Argonne. They can be heard here.

Join us at the Hjemkomst Center to explore your local WWI history in "War, Flu, & Fear: World War I and Clay County."

The deadliest battle in U.S. history, the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, was launched 100 years ago, on September 26, 1918. Clay County, MN, resident Clifford Hitt...

As is the case throughout the United States, landmarks in Clay County and throughout Minnesota have a long history that ...
04/26/2019

As is the case throughout the United States, landmarks in Clay County and throughout Minnesota have a long history that crosses time, language, and nation. This fact reflects the procession of people, language, and tradition in these places -- all of which play an equally prominent role in our reconstructions of a past that stretches back billions of years.

"Minnesota" itself comes from the Dakota phrase "Mni Sota Makoce," or "Land Where the Water Reflects the Clouds." The Red River of the North, like Red Lake, is derived from the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe/Chippewa) words for the red reflection of dusk on water, or "Miskwaagamiiwi - zaaga'igan." The Buffalo River derives its name from the Anishinaabe word for "buffalo," or "bizhiki," a misreading of the Anishinaabe name for the spaces around Buffalo Lake where bison would winter. The linguistic diversity in the 1843 map that French-American geographer Joseph Nicollet produced for the American Fur Company hints at only a sliver of these histories -- including Nicollet's "Pijihi" spelling of the Buffalo River.

Please remember to join us on Tuesday, May 21, for A History of the Dakota POW Letters from Dakota Studies Professor and Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate elder Dr. Clifford Canku. The event is free and seats may be reserved today.

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Image: details of Joseph Nicollet's famous 1843 Minnesota map, published as "Hydrographical Basin of the Upper Mississippi River From Astronomical and Barometrical Observations Surveys and Information."

Tomorrow is the deadline to RSVP for our annual meeting! If you'd like to take part in HCSCC's future or learn about ear...
04/24/2019
HCSCC Annual Meeting, 2019

Tomorrow is the deadline to RSVP for our annual meeting! If you'd like to take part in HCSCC's future or learn about early Moorhead celebrity pilot Florence Klingensmith over a delicious spread from Concordia Catering, reserve your seats here. You can also contact us by phone or email.

HCSCC Annual Meeting, 2019 by Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County - Thursday, May 2, 2019 06:00 PM at Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead. Buy tickets and find information on Universe.

Like much of the world, Clay County witnessed a remarkable boom in marriages and childbirths as returning GIs married th...
04/24/2019

Like much of the world, Clay County witnessed a remarkable boom in marriages and childbirths as returning GIs married their sweethearts in record numbers following WWII. Before 1945, Clay County recorded an average of about 450 marriages each year. The average the following three years jumped to 713. The 1948 count of 726 weddings remains a record.

And those marriages brought children, as women married younger and had more children than earlier generations. In 1945 Clay County women gave birth to 501 babies. Two years later county births jumped to 750, and in 1950 that number had reached 900. The Boom peaked in 1960 with 1093 childbirths here.

As government programs like the GI Bill (or, The Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944) enabled this rapid growth via federal spending in housing, healthcare, and education, local schools adjusted to the new population. Moorhead State Teachers' College set up surplus barracks east of campus to be used as married student housing. The area was officially known as Dragon Terrace, but most residents called it "Fertile Acres." These little Boomer babies were photographed there (Photo: The Virginia Kolba Collection, HCSCC).

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Image: a photograph of seven babies wearing white and standing in a playpen on the east end of the Moorhead State Teacher's College campus.

04/22/2019

This Saturday we enjoy A Steve Stark History of Political Cartoons. Your seat is included with regular museum admission (or free, for HCSCC members). Check it out!

Archival work can range from monotony and pleasant surprise to belly-laughing fun (we are nerds, after all...). This is ...
04/19/2019

Archival work can range from monotony and pleasant surprise to belly-laughing fun (we are nerds, after all...). This is especially true when the work includes our WDAY TV News collection of local news and promotion photos. Both the photos and our efforts to describe them are giving us a chuckle today.

In accordance with their early descriptive notes, we give you "Dairy Queen Man" and "Mannequin Sub."

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Image: two photos from the WDAY TV Negative Collection. The first is a promotional photo showing a man's head on an ice cream cone. The man's hair resembles an ice cream swirl and the cone bears the name, "Dairy Queen." The second photo shows a boy looking into a small prop submarine in the center of a cafeteria. The submarine is painted to resemble a woman or fish and a female mannequin stands upright in the hatch.

Cornelia "Nellie" Gesell was the daughter of Oakport's Randolph and Catherine Probstfield, the wife of confectioner Char...
04/18/2019

Cornelia "Nellie" Gesell was the daughter of Oakport's Randolph and Catherine Probstfield, the wife of confectioner Charles Gesell, and the mother of Grace, Walter, and Raymond.

Following their 1890 marriage, Nellie and Charles moved to La Crosse, Wisconsin, where she immersed herself in the fight for the right to vote. She's pictured here in an undated Wisconsin photograph. Her pennant reads, "Votes for Women." Cornelia is buried in Moorhead's Prairie Home Cemetery.

If you have photos or stories about women's suffrage in Clay County, please reach out. And remember to join us at the Comstock House on Tuesday, June 4, for A Suffrage Social!

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Image: a photograph of Cornelia Judith Probstfield Gesell posing with a "Votes for Women" pennant (estimated date of 1910-1920).

Tonight we host our annual FMVA BIG Art Show: Opening Reception, a night full of some wonderful local art and the wonder...
04/16/2019

Tonight we host our annual FMVA BIG Art Show: Opening Reception, a night full of some wonderful local art and the wonderful Fargo Moorhead Visual Artists who create it.

An added bonus to this year's reception is the Red River Spring Flood Path. Follow the signs from 4th Street North and Center Avenue under the Moorhead Center Mall parking ramp.

Enjoy the trip and stay for the show!

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Image: a map detailing directions from Center Avenue to the Hjemkomst Center during a major Red River flood.

Many thanks to all of our friends who joined us at the Hjemkomst Center yesterday to celebrate Holi and wave goodbye to ...
04/01/2019

Many thanks to all of our friends who joined us at the Hjemkomst Center yesterday to celebrate Holi and wave goodbye to our exhibition of "Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation."

We particularly want to thank our friends at the Indo-American Association of the Great Plains, who have shared so many of their stories and traditions with Fargo-Moorhead over the past several months.

03/19/2019

Join us Thursday at the Comstock House for an introduction to the Comstock daughters. MSUM researcher and HCSCC volunteer Rachel Goetz will deliver a Drache Lecture exploring the two women's lives.

03/15/2019
Trygve Olson: Cartooning 35 Odd Years

"Trygve Olson: Cartooning 35 Odd Years" opening at the Hjemkomst Center on Tuesday, March 26, with "Lines with Power & Purpose: Editorial Cartoons."

Join us for the reception, Opening Reception: Lines with Power & Purpose, and see the exhibition through June 20!

No museum stops this snow day, folks. We are closed.
03/14/2019

No museum stops this snow day, folks. We are closed.

A collection of photographs featuring some of the Clay County women who lived here before us. Most of these individuals ...
03/08/2019

A collection of photographs featuring some of the Clay County women who lived here before us. Most of these individuals were photographed by S.P. Wange and O.E. Flaten more than 100 years ago.

Although some winters it's hard to believe, spring does return to Clay County each year. Typically in late March and ear...
03/06/2019

Although some winters it's hard to believe, spring does return to Clay County each year. Typically in late March and early April, warming temperatures melt the ice and snow that pile up during winter. All of that water drains into the Red River and flows north to Hudson Bay in Canada.

However, each year we have about a 50% chance that the water will flow over the river's banks and create a flood. About once in 10 years that flood will be serious. Over the past 25 years we've seen a flood just about every year, to varying degrees of severity. Timing and weather are key. Floods depend on how much snowfall we receive, how fast the snow melts, and whether we have rain during the spring melt.

The 1952 flood devastated low-lying residential areas along the Red, such as Woodlawn Park seen in the photo here. This and similar floods led to the removal of flood-prone housing in Moorhead's Urban Renewal Project area in the late 1960s.

Photo courtesy of Forum Communications.

Have you gone "Beyond Bollywood," too? Join us at the Hjemkomst Center! Explore the exhibition or stop in during one of ...
03/05/2019
Hjemkomst Center goes 'Beyond Bollywood'

Have you gone "Beyond Bollywood," too? Join us at the Hjemkomst Center! Explore the exhibition or stop in during one of our upcoming events.

Many thanks to John Lamb and InForum for the fine introduction.

news, sports, opinion, entertainment, business, lifestyle, milestones, obituaries and weather for Fargo, ND

02/27/2019
Lake Region Arts Council

We are honored and grateful for the fact that Minnesota continues to invest in our communities' arts, histories, and environments. Here's former Moorhead mayor Del Rae Williams speaking about the impact of the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment in our lovely little home on the western border.

Many thanks, too, to the Lake Region Arts Council for the video and their continued support at the Hjemkomst Center!

Filmed last year, Moorhead's (former) Mayor Del Rae Williams speaks on the impact of Legacy funding for the arts in her community...

Don't worry, folks. The archives suggest winter will one day end. In the meantime, here's a photo from the John Glas col...
02/25/2019

Don't worry, folks. The archives suggest winter will one day end. In the meantime, here's a photo from the John Glas collection showing 10 1/2 Street North in Moorhead after a 1966 storm. Note the red flag directed toward any approaching snow plows.

Thank You! Giving Hearts Day was a wonderful success for us at HCSCC. We appreciate your support of local history and we...
02/15/2019

Thank You! Giving Hearts Day was a wonderful success for us at HCSCC. We appreciate your support of local history and we'll continue to put that support to use preserving and sharing our local stories.

02/14/2019

Friends, tomorrow is Giving Hearts Day, and we'd love your support. Please consider a donation to HCSCC in the name of local history and local community. That's what we're all about.

Many thanks to Aaron and the wonderful crew at Junkyard Brewing Company for a generous gift this afternoon! Please consi...
02/13/2019

Many thanks to Aaron and the wonderful crew at Junkyard Brewing Company for a generous gift this afternoon! Please consider supporting local history by supporting HCSCC this Giving Hearts Day!

We love the work our friends at the Red River Market are doing championing local foods. Join us at the Hjemkomst Center ...
02/08/2019

We love the work our friends at the Red River Market are doing championing local foods. Join us at the Hjemkomst Center tomorrow for a look during Red River Winter Market.

The photos show local photographer S.P Wange's Hawley garden in 1905 (with son Vern Wange standing in the first).

02/01/2019
Prairie Public

Prairie Public put together this wonderful piece exploring our exhibition of "Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation" and the process that pulled it together. Give it a look and then check it out at the Hjemkomst Center!

"Beyond Bollywood: Indian-Americans Shape the Nation" is a traveling Smithsonian exhibit that has landed in Moorhead at the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County, and aims to highlight the immense contributions of Indian-Americans in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Members of Fargo-Moorhead's Indian community have contributed artifacts, photos, and cultural items to help bring the exhibit to life.

An O.E. Flaten photograph of a local winter logging operation: three lumberjacks, two horses, and a sled full of timber....
01/31/2019

An O.E. Flaten photograph of a local winter logging operation: three lumberjacks, two horses, and a sled full of timber. The workers hold a whip, a pike, and what appears to be an axe. Logging has historically been the most dangerous job in the United States -- so also notice those top logs aren't chained....

The photo was taken sometime between 1900 and 1930.

National History Day is a wonderful opportunity to promote scholarship in our region. However, it requires local histori...
01/31/2019
Judges | National History Day In Minnesota

National History Day is a wonderful opportunity to promote scholarship in our region. However, it requires local historians of all sorts (professors, teachers, librarians, journalists, graduate students, book lovers, history nerds, etc) to serve as judges. Join us for the West Central Regional at Minnesota State University Moorhead on Monday, March 11 (3PM - 8PM), and help us promote local, evidence-based history in Minnesota!

Sign-up and information available here:

01/29/2019

Stay home and stay safe. Our museum is closed today and tomorrow.

We had a wonderful time celebrating Indian Republic Day around our Viking ship at the Hjemkomst Center this weekend. Ple...
01/28/2019

We had a wonderful time celebrating Indian Republic Day around our Viking ship at the Hjemkomst Center this weekend. Please join us in these frigid weeks as we explore Indian American culture, beginning with Glimpses of India: A 3-Part History on Sunday, February 3.

Image: a photograph of Indian American dancers performing in the Hjemkomst Ship Gallery.

A 1915 S.P. Wange photograph of Myrtle Berg, Pearl Johnson, and Anne Marie Wange dancing to their own music in Hawley (F...
01/25/2019

A 1915 S.P. Wange photograph of Myrtle Berg, Pearl Johnson, and Anne Marie Wange dancing to their own music in Hawley (Flaten-Wange Collection, HCSCC).

Please consider supporting local history this Giving Hearts Day. There are so many wonderful organizations taking part i...
01/23/2019

Please consider supporting local history this Giving Hearts Day.

There are so many wonderful organizations taking part in this day of giving, and we know that many of them are working to simply fill crucial gaps providing basic necessities and services to our community. These people are literally saving lives. Please support them. Please also remember just how vital local, evidence-based history is to our sense of community and our understanding of truth. Consider donating to HCSCC on February 14.

#HCSCC #CountMe #GHD2019

01/09/2019
How to Make a Drill Press Machine | Homemade Mini Drill

Why would you make a homemade drill press from scrap electronics and plywood? Join us this Saturday afternoon at the Hjemkomst Center for the answer. John Deere Electronic Solutions engineer Gurmukh Advani explores the history of "jugaad," an Indian engineering concept meaning "something from nothing," and leads a short workshop during Jugaad: An Exploration.

#homemade #Drillpressmachine #homemadeinvention How to Make a Drill Press Machine

Folks, Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau knows how you start a Fargo-Moorhead trip: COFFEE. Yes, a fairly obvi...
01/08/2019
A first-timer's itinerary to Fargo (winter edition) | Fargo-Moorhead

Folks, Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau knows how you start a Fargo-Moorhead trip: COFFEE. Yes, a fairly obvious choice.....

But then you stop to see us at the Hjemkomst Center!

Never been to Fargo? This two-day itinerary is a great start for your first trip to Fargo in winter, with things to do, places to eat, and what to pack.

Our bone and fossil collection at the Hjemkomst Center only hints at the marvels of our past, particularly the Red River...
01/07/2019

Our bone and fossil collection at the Hjemkomst Center only hints at the marvels of our past, particularly the Red River Valley's underwater history.

During Earth's Precambrian Period, algae flourished in shallow seas now best recorded in Minnesota's northeastern iron formations (more than 2 billion years old). During the Cambrian Period (540 - 490 million years ago), our landmass sat near the equator on the continent of Laurentia, with large sections of land intermittently slipping below the surface of the ocean and giving rise to a biological record that includes trilobites and cephalopods (the next 100 million years would give us early fish, including early sharks, and the carbon foundations of the Bakken Shale to the west).

By the Late Cretaceous Period (100 - 66 million years ago), North America had drifted northward from both its Cambrian address and its Pangea stopover, and continued taking a more recognizable shape. However, our coastal mountains and plains were split in two by the Western Interior Seaway, a shallow sea stretching from the Gulf of Mexico into the Arctic that pushed eastward into Minnesota frequently enough to periodically cover the Red River Valley in seawater. Sharks and reptiles like the 45-ft mosasaur swam through this seaway past land creatures like triceratops and t-rex on the shoreline until the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) extinction event 66 million years ago.

The Western Interior Seaway dried up during the Cenozoic Era following that mass extinction, but repeated glaciation, particularly during the Quaternary period (2.5 million years ago to the present), brought water to the Red River Valley again. Ice, sometimes in sheets miles-high, crept southward across the globe, reaching its glacial maximum in North America about 25,000 years ago. When the ice receded, Lake Agassiz, the Great Lakes, and markedly higher ocean levels were left in its wake. Fargo-Moorhead, for example, would have been covered by Lake Agassiz for most of the years between 12,000 and 9,000 years ago. At various points this water would have been more than 200-feet deep, about as high as the Radisson in Downtown Fargo today.

Repeated glaciation and erosion brought a fertile silt to the Red River Valley, but it also leveled the topography and buried or destroyed much of our region's prehistoric fossil record. As a result, the fossil records of states like Minnesota and Wisconsin are marked more by the marine and Ice Age life of sharks and mammoths than by the dinosaurs frequently found in Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas.

Address

202 1st Ave N
Moorhead, MN
56560

The city MAT bus makes stops at the Museum upon request. You may call from the gift shop to make arrangements.

General information

Museum admission: HCSCC members Free Adults $10 Seniors + College Students $9 Youth (5-17) $8 Children (4 & under) Free Admission is free from 5 - 8 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month.

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 20:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00
Saturday 09:00 - 17:00
Sunday 12:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(218) 299-5511

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