Historic Forestville

Historic Forestville Located in Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park.
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Now opened on Saturdays in May, September & October. Core season -Memorial Day Weekend - Labor Day - Thursdays Fridays, Satuday & Sundays Educational & Group Tours by reservation only April - October Historic Forestville is a 1st person living history museum operated by the Minnesota Historical Society. Travel back in time to the year 1899 and chat with costumed guides portraying actual residents. Browse authentic merchandise in the Meighen General Store or feel the warmth and enjoy the aroma of a 19th –century working kitchen.

06/01/2020

A week ago, George Floyd was murdered. To the Floyd family, we express our heartfelt condolences. We share the deep hurt that our friends, family, and community are feeling in the wake of Mr. Floyd’s death.

We know that these are historic times. But sadly, Minnesota’s history is marked by other incidences of racial violence. We know the names of Philando Castile, Jamar Clark, and now George Floyd, by heart. We should also know the names of Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie. Two weeks from today, June 15, marks 100 years since a white mob in Duluth lynched these three black men who had been falsely accused of a crime.

Understanding history matters more than ever in times like these. It is a lens through which we view the experiences of others and empathize with their struggles and triumphs. It is a way that we build a deeper understanding of the events that brought us to the crossroads we find ourselves in today. It challenges us to demand better from our community, from our civic and cultural institutions and perhaps, most importantly, from ourselves.

History can be a bridge that lets us cross the divides that separates us. At the Minnesota Historical Society, we commit to using the power of history to help Minnesota become a more reflective, inclusive and empathetic community.

Kent Whitworth, MNHS Director and CEO

This Thursday we're going to take a look at an item that's hanging in the store.  What is the netting that's hanging ove...
05/28/2020

This Thursday we're going to take a look at an item that's hanging in the store. What is the netting that's hanging over the post?

Recreational fishing around Forestville has been a popular past time for as long as there have been people here. The ear...
05/26/2020

Recreational fishing around Forestville has been a popular past time for as long as there have been people here. The earliest reference to the state stocking fish that we've been able to find dates to May 4, 1880, when R.O. Sweeny of the Minnesota Fish Commissioners wrote to Thomas Meighen promising to send brook trout for Forestville's streams.

Thanks to the generous support from the Carl and Verna Schmidt Fundation in Rochester, one of the things that we will be...
05/23/2020

Thanks to the generous support from the Carl and Verna Schmidt Fundation in Rochester, one of the things that we will be working on over the course of the Spring/Summer here at Forestville is improving access to the Root River from our historic site. The photos show the beautiful spot where you’ll end up at the end of the trail.

This is sitting in the kitchen of the house and is really important for the morning routine.  What is it?
05/21/2020

This is sitting in the kitchen of the house and is really important for the morning routine. What is it?

Along with having a great story, Historic Forestville is full of all kinds of artifacts.  On Thursday’s we’re going to s...
05/14/2020

Along with having a great story, Historic Forestville is full of all kinds of artifacts. On Thursday’s we’re going to start posting pictures of what we think are interesting things and let you all take a guess at what they are in the comments. The clue for our first photo: this object in the office.

A picture of John Lind is hanging on the wall of the office in the Meighen residence. The Populists in Minnesota endorse...
05/11/2020

A picture of John Lind is hanging on the wall of the office in the Meighen residence. The Populists in Minnesota endorsed Lind on his run for governor. As Thomas Meighen was a prominent populist we know that Lind dined at Forestville on a few occasions during his 1899 campaign. For more info on John Lind, you can read all about him on MNopedia: https://bit.ly/2xKa0Iz

The exterior preservation project at Forestville has begun! There is a lot that will be happening over the next few mont...
05/08/2020

The exterior preservation project at Forestville has begun! There is a lot that will be happening over the next few months, so we will be posting picture updates here on Facebook. While the site is closed, you can also check out the progress for yourself next time you're hiking or riding at the state park.

05/06/2020

Good Morning! Many people are talking about extra cleaning and organizing during the stay at home orders. Did you know that in the 1800's keeping a "perfect" home was what most women aspired to. The Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping published in 1880 has this to say: "Housekeeping, whatever may be the opinions of the butterflies of the period, is an accomplishment in comparison to which, in its bearing on woman's relationship to real life and to the family, all others are trivial. It comprehends all that goes to make up a well-ordered home, where the sweetest relations of life rest on firm foundations, and the purest sentiments thrive."

Don't you just love the reference to the "butterflies"? Do you think they may have been referencing the suffragettes?

05/03/2020
KSMQ's "Off 90" Episode 1103

To our friends who do not live locally; if you would like to see a short segment from our Women of Forestville tour, here is the link. It starts at 1:15 into the program.

https://youtu.be/WZoFx3DNVLg

In this episode of Off 90: A look at the lives of pioneer women in Historic Forestville, a dredging project in Albert Lea, a magazine for pet lovers, artist ...

Thanks to Don Paulsen for sharing this early morning photo of Forestville from earlier this Spring.  It is a great shot ...
04/29/2020

Thanks to Don Paulsen for sharing this early morning photo of Forestville from earlier this Spring. It is a great shot of the Meighen barn and Milky Way.

04/25/2020

Hello Historic Forestville Friends and Fans.
If you are interested in viewing a segment of the Women of Forestville tour on the show Off 90 from KSMQ out of Austin on channel 15.1 on local channels, tune in this evening at 5:00 pm. For those that live further away, it will hopefully be on their website next week.

We are living in a historic moment. The Minnesota Historical Society is collecting and preserving Minnesotans’ stories r...
04/24/2020

We are living in a historic moment. The Minnesota Historical Society is collecting and preserving Minnesotans’ stories related to the COVID-19 health crisis so future generations can learn how the pandemic has impacted our lives. We invite you to read a sampling of these stories here and to share your story by clicking the link http://www.mnhs.org/blog/historyisnow. #HistoryIsNow

04/23/2020

This recipe from the Buckeye Cookery goes out to Marla who mentioned in a comment that it was a favorite of hers.
Tin-Wedding Cake
One cup butter and three of sugar to a cream; add one cup milk, four of flour, five eggs, one tea-spoon cream tarter, half tea-spoon soda, one fourth pound citron. This makes two loaves.--Mrs. J.H. Ferris, South Norwalk, Conn.

What the heck is citron? It is a melon easily grown in gardens. However, it is not sweet, so it is made palatable by candying it in heavy syrup and then used for baking. We often told visitors that it was the clear fruit in fruitcake. It is still used today in most fruitcake recipes and can be found in the baking aisle. The recipe above calls for loaves, but also bakes well in a small bunt like pan. It is much like pound cake with a sweet surprise!

For the continued safety of our staff and visitors, we have decided to keep our historic sites, museums, and library clo...
04/16/2020
COVID-19 Update

For the continued safety of our staff and visitors, we have decided to keep our historic sites, museums, and library closed and cancel all in-person events, field trips and rentals through June 30. This is in response to ongoing concerns over maintaining recommended social distancing practices in our public locations.

MNHS will also furlough a number of staff starting May 1 through June 30. To learn more visit our website at mnhs.org/covid-19.

The health and safety of our guests, volunteers, and staff is our highest priority. MNHS is closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19, and we are in regular contact with local and state health officials.

The view from the trails in the hills to the east of Historic Forestville.  You can just see the buildings through the t...
04/13/2020

The view from the trails in the hills to the east of Historic Forestville. You can just see the buildings through the trees.

About a ¼ mile north of the Forestville general store there is a small parcel of land surrounded by trees. This was the ...
04/09/2020

About a ¼ mile north of the Forestville general store there is a small parcel of land surrounded by trees. This was the site of another Forestville School House. It was built in 1857 with bricks that came from John Gill’s Forestville brickyard for the cost of $500. Teachers at the school included Milford Benham, the school’s first teacher, and Robert Brown, a Civil War veteran. The school reached its peak under Brown in the late 1860s when it was called the best school in Fillmore County. Forestville outgrew the brick school by the late 1870’s and was vacated by 1880 when the Forestville graded school was built about 3 blocks north. The brick school stood until the late 1890’s when the building was torn down because of its poor condition.
--
Pictured is the spot where it stood the morning of April 9th 2020, and the brick school house as it looked a short time before it was torn down ca. 1895.

04/06/2020

Monday greetings! Today I would like to share a favorite recipe from the Buckeye Cookery:
Spoon Biscuit-One quart sour milk or buttermilk, one teaspoon soda, a little salt, two tablespoons of lard and enough flour for a stiff batter; drop in a gem pan and bake in a quick oven. -Mrs. A.B. Morey.

You may notice recipes were much different in the 1800's. It was expected that you knew the basics of baking and cooking.

Now I will translate the recipe: 4 cups milk with 2 tablespoons of vinegar, or 4 cups of buttermilk, one teaspoon soda, (I would double this) 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of lard (or butter) about 7 cups of flour. The reason an exact amount of flour was never given is because there were not standard measuring devices, so it depended on the vessels that were used and also outside factors such as humidity. A gem pan is like a muffin tin and a quick oven is about 400 degrees and they should bake 15-20 minutes or until they are a light golden brown.
This will make a LOT of biscuits! As a modern twist consider adding shredded cheddar cheese and garlic salt. Yum!

Another interesting Forestville landmark out on the trails is Zumbro Hills Cemetery, which was established on land donat...
04/02/2020

Another interesting Forestville landmark out on the trails is Zumbro Hills Cemetery, which was established on land donated by Major Foster ca. 1855. It is located about one mile north of the visitor center at Historic Forestville. Forestville did not have a church, with services held in people’s homes, so many residents chose to be buried in church cemeteries in nearby towns like Carimona. There were about 35 burials in Zumbro Hills Cemetery with 19 legible stones. The earliest burial that we can see belongs to Hokah Bassett who was just over 1 year old when she died in 1856. Cemetery records from Zumbro Hills no longer exist so we’re not sure how she died but it’s a very sad reminder of how hard life could be during this time.

Historic Forestville's cover photo
04/01/2020

Historic Forestville's cover photo

Signs of the town of Forestville are all over the trails at Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park.  These steps and founda...
03/30/2020

Signs of the town of Forestville are all over the trails at Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park. These steps and foundation belonged to the Forestville Graded School and are found north of our historic site. This was the second school in Forestville built for $1,800 on this spot in 1878 and primarily took in kids from Forestville and Carimona. Students were split into seven grades, G-A , which were split among the classrooms on the first and second floors. The graded school’s first teacher was T.L. name TL Brockway, through pictured here is teacher Myrtle Cummings and her class from 1894.

Requested by school children across Southern Minnesota! Note: the page number may be different if you have a copy of thi...
03/27/2020

Requested by school children across Southern Minnesota! Note: the page number may be different if you have a copy of this book. I bought my copy of the Buckeye Cookery in the 1990’s from a different publisher. It’s the same recipe though! The reason we use this recipe is because the original cookbook that was in the Meighen’s kitchen had an exclamation mark penciled in beside it. *Bakers hint: try adding a teaspoon of vanilla to the recipe *

For the continued safety of our staff and visitors and in compliance with Governor Walz’s March 25 executive order invol...
03/26/2020
History at Home

For the continued safety of our staff and visitors and in compliance with Governor Walz’s March 25 executive order involving public accommodations, the Minnesota Historical Society will extend temporary closure of its historic sites and museums. All historic sites will now remain closed to the public through May 4.

In addition, all public events, field trips, and rentals are suspended through May 4. Until we can welcome you back in person, we invite you to learn about history with us online at www.mnhs.org/historyathome.

Our staff is closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19 and is in regular contact with federal and state health officials.
For more information on the closure, visit our website at www.mnhs.org/covid-19.

Learn about history while at home. Here's a good place to start!

We carry this book in our gift shop. Why? In our collections is an original copy of this cookbook used by the Meighen fa...
03/26/2020

We carry this book in our gift shop. Why? In our collections is an original copy of this cookbook used by the Meighen family. In the coming days I will be sharing recipes and helpful hints from my copy that I have at home. Some may be useful in these days of staying home. Stay safe everyone!

Maybe not the best book to read given our current situation but it is well written and reminds us that it could be worse...
03/24/2020

Maybe not the best book to read given our current situation but it is well written and reminds us that it could be worse! You can order this and many other interesting books at shop.mnhs.org. MNHS members get a 10% discount.

We are very grateful to the Lanesboro Historical Museum who last week passed on a piece of art that came into their muse...
03/18/2020

We are very grateful to the Lanesboro Historical Museum who last week passed on a piece of art that came into their museum with the caption “the stone arches at Forestville” The arches are gone but we’re pretty certain Joel figured out where they used to be. The only clue to the artist is that it was signed “Bill” do any of you know who Bill might have been? If you can help us out that’d be great, because we have no idea.

—Edit—
Thanks to the Lanesboro Museum for pointing out the artist as Matt Bue!

Minnesota Historical Society
03/18/2020

Minnesota Historical Society

This American Red Cross influenza mask bundles and bag were made by Saint Paul Red Cross volunteers at the request of the United States Army. They were for use in Minnesota training camps and by the general population during the Spanish influenza pandemic, 1918-1919.

In response to the Minnesota Department of Health’s newest COVID-19 recommendations, the Minnesota Historical Society ha...
03/14/2020
COVID-19 Update

In response to the Minnesota Department of Health’s newest COVID-19 recommendations, the Minnesota Historical Society has decided to close all historic sites and museums to the public starting tomorrow through March 31.
As part of this temporary closure, all public events, field trips, and rentals are also suspended. Updates about individual events will be available on mnhs.org/calendar and MNHS social media.

The health and safety of our guests, staff, volunteers, interns and community is our highest priority. MNHS is continuing to monitor the news and federal and state health officials’ recommendations. MNHS will regularly reassess this temporary closure.

For more information, visit our website at www.mnhs.org/covid-19.

The health and safety of our guests, volunteers, and staff is our highest priority. MNHS is closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19, and we are in regular contact with local and state health officials.

The sun is shining today and has us thinking about fishing! We have a new hands on leather class  posted to the website ...
03/10/2020
Fly Wallet Workshop

The sun is shining today and has us thinking about fishing! We have a new hands on leather class posted to the website for fly fishing enthusiasts. Take a look, no experience required. Make a new fly wallet and then head to the river after class is complete.

Make your own fly wallet with master craftspeople from Doubletree Leatherworks. Join John and Heather Hill as they demonstrate how to craft a wallet for storing tied flies for use fly fishing.

The river came close to breaking the banks with last weekend’s melt but we’re staying dry so far. #phew
03/09/2020

The river came close to breaking the banks with last weekend’s melt but we’re staying dry so far. #phew

Our season will be starting in about ten short weeks, on May 9th, so Paula did a little decorating in the staff room yes...
02/28/2020

Our season will be starting in about ten short weeks, on May 9th, so Paula did a little decorating in the staff room yesterday afternoon. Our mission statement is at the center of everything we’re trying to do at Historic Forestville so this will serve as a nice reminder of that.

A winter view of Forestville from circa 1900, and about 10:00 AM on 2/20/2020.  It’s kind of funny how about 120 years l...
02/20/2020

A winter view of Forestville from circa 1900, and about 10:00 AM on 2/20/2020. It’s kind of funny how about 120 years later it still isn't that hard to picture a horse pulling someone down Main Street.

Hike the trails around Historic Forestville this spring and see how many lady slippers you can find. Hint for locating: ...
02/19/2020

Hike the trails around Historic Forestville this spring and see how many lady slippers you can find. Hint for locating: they like moist prairies.

Need a pop of summer color to help you through your week?

On this day in 1902 the Showy Lady's Slipper was made the official state flower of Minnesota.

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21899 County Road 118
Preston, MN
55965

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We are still open Saturdays in September and October starting at 10:00 a.m. The last tour of the day goes out at 4:00 p.m. Educational & Group Tours by reservation only April - October Historic Forestville is a museum operated by the Minnesota Historical Society. Guides will lead you through the site telling you the history of the Forestville area. One of the highlights of this tour is the Historic General Store.

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Comments

We love to ride thru the town!!! Especially when we can take an ice cream break!!!😉🤣
We camped at Forestville Mystery Cave State Park and visited Historic Forestville and Mystery Cave. It was a great weekend adventure!
Thank you all for the incredible experience and your hospitality. We had a marvelous reunion. Best, Chris Dempsey - San Francisco
3 women conversing with the men in the barn... Era 1899. Very entertaining.
1899 Saturday night. Men hanging out in the barn.
Visit this hidden treasure of Minnesota, home to states longest cave ..... bring a jacket and enjoy mother nature at its best #forestville #minnesota #onlyinmn #mysterycave Minnesota DNR Outdoor Adventure Center Capture Minnesota Only In Minnesota Explore Minnesota Tourism Minnesota Historical Society Minnesota Department of Natural Resources #maplegrove #mn