The St. Ansgar Heritage association, who aims to further promote and celebrate the history and heritage of our town, have since 1994 held an annual fundraiser on February 2 to recognize the feast day of Saint Ansgar, the Scandanavian monk for whom Rev. C.L. Clausen and his colony named this settlement in 1853. The event is held at the parish center of the First Lutheran Church, close to the site of where Clausen’s congregation first met, first known as the Norwegian Lutheran Church.
Attendees that afternoon bid on silent auction items donated to the Heritage association by numerous local businesses and individual members, from Leanna Hendrickson’s delicious pecan pie, chamber bucks, or gift certificates for local businesses in addition to a few homemade crafts and antiques, the wide variety of goods assured that there was something for everyone.
Your $10 ticket got you, in addition to your meal of scalloped potatoes and ham, a professional appraisal by Terri Lynne and Ric Lancaster, appraisers of antiques and collectibles who gave their opinions on numerous pieces brought in by members of the community for appraisal.
The heritage’s lifeblood, the museum, is located at 126 W Fourth Street in a 1920’s era building that first housed Walter Moe’s plumbing shop. Luther Tollefson later bottled milk and made and sold ice cream there until the Neeley family purchased the building and started a dairy and drive-in there in 1956. The building came full-circle again, returning to use as a plumbing shop for a number of years before the Heritage Association purchased the building in 1998, opening the museum in 1999. Proceeds from the fundraiser go towards managing the museum building and related expenses.
The museum is open by appointment only during the winter, and will be open regularly during the spring. Visit stansgarheritage.org for more information and keep reading the EJ for updates for when the museum reopens in May.