Golden Valley Historical Society

Dedicated to the preservation and celebration of our city's history.

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Our Mission

The Golden Valley Historical Society was established in 1974. Its mission is to find, preserve, and disseminate historical knowledge about the City of Golden Valley, Minnesota.

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The Museum is open Saturdays 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

6731 Golden Valley Road, Golden Valley, MN

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SHOP GVHS

Support the Golden Valley Historical Society by purchasing GVHS merchandise or second generation street signs from the City of Golden Valley. Proceeds support our mission.

On Thursday, September 8, the Golden Valley Historical Society will host a talk by Philip Brunelle, artistic director and founder of VocalEssence and an internationally renowned conductor, choral scholar, musical visionary, and Golden Valley resident


“How COVID Resulted in Creative New Ways for Local Arts Organizations to Reach Audiences” is the title of the talk. Brunelle shared that he’ll “relate some of the challenges VocalEssence faced as a result of two-plus years of a pandemic, how it has survived the circumstances, and what the future looks like for Minnesota arts organizations.”

 

Brunelle is Minnesota’s music man. He’s the organist-choirmaster at Minneapolis’ Plymouth Congregational Church and is concurrently celebrating his 53rd anniversary with both VocalEssence and the Plymouth Church.

 

His lifelong mission has been to promote choral arts in all their forms, especially presenting rarely heard works of the past and outstanding new music. Under his leadership, VocalEssence has commissioned more than 300 works to date.

 

Brunelle has conducted the New York Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, and Minnesota Orchestra. He has also conducted at choral festivals and operas on six continents.


For more than 40 years he served as a guest conductor and pianist on American Public Radio’s A Prairie Home Companion.


Brunelle holds five honorary doctorates and has served on the board of directors of the National Council for the Arts. For two decades he was deeply involved with the International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM). In 2002, he served as president of the Sixth World Symposium on Choral Music held in Minneapolis.

Philip and his wife Carolyn have been Golden Valley residents for 51 years and are proud, long-time GVHS members.

 

His Thursday, September 8 talk is at 7:00 pm in the Society’s Historic Church, 6731 Golden Valley Road, Golden Valley. The program is free and open to Society members and the general public. A sure-to-be-fascinating question-and-answer session will follow 

On Thursday, August 11, the Golden Valley Historical Society (GVHS) hosted a reception to honor Mary and Don Anderson’s legacy and to name the chapel of the Historic Church, 6731 Golden Valley Road, in their honor.

 

While age is a relative factor, when two 90-plus-year-olds are still volunteering and still giving back, it’s time to recognize and honor their service which includes Mary’s 23 years as a two-time Golden Valley mayor and member of the city council and planning commission; Don’s nearly 30 years as secretary and guiding force of GVHS; pivotal role in the acquisition and preservation of the Historic Church; support of the creation of the Golden Valley History Museum; and their involvement in civic organizations including Rotary and the League of Women Voters.

 

A commemorative plaque from the GVHS Board of Directors said: “In recognition and gratitude for selfless service and dedication to the Golden Valley Historical Society, the Historic Church, the Golden Valley History Museum, and countless community organizations, from this day forward, the chapel at the Society’s 1882 Historic Church shall be known as ‘The Don & Mary Anderson Chapel.’”

 

A City of Golden Valley proclamation was also read that recognized “Mr. and Mrs. Golden Valley” for their “unselfish and outstanding leadership, caring support for the public welfare, mentorship to countless citizens, and for serving as exemplary role models for our community.”

 

Congratulations and thank you, Mary and Don!

 

Here is a wonderful feature article on Mary and Don by Alaina Rooker, SunPost News:

https://www.hometownsource.com/sun_post/community/historic-chapel-renamed-to-honor-mr-and-mrs-golden-valley/article_356b069c-1da6-11ed-954b-6b4c29298987.html

 

 

And, a short video of the August 11 tribute to Don and Mary by Dustin Scholl and Shannon Slatton of CCX Media:

https://ccxmedia.org/news/golden-valley-historical-society-honors-longtime-volunteers/

 

Thank you, Stan Waldhauser. The photos you see on our website are his.

The Golden Valley Historical Society seeks to contract a qualified museum security survey consultant to conduct a security survey and produce a written report with recommendations. More details are included in the RFP. Bids up to $10,000 are due next Friday August 26. Please reach out with any questions.

You, or someone you know, can be a part of Golden Valley history – protecting its past and planning for its future. The Golden Valley Historical Society (GVHS), which is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of Golden Valley history, has September openings on its Board of Directors. Terms begin September 2022 and are 1-3 years in length.

 

The Board guides policy on management of its Historic Church and Golden Valley History Museum, both located at 6731 Golden Valley Road; acquires and maintains its collection of artifacts, documents, and photographs; and offers public programs, forums, and discussions from September through May.  The Board meets at the Historic Church on the second Wednesday of the month at 6:30 pm.

 

To express interest or just to learn more, contact GVHS Secretary Steve Schmidgall at steventschmidgall@gmail.com by August 15. A visit to goldenvalleyhistoricalsociety.org will provide additional information about the Society.

 

Recent highlights and future GVHS projects:

--The Golden Valley History Museum received an American Association of State and Local History (AASLH) Award of Excellence for its Golden Valley: No Place Like Home exhibit in 2020.

 

--From September 2022 through May 2023, the Board of Directors is participating in a self-assessment project guided by AASLH’s STEPS program.

 

--Monthly programs of historical interest are planned for Society members as well as the general public and take place in the Historical Church

-- GVHS is partnering with local organizations to identify and improve access to Golden Valley’s Native-American, African-American, and Asian-American resources.

--The “Our Town’s Story - Golden Valley” documentary, a collaboration with CCX Media, debuted in 2021, and can be viewed on the GVHS website.

 

--The City of Golden Valley Historic Context Study, which contextualizes the city’s historic resources from 1852 through 1975, was completed in 2021 and is available on the GVHS website.

 

--Continued to host weddings and special events in the Historic Church and sell vintage City of Golden Valley Street signs as keepsakes.

 

Photos: Cheryl Weiler, City of Golden Valley

Remodeling at Golden Valley City Hall resulted in a bit of housecleaning – and a gift to the Golden Valley Historical Society (GVHS). On May 12, the city’s Public Works staff delivered 50 years of historical assets to GVHS. These items include recordings of City Council and Planning Commission meetings back to the 1990s, slides and photographs of city parks and Lilac Festivals from the 1970s, maps, signage, and more.

 

City personnel were pleased to find the proper home for this treasure trove, as preserving and disseminating historical knowledge about the City of Golden Valley is the mission of the Society.

 

The volume of historical materials presents a daunting but exciting task for the volunteer-run GVHS. President Kyle Scott said, “We look forward to systematically reviewing these materials to find the gems most worthy of protecting, preserving, and sharing.”

Left: The John Orth Brewery with Mr. Orth in the foreground. Right: A 1889 depiction of the Germania Brewing Company’s dance hall (foreground) and brewery behind. Submitted by Michelle Terrell, Ph.D., Two Pines Resource Group.

In the vast area that is now Theodore Wirth Regional Park, where the former Village of Golden Valley met Minneapolis, was once the Germania Brewery. Its remains were recently discovered just under the park’s lawn.

 

Across the Mississippi River in Minneapolis at this same time was the John Orth Brewery. Its remains, now under a parking lot, were also recently studied.

 

In 1890, these two long-gone breweries merged with two others to form the Minneapolis Brewing Company, better known today as Grain Belt.

 

In 2010, an archaeological investigation, commissioned by the Minneapolis Park Board, was begun of various areas within Theodore Wirth Park. These studies typically precede proposed developments (roads, trails) that could potentially impact important historic resources.

 

The hidden and largely forgotten history and remains of these breweries were researched and brought to light by a team led by archaeologist Michelle M. Terrell, Ph.D. of Two Pines Resource Group.

 

On Thursday, May 12, Dr. Terrell will present “The Archaeology of Brewing” in a program sponsored by the Golden Valley Historical Society (GVHS) and hosted by Under Pressure Brewing and Blendery, 8806 7th Ave. N, Golden Valley.

 

Dr. Terrell will share how documentary and archaeological research helped tell the story of these two breweries. The 7pm lecture is free (the excellent, craft beer and a bite to eat is not) and open to the public.

 

A fun beer trivia contest will follow the lecture. Be on time or early as seating cannot exceed capacity. Anyone ordering an alcoholic beverage must be 21 years of age or older.

 

Kyle Scott, GVHS president, says: “’The Archaeology of Brewing’ event offered the perfect opportunity to team up with Golden Valley’s own local brewery, Under Pressure Brewing and Blendery, for this fun and informative exploration into local brewing history.”

Lori Ertl, Under Pressure co-owner, says: “We’re excited to co-sponsor an event that links local brewing history -from some of its earliest days in 1887 - to the present. We’d also love to see new folks discover our brewery, enjoy a beverage and beer trivia, and see what creative brewing in 2022 is all about.”

 

Dr. Terrell is an author and trained anthropologist with a Ph.D. in Archaeology from Boston University with over 20 years of experience conducting cultural resource studies in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. She has written and submitted numerous National Register of Historic Places nominations for sites across Minnesota.

 

The Golden Valley Historical Society is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of Golden Valley history. Its mission is to find, preserve, and disseminate historical knowledge about the city.

 

The unique, medieval-themed Under Pressure Brewery and Blendery opened in early 2019, and through perseverance, outstanding customer service, and great products, has survived two years of a pandemic that followed shortly after its opening.

Minnesota Historical Society photographs featuring early curling competitions at the St. Paul Curling Club. Left: circa. 1935.  Right: undated.

Tim McMahon, an avid curler, author, history buff, and past president of the St. Paul Curling Club, will give a presentation entitled, “What the Heck is Curling? The Proud and Storied History of Curling in Minnesota” at the Golden Valley Historical Society on Thursday, April 14.

McMahon comes from a family of curlers who enjoy the sport which originated in Scotland.  He is co-author of “100 Roaring Years on Selby Avenue: The St. Paul Curling Club.”

The book chronicles the history of the St. Paul Curling Club, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the largest curling club in the United States, with over 1,200 members.  Club members have competed in national, international, and Olympics competitions.

The book tells the story of a classic building and a pastime steeped in Minnesota history, from the first bonspiels on the Mississippi River in 1893 to the 2012 centennial of the Selby Avenue clubhouse.

McMahon’s presentation will sample the book’s stories about generations of curlers through the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, the war years, the first women curlers in the 1950s, Olympic curling playdowns in the 1980s, and the popularity of curling today.

An example of this popularity in Golden Valley is the outdoor pub curling leagues on four synthetic “ice sheets,” believed to be the first in Minnesota, for beginners and casual curlers at Brookview Golden Valley.

Come join the fun, including a bit of a curling lesson, on Thursday April 14, 7pm, at the Golden Valley Historical Society’s Historic Church, 6731 Golden Valley Road, Golden Valley.

The program is free and open to Golden Valley Historical Society members and the public. A question-and-answer session will follow.

Haha Wakpadaŋ is the Dakota name for Bassett Creek. This waterway was used by Native American people as they traveled between Medicine Lake (I Capa Cagastaka Mde) and the Mississippi River (Haha Wakpa). Photo credit: Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission.

Rediscovering and reframing: Native American history in the Golden Valley Historical Society Archives – a Thursday, March 10 virtual program

Did you know that one of the earliest pieces of evidence of human activity in Golden Valley is a precontact chipped knife blade? It was discovered during an authorized study near Bassett Creek in 1986.

Or that in the mid-1800s, a Native American woman lived with a Frenchman near what is now Meadowbrook Elementary School?

Join us on Thursday, March 10 for “Rediscovering and Reframing: Native American History in the Golden Valley Historical Society Archives,” when Crystal Boyd will present a virtual program on some of the “hidden” stories discovered in the Golden Valley Historical Society (GVHS) archives. She will share results from a recent project that the GVHS has undertaken to inventory and catalog Native American resources in its collection.

She will share results from a recent project that the GVHS has undertaken to inventory and catalog Native American resources in its collection.

“I look forward to sharing some of the information that has been rediscovered or reframed through this work,” Boyd said. “It’s exciting to expand what the Society knows about the resources in its collection, share it with the public, and stimulate discussion.”

The project, which also inventoried and catalogued African American/Black and Asian American resources in the GVHS collection, is supported by a $9,900 grant from the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants Program and GVHS.

Boyd is the President of Crystal Boyd Consulting LLC. She provides grant writing and project management services for museums, nonprofits, and local governments in Minnesota.

She earned her Master’s degree in Museum Studies from the University of Colorado and has worked with museums for 17 years. Crystal facilitated development of the Golden Valley History Museum, which won a national award from the American Association of State and Local History (AASLH) in 2020. She is also the volunteer collections coordinator for the museum.

GVHS members and the general public are welcome to participate in the 7pm virtual presentation and question-and-answer session. It will be the Society’s second program hosted virtually as the omicron threat continues to recede, but the small size of the Society’s makes physical distancing a challenge.

To join this virtual presentation, choose one of these options:

1) Copy the code below into your browser
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/2526298674

2) Go to https://zoom.com, select the “Join a Meeting” option at the top of the page, then enter meeting number 252 629 8674 when prompted, then your name.

Any presidential visit to your city is a good thing; in this case it was a 2012 visit to the Honeywell plant in Golden Valley by President Barack Obama, the country’s first African American president. This photo is preserved in the GVHS archives with other materials related to Black history in the city. (Photographer unknown)

BLACK HISTORY MONTH

IT HAPPENED IN GOLDEN VALLEY:” A FEBRUARY 10 VIRTUAL PROGRAM ON AFRICAN AMERICAN AND BLACK HISTORY IN THE GVHS ARCHIVES

To commemorate Black History Month, the Golden Valley Historical Society (GVHS) will host a presentation about African American and Black resources that are preserved in its archives. The Thursday, February 10 virtual event will explore items that have been brought to light by a recent GVHS inventory project.

“A thorough process to comb through the Society’s archives has already yielded more than 100 items related to Black history in Golden Valley,” said contractor Crystal Boyd. “This project will ultimately expand knowledge of the city’s history, improve public access to the archives, and honor the lived experiences of Black community members.”

To date, examples of items from the archives include birth records from the early 1900s and school photos from the 1920s, which are some of the earliest documentation GVHS holds of Black families in Golden Valley.

The presentation will cover topics including the Golden Valley Human Rights Commission, the Oliver Lyle lawsuit, and the related pamphlet “It Happened in Golden Valley.”

It will also explore the city’s earliest Black History Month celebrations during the 1980s, gaps in the archives, and potential steps for working with Black community members to preserve local history.

The project is supported by a $9,900 grant from the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants Program and GVHS. A future program will share the project's additional work on identifying Native American resources in the archives.

Boyd is the President of Crystal Boyd Consulting LLC.  She provides grant writing and project management services for non-profit organizations.  Boyd earned her Master’s degree in Museum Studies from the University of Colorado, and she has worked with museums for 17 years.

Boyd facilitated development of the Golden Valley History Museum which, won a national award from the American Association of State and American Association of State and Local History (AASLH) in 2020.

GVHS members and the general public are welcome to participate in the 7:00 pm presentation and question-and-answer session. It will be the Society’s first-ever program hosted virtually due to the current Omicron spike, the small size of the venue, and the City of Golden Valley’s declaration of a public health emergency.

To join this virtual presentation, choose one of these options:

1) Click here on Zoom Meeting 

2) Copy the code below into your browser

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/2526298674

 

3) Go to https://zoom.com, select the “Join a Meeting” option at the top of the page, then enter meeting number 252 629 8674 when prompted, and then your name.

GVHS will take a brief pause in its monthly programming due to the current surge of Covid-19 cases resulting from the Omicron variant and our duty to provide a safe environment for our guests. 

 

We have not scheduled a typical history program for January 2022 in our Historic Church for our members and the public. We will inform you well in advance about our plans for February and beyond.  Thank you for your understanding.

New officers for 2021-22 were selected at the October GVHS Board of Directors meeting. Congratulations to Kyle Jennifer Scott, president; William Ewald, vice-president; Steve Schmidgall, secretary; and David Kuball, treasurer.  Natural leaders Kyle Scott and William Ewald were elected to their positions - and thus the executive committee - during their first term as board members.

 

New president Kyle Scott is a Golden Valley resident, Assistant Vice President of Compliance for Health e(fx), an Equifax company providing ACA Healthcare IT solutions for employers.  She served on the Golden Valley Human Rights Commission from 2016-20221, twice serving as Chair.

 

William Ewald, new vice-president, is employed by Emerson Automation Solutions, is a captain of the St. Bonifacius Fire Department, and has published a book on his family’s dairy business which is a legendary part of Golden Valley history. He’s also been a guest speaker at GVHS programs. 

Many thanks to outgoing board president Ken Huber who served in that role from 2007 to 2021, including the pivotal years of planning and eventual opening of the Golden Valley History Museum.  He is active in a number of history-related groups around town. Ken is particularly known for collecting and restoring antique and vintage children’s riding toys. His rideable collection has become a joy for kids at GVHS booths at city events throughout the years.

 

Don Anderson, a person synonymous with GVHS since its inception, is “retiring” from his role as board secretary – longest in our history - after 33 years. At 91-years-young, Don is reducing his involvement in a myriad of volunteer activities from Golden Valley Historical Society since the mid-80s, to president of the Calvary Center Cooperative, to 45 years with Golden Valley Rotary Club. Don and his wife Mary (former Golden Valley mayor and chair of the Metro Council) are incredibly important in the history of Golden Valley, and their financial contribution was instrumental in making the Golden Valley History Museum a reality.

 

Luckily for the GVHS, both Don and Ken will remain board members and their service will continue. 

The Golden Valley Historical Society (GVHS) received word on September 9 from the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) that it has been awarded a $9,900 Minnesota Historical & Cultural Heritage Grant. The grant is for a proposal submitted in July for “Identifying and Cataloging Native American, African American, and Asian American Resources in the Golden Valley Historical Society Archives.”

Teresa Martin, newly appointed to the GVHS board of directors, said, “This grant makes it possible to inventory the Society’s archives to bring to light items related to three important groups in our community.” It will also facilitate digitizing key items by writing metadata for select pieces from the archives.”

 

In addition, the project will support transcribing presentations about Native American history that were previously recorded on VHS tapes at GVHS’s membership meetings.

 

In June, GVHS solicited bids from potential contractors to complete the project and in July selected Crystal Boyd Consulting LLC to conduct the work.

 

Crystal Boyd said, “I look forward to helping identify stories in the archives that may have been overlooked in the past. This is a great opportunity to begin highlighting diverse experiences throughout the city’s history and expanding dialogue between community members and groups.”

 

David Kuball, GVHS treasurer who wrote and submitted the grant, said, “Completing this project will better prepare GVHS to respond to inquiries about Golden Valley history. This project, for example, will identify items that could enrich community initiatives such as writing a Land Acknowledgment Statement or celebrating Black History Month.”

 

The project’s expected completion date is February 2022.  If you have questions, please contact Teresa Martin at tthmartin@comcast.net.

The Golden Valley Historical Society (GVHS) has completed a project that evaluates Golden Valley’s historic resources from 1852 through 1975. The City of Golden Valley Historic Context Study was begun in 2020 and completed in January 2021. It is one of the most comprehensive research documents ever produced on the history of Golden Valley.

 

Historic context studies typically provide frameworks for evaluating a city’s historic resources based on themes, geographic limits, and chronological periods. The Golden Valley study offers a comprehensive overview of the city’s broad patterns of historical development. These themes can support preservation planning activities that build a future while respecting the past.

 

The 102-page study includes recommendations on how to guide preservation efforts, interpret historic sites, and increase public awareness of local history. The study’s wide-ranging scope includes:

 

  • Early settlement

  • Agriculture and farming

  • Transportation

  • Parks and recreation

  • Social, cultural, and religious activities

  • Commerce and light industry

  • Suburban development and civic life

  • Residential architectural styles

  • Recommendations and future actions

The Society is excited to offer this study as a resource that can inform the public, city officials, local businesses, civic organizations, and researchers about Golden Valley's history and its treasured historic resources. The research was commissioned by GVHS and completed by Thomas R. Zahn & Associates LLC in partnership with project manager Crystal Boyd as well as GVHS and its volunteers.  
Contractor Tom Zahn says the Golden Valley study might be “the most comprehensive multi-themed historical context study produced in the state.” He added that it can serve “as a guide to future evaluation, designation, and good preservation planning practices.”


Project manager Crystal Boyd underscored the importance of the study for city planning efforts. She said, “This context study provides tools to help citizens and planners consider Golden Valley’s historic resources while planning for the city’s future.” 
In an early stage of the project, the Golden Valley city council passed a resolution to support GVHS’s efforts to undertake the historic context study. GVHS secured $9,650 from a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grant through the Minnesota Historical Society. These grants are made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. Additional funding was provided by GVHS.

A key recommendation of the study is to establish a city Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC). This commission could play an integral role in incorporating preservation planning into city development and redevelopment processes.

 

At its February 2 regular meeting, the city council approved a motion to accept its organizational Pyramid of Success for 2021. One of the five organizational priorities for the year is to look deeper into the merits of creating a HPC. City council member Larry Fonnest, who serves on the GVHS board of directors as liaison to the city council, championed efforts to establish a HPC and is excited “that it is now a priority item for 2021, ensuring that further research and discussion will now take place.”

The City of Golden Valley Historic Context Study is now available to the public (click here).

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