On January 24, 1874, the Old Settlers' Association was founded. The qualifications for membership were one dollar dues and to have been a settler in Minnesota before 1857. The purpose of the association was to collect and record "traditions, reminiscences, hopes and fears, facts and fancies of our early history. " When the Old Settlers' Association was disbanded in 1928, the $2.94 left in the treasury was turned over to the newly formed Rice County Historical Society. Although the RCHS was not officially organized as a historical society until 1926, it traces its roots back to the Old Settlers' Association.
One of the founding members of the Rice County Historical Society was Dr. Clyde Augustus Duniway. A Carleton College History professor and world traveler, Duniway was committed to the historical society and its mission. In his last address to the society, Duniway reminded the society that "continuing to make people see the good things to be found in the history of Rice County."
When the Buckham Memorial Library was being planned in the 1920's, plans included a room on the third floor dedicated to the displays of the RCHS. The RCHS began collecting buildings in the 1940's, by saving the Alexander Faribault House from destruction. In 1954, the Holy Innocents Church was moved to the fairgrounds. Because of the extensive repairs needed, the church was not opened to the public until June 1970. The Pleasant Valley School was also purchased in 1954, by the Rice County Agricultural Society, and operated by RCHS. A log cabin built in the 1850's was added in 1963.
The Rice County Historical Society moved out of the library to the fairgrounds in 1979. The RCHS refurbished an old county building that now houses exhibits, as well as the society's collections and offices.
The one of the founders of the RCHS was Dr. Clyde Augustus Duniway, the chair of the history department at Carleton College and a noted historian. In memorandum his fellow board members had this to say: "By his dignified presence and his insistence on the worthwhileness of the collection of historical material - even that reposing in dusty attics - he made the members of this society feel that their organization was an important one, as the custodian of records of history, culture and tradition." Under Dr. Duniway the society presented talks and papers on subjects ranging from pioneers to industry.
Today, the RCHS continues in the tradition of Dr. Duniway and the other founding members of our society. We are committed to preserving Rice County's past and to sharing it's history with future generations.
Your donations help:
Donations are used to continue the public programming and outreach activities of the Rice County Historical Society including but not limited to: History Camp, busing scholarships for schools, programs, and hands on workshops.
There are many ways you can get involved.
Click here to learn more: