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Jackson County, MN
Historical Society

The Jackson County Historical Society was originally started as the "Old Settlers' Association" 1925. The group continued to have annual picnics until 1929 and then languished. In 1946, Mr. A.E.F. Glaser and Ed Lafot called the group to reorganize and formed the Jackson County Historical Society affiliated with the Minnesota State Historical Society. In the reorganization, a Constitution, By-Laws, and Articles of Incorporation were drawn up. The JCHS is a 501(C)3 non-profit society. For a short time, the society used the farmers room at the county courthouse for meetings and it's display area. By the 1948 the enrollment was 205 members. In 1950 the Halsten-Olson log cabin, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Osmund Halsten, was moved to the county fairgrounds (Jackson) by the society. In 1958 the District-5 schoolhouse followed. Until the 1970's these two buildings and the farmer's room contained the society's collections. A new building was sought when the Farmers Exchange building in Lakefield became available in 1974. Here, the museum has expanded to over 4500 sq feet of a climate-controlled area...with a large amount of display area and small amount of storage. With the help of the fair board, the society moved the Stall Church to the fairgrounds. Throughout the 1970's-80's the Holthe log cabin was rebuilt by the society, and many commemorative signs have been placed around the county.

The Jackson County Historical Society is located in Lakefield at 307 N Highway 86 and can also be viewed here on a google street-level photo. They have extensive resources of indexes, books, files, microfilm (newspapers, censuses, district naturalization papers), and a good knowledge of the people and where they lived through out the county. A number of publications are also available including the following:
Alpha-A Century of History 1895-1995, Sioux Valley High School Reunion 1918-1990, Astri, My Astri (Deb Nelson Gourley (Norwegian Stories), Historic Buildings, We Honor Our Fallen Comrades-In-Arms (Ed Carlson), Delafield Cemetery 1871-1991 (3rd print), Lakefield High School 1900-1990 (remember when), Lakefield 125 years 1879-1979, and more.
To view a few samples of books, click here.

If you request (via phone, email, etc) items requiring research, they will be more than happy to help you. However, they require a prepaid $10.00 research deposit which gets you up to one-hour of research time. Yes, sometimes just finding a date, a name, or a location (or all 3) can potentially take a lot of time. They will check surname files, newspapers, census films, indexes to various plat books, along with any town history books, school information, etc. Additional research, depending on your needs or interest, can be accomodated for $10/hour...prepaid. The society is only partially funded by the county which does not always reach the dollar amounts needed to maintain or upgrade their operations in serving the public effectively. They have utility bills and other day-to-day costs no different than anyone else.

They also have several items on microfilm which can be printed, or, they also can electronically scan many items as well (for a minimal fee) and email the scanned item(s) to you.

Also feel free to inquire about memorial donations or other any general financial or item donations. The historical society also has plenty of history books covering many areas and topics of Jackson County, as well as other products for sale.

Jackson County Historical Society
(Nick Riordan, Director effective 6-1-2021)
PO Box 238
Lakefield MN 56150
Email: jchsmn1925@gmail.com
- Hours -
Mon-Tue-Thu-Fri 9:30am - 4:00pm (closed Wednesdays and weekends)

Effective Sep 2008, membership of the Jackson Co Historical Society is no longer a one-time fee.
Costs have increased in many areas associated with the facility as well as the ability to continue providing a
valued service to members and the general public. Membership will now be renewable on an annual basis.
A lifetime membership is also available for a very resonable fee. See the form for a list of member benefit items.

CLICK HERE to view a printable PDF memberhip form

View Larger Map

scan this QR Code with your smartphone to locate the museum on a map.

April 2021