Humboldt Museum seeking info to expand exhibit

HUMBOLDT — The Humboldt and District Museum is seeking stories, photographs and objects pertaining to specific events and people for the next chapter of the Stories of Humboldt exhibit.

The focuses of the chapter are Rev. Bruno Doerfler (1866-1919), the German American Land Company (est. 1902), the Sisters of St. Elizabeth in Humboldt, James “Doc” Ogilvie, the Trolley Café (1934-1941), the Hobo Jungle (1930s), the Humboldt Lions Junior Band, and the Potash Pete Derby at Stoney Lake.

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Jennifer Fitzpatrick, Humboldt’s director of cultural services, said that all information provided will be kept for research and information purposes, even if it doesn’t make it into the exhibit. 

“This is part of the larger redesign of the museum to ensure that when visitors come, they have stories to view that are specific to our area, not, let’s say, more of a pioneer exhibit,” Fitzpatrick said. 

“We want to ensure the stories are related to Humboldt experiences and we know the community has these fantastic stories.”

The exhibit is planned to be displayed early summer and kept up for about a year.

The first focus, Rev. Bruno Doerfler (1866-1919), was a Minnesota priest who immigrated in the early 1900s. Doerfler would go on to found St. Peter’s Colony.

“We know that there were many faiths here in the early years and our exhibits will be designed to ensure that we have those multiple narratives of the story,” she said. “For this one we’re primarily focusing on St. Peter’s Colony.”

The second focus, the German American Land Company (est. 1902), was part of the drive to encourage immigration to the area, purchasing 100 acres of land.

“We have an excellent archival document that was written in German, primarily to entice people from the United States to come up to this area,” Fitzpatrick said, adding the document has been translated for the exhibit.

“We’re always looking for information. Would that have drawn one of the people who homesteaded in that area to this location?”

The third focus, the Sisters of St. Elizabeth, includes the convent, the nursing school and the hospital.

Fitzpatrick said they’re encouraging people to come forward with stories about the facilities, even if they’re just from the 1990s.

“We really want to encourage people to share contemporary community stories, so if anyone does have any information on the convent, school or hospital we always encourage people to come in and share those.”

The fourth, James “Doc” Ogilvie, was a physician in Humboldt who retired in 1958.

The Government of Saskatchewan didn’t pass a universal socialized hospital care plan until 1947, before then patients were required to pay for their own individual treatments. This presented a cost barrier for many residents.

“Ogilvie was a loved physician in Humboldt, there’s a lot of great stories about his compassion, about how he helped people even if they couldn’t afford to pay him,” Fitzpatrick said. “So we know there are stories out there of Doc. Ogilvie helping people.”

She said in one of those stories that the museum has been told, the doctor accepted firewood for payments resulting in a “ridiculously large” woodpile behind his house.

The fifth focus, the Trolley Café, was a Humboldt café started by two men from 1934 to 1941.

“They were looking for a place to open a café and they couldn’t find one, so they got a streetcar, like a trolley car from Saskatoon,” Fitzpatrick said. “They brought it out, put it on the streets of Humboldt and made it a café.”

Due to the lack of locks, Fitzpatrick said the duo had to keep the business open 24 hours a day.

“We know a little bit about it, we have a great photo of it and a little bit of a writeup from one of the people involved, but we don’t know what happened to the trolley.”

The sixth focus, the “Hobo Jungle,” was a place in Humboldt near the south west of the train station in the 1930s.

During the Great Depression it served as a safe place where men who rode the trains looking for work could gather and share information about where to find food, employment and shelter.

The seventh focus, the Humboldt Lions Junior Band, was started in the early 1950s and went until the 1970s.

“This is one of the marching bands, people remember they had the purple and yellow uniforms. I think a lot of people remember going down to a marching competition in Williston, North Dakota, it was kind of an annual event,” Fitzpatrick said.

“If they have great stories like that we’d be interested to just hear about those contemporary stories.”

The eighth and final focus of the exhibit is the Potash Pete Derby at Stoney Lake.

This is one that Fitzpatrick said they don’t have too much information on, which they hope to change through community members reaching out.

“I believe it’s in the 1970s and ‘80s, and I think it was at Waldsea Lake as well, but this is what we need community members to tell us. It involved things like distance running, swimming, canoeing. It was like a team event.”

To contact the museum to submit a story, community members can phone 306-682-5226 or email humboldt.museum@sasktel.net.HUMBOLDT — The Humboldt and District Museum are seeking stories, photographs and objects pertaining to specific events and people for the next chapter of the Stories of Humboldt exhibit.

The focuses of the chapter are Rev. Bruno Doerfler (1866-1919), the German American Land Company (est. 1902), the Sisters of St. Elizabeth in Humboldt, James “Doc” Ogilvie, the Trolley Café (1934-1941), the Hobo Jungle (1930s), the Humboldt Lions Junior Band, and the Potash Pete Derby at Stoney Lake.

Jennifer Fitzpatrick, Humboldt’s director of cultural services said that all information provided will be kept for research and information purposes, even if it doesn’t make it into the exhibit. 

“This is part of the larger redesign of the museum to ensure that when visitors come, they have stories to view that are specific to our area, not let’s say more of a pioneer exhibit,” Fitzpatrick said. 

“We want to ensure the stories are related to Humboldt experiences and we know the community has these fantastic stories.”

The exhibit is planned to be displayed early summer and kept up for about a year.

The first focus, Rev. Bruno Doerfler (1866-1919), was a Minnesota priest who immigrated in the early 1900s. Doerfler would go on to found St. Peter’s Colony.

“We know that there were many faiths here in the early years and our exhibits will be designed to ensure that we have those multiple narratives of the story,” she said. “For this one we’re primarily focusing on St. Peter’s Colony.”

The second focus, the German American Land Company (est. 1902), was part of the drive to encourage immigration to the area, purchasing 100 acres of land.

“We have an excellent archival document that was written in German, primarily to entice people from the United States to come up to this area,” Fitzpatrick said, adding the document has been translated for the exhibit.

“We’re always looking for information. Would that have drawn one of the people who homesteaded in that area to this location?”

The third focus, the Sisters of St. Elizabeth, includes the convent, the nursing school and the hospital.

Fitzpatrick said they’re encouraging people to come forward with stories about the facilities, even if they’re just from the 1990s.

“We really want to encourage people to share contemporary community stories, so if anyone does have any information on the convent, school or hospital we always encourage people to come in and share those.”

The fourth, James “Doc” Ogilvie, was a physician in Humboldt who retired in 1958.

The Government of Saskatchewan didn’t pass a universal socialized hospital care plan until 1947, before then patients were required to pay for their own individual treatments. This presented a cost barrier for many residents.

“Ogilvie was a loved physician in Humboldt, there’s a lot of great stories about his compassion, about how he helped people even if they couldn’t afford to pay him,” Fitzpatrick said. “So we know there are stories out there of Doc. Ogilvie helping people.”

She said in one of those stories that the museum has been told, the doctor accepted firewood for payments resulting in a “ridiculously large” woodpile behind his house.

The fifth focus, the Trolley Café, was a Humboldt café started by two men from 1934 to 1941.

“They were looking for a place to open a café and they couldn’t find one, so they got a streetcar, like a trolley car from Saskatoon,” Fitzpatrick said. “They brought it out, put it on the streets of Humboldt and made it a café.”

Due to the lack of locks, Fitzpatrick said the duo had to keep the business open 24 hours a day.

“We know a little bit about it, we have a great photo of it and a little bit of a writeup from one of the people involved, but we don’t know what happened to the trolley.”

The sixth focus, the “Hobo Jungle,” was a place in Humboldt near the south west of the train station in the 1930s.

During the Great Depression it served as a safe place where men who rode the trains looking for work could gather and share information about where to find food, employment and shelter.

The seventh focus, the Humboldt Lions Junior Band, was started in the early 1950s and went until the 1970s.

“This is one of the marching bands, people remember they had the purple and yellow uniforms. I think a lot of people remember going down to a marching competition in Williston, North Dakota, it was kind of an annual event,” Fitzpatrick said.

“If they have great stories like that we’d be interested to just hear about those contemporary stories.”

The eighth and final focus of the exhibit is the Potash Pete Derby at Stoney Lake.

This is one that Fitzpatrick said they don’t have too much information on, which they hope to change through community members reaching out.

“I believe it’s in the 1970s and ‘80s, and I think it was at Waldsea Lake as well, but this is what we need community members to tell us. It involved things like distance running, swimming, canoeing. It was like a team event.”

To contact the museum to submit a story, community members can phone 306-682-5226 or email humboldt.museum@sasktel.net.

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