This spring, the celebrates 40 years of preserving the community’s past.
The 100-member organization is nestled in a corner of the , which volunteers keep open from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Members don’t just preserve the past; they share it with anyone interested in Hopkins history.
Here are five things you should know about the Hopkins Historical Society.
The society has been around since 1972: Founders Clint Blomquist, Adolph Sidla, James Shirley, Myrtle Bjorkland, Mary J. Heiges and Deloris Olson got together to get the society off the ground. Current board member and former Hopkins mayor Jerre Miller drew up the legal documents. Because the organization included the head of the city library (Heiges), a city building inspector (Blomquist) and a Zoning and Planning Commissioner (Shirley), the group was housed in the basement of and used the council chambers for meetings. It later met in a Fourth Street home it acquired. But in 1980, the City Council gave the society space in the then-new Activity Center, which it rents from the city for a dollar.
The society has a large, searchable collection of digitized photographs: The Hopkins Historical Society started digitizing its collection in 2005. It has since put together a digital archive of more than 7,000 photos covering virtually every aspect of Hopkins’ past. Homeowners can see historic photos from a 1950s-era project to photograph every house in the city. Genealogists can look at a sizeable collection of school photos. Residents can see photos of past Raspberry festivals, including images of Raspberry royalty. There are aerial shots, photos of businesses, pictures of churches and much, much more.
“You name it, we have a photo that’s digitized,” said board member Jennifer Timmers.
The society isn’t a museum of artifacts: You won’t find the old plows common in so many local history museums. Instead, the society is what Timmers dubbed “an intellectual storehouse.” It has Hopkins city and business records dating back to the community’s earliest days. It has a sizeable collection of local newspapers and magazines. It has family memorabilia. There are even historic videos and audio taped interviews with local families. So sure, the society doesn’t focus on old farm equipment, but it has the even-more-valuable records to piece together virtually any aspect of Hopkins history.
The society isn’t just about its collection at the Hopkins Activity Center: Hopkins Historical Society members reach well beyond the organization’s walls to educate residents about the community's past. They offer historical tours of Mainstreet to groups and during festivals. They speak at events. And they host meetings and class reunions for groups interested in Hopkins history. In 2011, they even awarded a Hopkins history book to each graduating senior. Members have a ton of knowledge and are happy to share that with the community.
The society depends on volunteers: Volunteers with a love of history keep the Hopkins Historical Society running. The organization is always looking for those who want to pitch. It’s also always looking for new members. Membership costs $10 and is tax deductible. New or renewing members receive a quarterly newsletter, free or discounted research assistance and a calendar of events and meeting announcements. Click here for more information or call the society at 952-548-6480. Be sure to include your name and full mailing address.