Residents working together to preserve Mabel’s history

The Preservation of Mabel’s History Group has now met two times and will return to work in January. If ever one can see history, the group has already managed to do so.

Last week, members of the group were reading and holding a 1938 letter by the woman whose name the community bears, Mabel Adam Robbins. The members also viewed pictures of the fire department of 1908 that are preserved in a wonderful picture with all men in their uniforms. They also studied Mabel Record Editor Irvin Scheel’s article on “Why I Love Mabel,” recalling  a funny and very creative look at the Halloween prank of the century, the changing of Rushford’s name on its hill to Mabel. Finally, members spent time pondering the volumes of the bound Mabel Records with all the events of many years saved by the Scheels.

The remembrances like these will be lost if residents do not get them collected and saved. There are many that need to be put down into records. Mabel had strong and very fine pioneer families and business people that need to be celebrated for the sake of Mabel’s history.

“One realizes that if we do not get this organized now, our town’s history will probably be lost to the future generations,” said member Dode Stoskopf. “One of the items we are considering is creating an addition to the school’s curriculum, which would be taught in a special time in both the elementary and high school. Taped interviews of both the elders of the community and the veterans from all wars and conflicts have now been done.”

Stoskopf added that a title for whatever has been produced was voted on last week. It will be everyone’s choice before it is finalized; the end result will be voted on by the residents. Over 20 work units on various subjects are complete, and this will be a working base.

For example, a few of the interest units include a school history with former principal Lowell Haroldson heading this section; the doctors, dentists, funeral directors, EMTs, fire fighters and ambulance crew members are headed by Tim Mengis; Steam Engine Days history from beginning on the farms of Hesper to its present grounds headed by the Rasmussen family and residents of Hesper; a tribute to all veterans with a tape of the interview conducted and shared stories, attitudes and respect given to those who served actively for all of us headed by Robert Housker; the banking history headed by John White and Betsey Tollefson Nichols; the trucking lines like Herb Knight, Dick Rufferidge, Bill Welch, Norval Ladsten and others. Every aspect of this community life has a story.

In January, each business operating in town will be asked to submit what they want said about their store as it is today. These short concise statements will go in Mabel’s history book as well as a map of years back prepared by John White that will be placed near a complete map of the present Mabel. Its comparison is worth a look. The group has already collected stories about such things as wages, clothing, the five grocery stores, the fine businessmen and women, the outstanding teachers, as well as much more!

Stoskopf urged people with ties to Mabel to consider coming to the committee meetings. Anyone is welcome. Remember and bring stories and pictures.

“We have a finance group that can provide needed information and seek help from grants and foundations,” Stoskopf said. “One gift has already been donated by an individual wanting to support this venture. It needs your support as individuals and groups within town. We are getting this done basically by wanting to and being committed to working hard on the preservation of Mabel’s history.”

The committee asks individuals to make it real in the next year by supporting and giving help where needed. “We will be reading all the past council notes from years back starting in January,” Stoskopf said. “This reading will be open to anyone who wants to come to the community center. The old reports cannot be taken out of the building; reading times will be publicized. This committee is open to questions and ideas from you. We all know we have lost some of our finest residents, and the present time is where we now can salvage our history.”

Interested individuals may call 507-493-5690 with questions or comments.