Category Archives: Herstory

Alive & Well

Experiencing the past through living history
By Leanna Haag 


Learning and fun: What the History Center of Olmsted County’s fifth annual Living History Fair is all about. Boasting a past attendance of 2,100 guests, the event will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 20 and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 21 on the History Center grounds on West Circle Drive SW. The fair offers families a memorable way to learn about history as they interact with period exhibits, live actors and hands-on activities designed to recreate iconic moments from the Civil War era.   Continue reading

This entry was posted in Herstory on June 28, 2019 by rwwpadmin.

Connie Hawley

A supportive community and positive attitude are keys to her success 
By Holly Galbus

Connie Hawley is owner of Luya Shoes and Other Fine Things in Zumbrota and Stillwater, specializing in hand-crafted, well-made, artistically designed shoes from around the world. Since opening the first store in Zumbrota in November 2014, Hawley has experienced both successes and challenges and has learned what it takes to be a business owner in the competitive retail market. A self-described shoe fanatic, Hawley began to consider opening her own business after accompanying her friend and fellow Zumbrota business owner on buying trips. The two agreed there was a need for a shoe store in the area, and after Hawley signed the lease on a newly-renovated building on Main Street in Zumbrota, Luya Shoes was born. Continue reading

This entry was posted in Herstory on May 1, 2019 by rwwpadmin.

Mayowood Greenhouse: A Glimpse into its Unique Past

New construction dominates the narrow stretch of Mayowood Road, but remnants of Mayowood’s idyllic 3,000-acre estate remain, reflected in the rambling span of stone fence, the English style “dragon’s tooth” and other stone structures. Just past the Mayowood Stone Barn, now an event venue, and before the entrance to Mayowood Mansion, is Mayowood Greenhouse Galleries, a property with ties to Dr. Charlie Mayo and Edith Graham Mayo’s grand country estate.


Owned by Rita Hawke Mayo, Mayowood Greenhouse Galleries has a long history of selling European antiques. The shop’s origins trace back to the 60s, when Rita and her husband, Edward “Ned” Martin Mayo, son of Dr. Chuck Mayo and Alice Plank Mayo, renovated Mayowood’s historic greenhouse. 

“The greenhouse wings were remodeled to support the antique business my parents created,” says Lilli Mayo Weivoda. “The building footprint is the same. It’s just enclosed.” 

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This entry was posted in Herstory on April 25, 2017 by Scott Brue.

Anna Stoehr – 113 years of Herstory


Still strong, sharp and stunning

I first met Anna Stoehr when she was only 111. What’s so memorable about her isn’t just that she’s the oldest living Minnesotan, or that she celebrated her 113th birthday in October, or that until April of this year—when she moved into an assisted living community—she was the oldest documented person living independently in the world, but rather that she remembers so much. She is living history.

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This entry was posted in Herstory on November 1, 2013 by Scott Brue.

Voices from the Past


Oakwood Cemetery Walk Honors “Fascinating Women” in Rochester’s History

You are guaranteed to hear voices if you are walking among the gravestones of Oakwood Cemetery on Sunday, Sept. 22. Seven women, long dead, will come to life and tell their stories during the 16th Annual Oakwood Cemetery Walk hosted by the History Center of Olmsted County.

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This entry was posted in Herstory on August 30, 2013 by Scott Brue.

Taking the Lead: Four female trailblazers in Rochester’s political history

taking-the-lead“You are a nice lady, but a woman probably can’t win,” community leaders advised Rochester resident Nancy Brataas during her 1970s campaign for Minnesota State Senate. It was a common theme for women in politics at that time.

When it came to Brataas, those skeptics were right about one thing: she is a nice lady. But they were wrong about the future of women in public policy as Nancy Brataas became Minnesota’s first female senator in her own right in 1975 (Laura Emilia Naplin was technically the first female senator when she filled her deceased husband’s senate seat from 1927 to 1934.) During her 17 years of service, Senator Brataas lists two of her most important legislative victories as the passing of the first Rochester local option sales tax and the positive disposition of the closed Rochester State Hospital. She also successfully recruited and championed her successor—another woman, Sheila Kiscaden. Today, she advises young people, regardless of gender, to “jump with both feet into the ocean of public affairs and civic activities.”

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This entry was posted in Herstory on September 5, 2012 by Scott Brue.

Hattie Mayo – The wife of Will was up to the challenge of being in the Mayo spotlight

0038Hattie Mayo was a true Rochesterite. Born in Rochester on May 4, 1864 as Hattie May Damon, she was the daughter of the town jeweler, Eleazer Damon, and his wife, Caroline Warner Damon. Hattie was raised an only child when her family lost her older sister Emma.

    In 1868, William Worall Mayo, father to Will and Charlie Mayo, and then a prominent member of the school board, had Rochester build the up-to-date Central School. Though only four years old, Hattie loved playing at the school and often could be seen sliding down its stone banisters. Her father decided she might as well attend the school for an education. Hattie was always a good student who loved to draw and read.

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This entry was posted in Herstory on February 29, 2012 by Scott Brue.

The Avalon Hotel – Paving the way for racial equality in Rochester

0027It’s hard to believe, but there was a time not so long ago in Rochester when the color of your skin determined if you could be served at a restaurant or stay at a hotel.

    In the early 1940s, Rochester was basically a white man’s club.Eventually, amid the racially charged climate, something had to change—and it did—at the Avalon Hotel.

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This entry was posted in Herstory on January 9, 2012 by Scott Brue.

Smothered in Love – Reflections on Grandma

GrandmaArticlePhotocopyLots of friends my age are becoming grandmothers. Since I’m too young to be one myself, I’m vicariously enjoying their excitement. Yet, none of them really look old enough either.

    When I picture a grandma, I see a tall, sturdy farm woman in a flowered cotton shirtwaist and ric-rac-trimmed apron. She has tight gray curls tucked in a hair net, big magnifying eyeglasses, and lots of wrinkles, especially when she smiles.

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This entry was posted in Herstory on November 4, 2011 by Scott Brue.