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Category: General History

Object Spotlight: Fish Hook Hog Rings

Object Spotlight: Fish Hook Hog Rings

At the Plymouth Historical Society, we have a box of fish hook hog rings made by Decker Manufacturing Company. This company was established in 1878 and is still around today. Originally the company worked predominately with barbed wire, but has since developed many different agricultural products. It is difficult to tell how old the box is, but it is clear the rings must have had some practical purpose on the farm. In fact, nearly the same exact product is still…

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Class Announcement: Early 20th Century Farming

Class Announcement: Early 20th Century Farming

Less than 1% of the population today are farmers. In 1920, it was 30%. What was life like 100 years ago? This is a question I have had ever since I began volunteering at the Plymouth Historical Society. My reasons for asking this question were varied. First, I wanted to better understand my family history — a history deeply tied to agriculture. My father is still farming in Wisconsin many years after his ancestors arrived in the 1830s. I grew…

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Object Spotlight: 1930 Hay Harvest Photograph

Object Spotlight: 1930 Hay Harvest Photograph

I recently came across a photograph at the Plymouth Historical Society that caught my eye. It depicted a man standing in front of an automobile in 1930. The vehicle was barely visible underneath the massive pile of hay on top of what was likely a hay wagon. A small three-pronged fork sat beside the pile and a open barn door was to the rear of the hay pile. If you look closely, a small building sits to the right front…

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Wrecks Discovered in Medicine Lake

Wrecks Discovered in Medicine Lake

Underwater archaeology is having a heyday thanks to improved sonar equipment. This new equipment can record images with increased detail and clarity which eliminates the need to for archaeological teams like those at Maritime Heritage Minnesota to dive on “anomalies” that turn out to be false targets like rocks or trees. In 2016, Maritime Heritage Minnesota completed a survey of 7 suburban lakes using sonar technology. They identified 3 potential wrecks at the bottom of Medicine Lake. This past summer,…

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Object Spotlight: Paris Green

Object Spotlight: Paris Green

Museums often advertise white glove tours. These special tours provide guests with opportunities to touch museum artifacts. The cotton gloves protect the artifacts from oils and fingerprints and protect the wearer from any harmful substances that might be found on the artifacts. At the Plymouth History Museum, we wear blue nitrile gloves to protect ourselves and our artifacts from harm. These gloves came in handy the other day when we came across a seemingly harmless keg. It was clear that…

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A Tale of Two Rocks

A Tale of Two Rocks

Plymouth, MN shares more than just a name with Plymouth, MA. Both cities lay claim to a famous Plymouth Rock. Not unlike the Plymouth Rock made famous by the Pilgrims back in 1620, the Minnesota counterpart has its own compelling origin story filled with drama, intrigue, and controversy. To highlight the connection between Plymouth Rock and Plymouth, MN, the Plymouth Lions Club held a “Plymouth Rock Contest” as part of the City’s 1976 Bicentennial festivities. The Lions wished to provide…

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The Best Kept Secret to Successful Farming, Part II

The Best Kept Secret to Successful Farming, Part II

In The Best Kept Secret to Successful Farming, Part I, I examined W.E. Taylor’s book, Soil Culture and Modern Farming Methods (1913). In it, Taylor implores American farmers to use manure as a primary source of soil fertility maintenance. So where does the United States find itself today? Farming as it once was is essentially gone, replaced by automated dairies and self-driving, GPS-guided tractors on mega farms rather than family farms. There has also been an increasing separation of stock-raising…

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The Best Kept Secret to Successful Farming, Part I

The Best Kept Secret to Successful Farming, Part I

It is an obvious oversimplification to say that the world has changed substantially over the past 100 years. With the dawn of the Internet and the boom of the information and technological age, there are many aspects of our life today that would be unrecognizable to someone living in the 1910s. This idea of advancement of society can make it easy to be dismissive of the past and view it as irrelevant and outdated. It may be a different time,…

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Connect to Plymouth’s Farming Past

Connect to Plymouth’s Farming Past

One of the joys of spending time at the Plymouth Historical Society is the city’s rich farming history. There are many artifacts and documents that help us peer into the past life of Plymouth. Not that long ago, Plymouth was a community that required family farms to survive. Now, Plymouth is a bustling suburb of the culturally rich city of Minneapolis. Those fields are replaced by a much more urban setting with shopping centers, business districts, and a scattering of…

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Object Spotlight: The Yuba Bulletin

Object Spotlight: The Yuba Bulletin

It is hard to even fathom what construction and farming work must have been like over 100 years ago. As I write this, I can hear many construction vehicles reworking Fernbrook Lane right outside of Plymouth’s Old Town Hall, home to the Historical Society. One hundred years ago, similar projects likely would have required the use of horses. The mass use of large machinery was only in its infancy in the 1910s as highlighted by our object spotlight for this…

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