Enderlin Historical Society & Museum



Our Mission

The mission of the Enderlin Historical Society and Museum, Inc. shall be the collection, preservation and dissemination of knowledge about the history of the Enderlin area.

The Enderlin Historical Society and Museum collects artifacts, oral histories and genealogy that pertain to the city of Enderlin and the surrounding community. Among our collections are many historic local photos, athletic trophies, school yearbooks dating back to 1906, early family histories, and Enderlin area memorabilia.

We are working hard to insure the high quality of preservation that our local history deserves. This includes raising funds for museum quality storage materials, instilling professional standards of operations, developing quality exhibits and educational programs.

Getting Started
On February 22, 1967 after Enderlin’s 75th anniversary, ten local residents met to incorporate as the Enderlin Historical Society and Museum. The Jubilee Steering Committee donated all monies and property such as unsold plates, books, etc. to the Society and in November the first officers were elected. By-laws were adopted in 1968. 

Permanent Location

Since that time, several transactions have taken place in an attempt to establish a permanent Museum location. This includes acquisition of the Fingal, ND depot in 1971 from the Soo Line Railroad at no cost except for the moving fee of $460.00.  The depot was placed in Patrick Pierce Park with the intent that it would serve as a museum.  However, due to continued vandalism, the depot/museum was sold to the Enderlin Golf Club in 1976 for $400.00.  In 1972, the Society acquired Lot 29, Block 2, original Enderlin from the city and rented out the garage and lot space for various activities.  In 1990, the Society purchased the Masonic Temple building from the Enderlin Public School District, converted it to a Museum and made improvements costing $13,481.00. This cost,  as well as many, many hours of volunteer time and labor have made the Museum what it is today.  Many artifacts were donated and exhibits have been set up.

Becoming Museum Owners

In 1996, tax exempt status under IRS Code Section 501 (c) 3 was acquired.  Also in 1996, Lot 29, Block 2 was sold in exchange for a new roof on the Museum. At the time of the purchase of the Masonic Temple building, the Soo Line Railroad owned the property upon which the building rested and the Society leased the property.  Later, the City of Enderlin purchased the property from the Soo Line and the Society entered into a 10-year lease-to-own agreement with the city to purchase the Museum property. In 2008, after experiencing financial difficulties, a generous donation allowed the Society to pay off the balance of the lease, thereby becoming owners of the land as well as the building.

The photos below were taken at a May Day program held on the Enderlin School grounds sometime in the early 1920's.

May Day 1920's


                           We DID Windows!
        Thanks to almost unbelievable support, all 40 windows in the Museum have been replaced with new, secure, maintenance-free windows!  Through window sponsorships and other generous donations and grants, the total cost of $42,524.85 was raised to fully fund the project.  Installation was completed in two phases with the final installation in October 2012. What was expected to be a multi-year project was accomplished in slightly over one year!  The new windows are similar in style to the original window in order to maintain the historic appearance of the building. All remaining exterior wood around the windows has been wrapped making the windows totally maintenance free.





The mission of the Enderlin Historical Society and Museum, Inc. shall be the collection, preservation and dissemination of knowledge about the history of the Enderlin area.                                                               

     This past year has been another year of outstanding progress for the Historical Society and Museum. Thanks to a generous Cultural Heritage Grant from the State Historical Society of ND through the ND Legislature, a grant from the Ransom County Economic Development Fund and many individual donations, installation has been completed on the dehumidifier system in the lower level and the air conditioner system in the upper level. These systems were necessary to aid in artifact preservation by lowering the humidity levels to better meet museum standards and by maintaining cooler temperatures upstairs during the extreme summer heat. An added benefit will be providing a more comfortable atmosphere for our visitors.

Many other activities were also taking place at the Museum and within the Historical Society during the past year. Following is a partial listing:

  • Held the Annual Meeting and re-elected all members to the Board of Trustees Members of the Board are: Gary Adair, Hubert Bleese, Scott DeFehr, Gary Lindemann, Myrene Peterson, Susan Schlecht and Karlton Stordalen. Myrene and Susan agreed to continue as volunteer Museum co-directors.
  • With a $1,000 grant from the ND Community Foundation and additional donations, purchased and installed 12 more UV-protective window shades.
  • Hosted regular hours at the Museum – May through September.
  • Developed additional displays including a toy display, Scouting display, continued development of a kitchen display area, completed preservation of the Fritz Truck Line display, and continued work on other displays.
  • Attended workshops and developed a Disaster Preparedness Plan, which then qualified the Museum for $373 to be used toward purchase of items for a Disaster Recovery Kit.
  • Continued to write weekly articles on the area history for The Enderlin Independent and The Independent of Barnes County.
  • Enrolled in the StEPS program for small museums to help board members and the volunteer staff document progress toward meeting the national museum standards.
  • Welcomed many visitors to the Museum including school classes for educational tours and reunion classes; assisted many others with their research.
  • Began work on revision of the short and long range goals for the Museum.
  • Began planning for an endowment fund for the Museum.

     The Historical Society began the 2013 calendar year with a beginning balance of $4,151.81. During the 2013 calendar year, the Historical Society received $18,511.15 in revenue of which $8,272.00 was donated specifically for the dehumidifier/air conditioner project, $6,403.21 was received from general donations, $1,120.00 from membership dues, $360.00 from memorials, $6.11in interest income, $2,281.83 in other grants and $68.00 from the sale of merchandise. Expenditures for 2013 totaled $4,498.96, including expenses for displays, electricity, museum supplies, insurance, building repairs and shades, advertising, professional services, and fundraiser expenses.  The Historical Society ended the 2013 calendar year with a balance of $18,164.00 which included $8,272.00 designated for the dehumidifier/air conditioner system (which has recently been installed), and $2,171.07 in dedicated funds designated for future Medical Displays.

    This is an exciting time for the Enderlin Historical Society and Museum as we continue to grow and plan for the future! As always, we will continue to work to preserve the history of our community for future generations through interpretive displays and artifacts. In addition to planning for an endowment fund, other future plans include additional landscaping to alleviate drainage issues, work on signage, continued work toward meeting additional national museum standards, planning for accessibility and restrooms and planning Museum activities for the 2016 celebration.

    None of this can be accomplished without the support of the community and descendants of former community members and without volunteers to actually do the work! Your support is essential if we are to continue to grow!

    Remember, this is your history too…..let’s preserve it!


Board Meetings 
Board Meetings are scheduled for the third Wednesday of each month - April through October
(e-mail info@enderlinmuseum.org for exact time and location)

Planning for the Future
The Historical Society Board of Trustees has developed a set of basic plans to provide direction as they move into the future. Please follow the attached link to view the basic outline of these plans.

Long and Short Range Goals

          Ralph's Red Owl - 1940's
                    Ralph Wavra, Manager 
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