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



   This may seem like a strange question for a museum article, but many times the significance of a single family history is overlooked until it is too late to obtain the best information. Don’t let that be the fate of your family’s story!

   At your Enderlin Museum, the volunteers are constantly on the lookout for anything which can help tell the story of our community and we hope you are looking too!  You would be surprised how many times we have been able to help a researcher by just searching the family history files which people have provided, looking through the old photos or the community history books!  Please keep the Museum in mind if you think you have something of interest concerning Enderlin’s past.

    During 2014, progress was made in many areas including the following:

  • Funded and installed the new air conditioner and dehumidifier system which provides a climate controlled environment for the thousands of artifacts (and the visitors!)
  • Hosted regular hours at the Museum – May through September.
  • Purchased and installed the UV-protective Mylar shades in both main exhibit rooms.
  • Replaced the peeling outdoor MUSEUM sign above the front door.
  • Hung backdrops for wall displays including the new large baseball picture.
  • Repositioned the large US flag, the Helen Combs painting of Enderlin and hung a large 1950 quilt-top with embroidered names from the West St. Olaf Lutheran Church area.
  • Held the May Annual Meeting and re-elected all the current members to the Board of Trustees – Gary Adair, Hubert Bleese, Scott DeFehr, Gary Lindemann, Myrene Peterson, Karlton Stordalen and Susan Schlecht. Myrene Peterson and Susan Schlecht agreed to continue as volunteer Museum co-directors.
  • Developed and mounted a display of Enderlin Military Academy graduates.
  • Continued to write weekly articles on the area history for The Enderlin Independent and maintained the Museum website:  www.enderlinmuseum.org
  • Built display panels and developed a display of the historic Lindemann Building businesses including a replica of a section of the lunch counter built by Scott DeFehr.
  • Welcomed many visitors to the Museum and assisted many with their research, both online and in person.
  • Accessioned hundreds of new artifacts.
  • Began planning to make the building handicap accessible. A fund drive is currently underway to make this a reality, hopefully in the near future. (see separate article)
  • Began development of the “History of Music in Enderlin” display. NOTE:  We need your help to locate old EHS band or choir uniforms, photos of local dance bands and musical memorabilia!

   The Historical Society always welcomes new members!  Your annual membership helps fund the current expenses such as electricity, insurance and other supplies. (Membership and Donation Form can be found elsewhere in this publication.) Volunteers are desperately needed to help with projects and greet and assist visitors. Please contact us if you can help!

Capital Campaign Underway
to "Renovate a Restroom"

By Susan Schlecht, Museum Co-Director          

Imagine a public building with no water or restroom facilities!  That is the current situation of the Enderlin Museum but the Board hopes to remedy it! Back in the days when the building was home to the Masonic Temple, there were two beautiful restrooms which had to be discontinued and fell into disrepair when the building was unoccupied.

At a recent meeting of the Board of Trustees, the Board took the next step  by beginning a capital campaign to raise funds to install a Unisex Restroom!  The campaign will be called "Renovate a Restroom" and is currently underway. While the Board will continue to seek grants for the project, private and corporate donations will most likely be needed to provide most of the funds, as they did for the roof and the window projects.

If you believe that a restroom should be included in your Museum building, please consider making a generous donation to help the Board achieve this goal. All donations are welcome and any donation of  $500 or more toward the project will be acknowledged on a permanent plaque at the Museum. In keeping with Board policy, the project will not begin until sufficient funds for the entire project have been received. 





                                 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.



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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