Logan County Historical Society Museum

Rath-Wald, Carmen. "Logan County Historical Society Museum." Napoleon Homestead, 14 June 2017, 2.


Logan County was established January 4, 1873, and organized September 1, 1884. General John Alexander Logan, a Civil War veteran from Illinois who served as a Congressman and US Senator, and was the unsuccessful Republican candidate for Vice President in 1884, is the county’s namesake. Logan County has an area of 1,003 square miles, reached a peak population of 8,089 in 1930, and according to the most recent census (2010), the population is at 1,990. Towns currently populated within the county are Fredonia, Gackle, Lehr, and Napoleon.

The Logan County Historical Society’s Museum grounds has artifacts from many of the more than 135 years Logan County has existed. On June 6, 2017, eight public history students from North Dakota State University along with associate professor of public history at NDSU, Dr. Angela Smith toured the museum examining the artifacts and learned the history of Logan County. They finished their tour by posing by the caboose for this photo.

Left to right: Brett Mills, Emily Kulzer, Alex Lien, front, Lauren Wiese, behind Lauren, Kaci Johnson, Dean Brooks, Dr. Angela Smith, John Hest, and Kirbie Sondreal.
Jean Hansen, Dr. Angela Smith, Chris Hansen
Kaci Johnson, John Hest and Dean Brooks

Dr. Smith and her field school students arrived in Linton for the Public History Field School on May 30. They presented a plan to the museum board, and, approval in hand, got to work. Their primary objectives were:

  • Exhibit interpretation: research, write, print, and mount professional labels that contextualize and identify the artifacts currently on display in the museum.
  • Exhibit updates: in consultation with members, create or update some of the current exhibits.
  • In consultation with members and professional collection managers, identify fragile textiles and other artifacts that need special storage and handling. Then purchase the appropriate archival boxes, catalog, and store accordingly.
  • Clean and paint as needed.
  • Invite the public to engage with our efforts by offering genealogy workshops, digitization training, oral history opportunities, volunteer training opportunities, and open invitations to visit the museum and talk to students about the work they will be doing.
  • Work with the Emmons County Historical Society and apply for appropriate grants to help cover the cost of the field school. The Tri-County Tourism Alliance supported the work with a $500 donation for archival supplies, and invited Dr. Smith to bring field school students back to the Tri-County area to do similar work for the Logan County Historical Society Museum and other museums in the Tri-County area in upcoming years.

The important work of the students was presented to the public on Friday night, June 9th in the basement of the First Baptist Church in Linton. Dr. Smith will come back to Linton in August for a digital genealogy workshop.

There are many wonderful artifacts at the museum in Napoleon including this wedding top originally worn by Elizabeth Holzwarth when she married Johannes Diegel on November 9, 1904 in Hoffnungstal, Russia.

The Diegels immigrated to the United States and settled in rural Burnstad. They had a family of 14 children. The wedding top was donated to the museum by Esther Fandrich, a daughter who currently lives in Jamestown. The matching skirt to the wedding top, Elizabeth cut up and used for her children’s clothes.

For more information about this column or something else, contact me at the NDSU Extension Service office in Logan County in the courthouse at 301 Broadway in Napoleon, or call 754-2504, or email: carmen.rath.wald@ndsu.edu. I would be glad to help!

Printed with permission of Carmen Rath-Wald and the Napoleon Homestead.


Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller