About The Museum

Hubbard County Historical Museum

Welcome to the Hubbard County Historical Museum!

This historic building we are located in is the original Hubbard County Courthouse, built in 1900. Originally, the town of Hubbard was to be the county seat, but in October 1897 the Great Northern Railroad extended its line north through Park Rapids bringing commerce and visitors.

hubbard county historical society museum logo line drawing brown

Over the stairway, you can view a portrait of Lucius Hubbard who served as Governor of MN from 1882-1887 and for whom our county is named. The walls have been painted the color they were when the courthouse was first built. You may notice that many of the doors off the main hallway are still labeled with the offices that they housed. The courthouse has walk-in eight vaults mostly used to protect documents from the threat of being destroyed by fire. These had to be built first and then the rest of the building was constructed around them because of the foundations required to support the weight of the vaults.

To the left of the entrance is a scale model of the courthouse built by local resident Rod Karl. You may notice the courthouse originally had a cupola atop the roof. During WWII men stood to watch in the cupola to search the skies for enemy planes.

The room to the left of the model we refer to as the Heritage Room. Upon entering you will see artifacts from the original inhabitants, native Americans from the Anishinaabe tribe. Artifacts include early fire-starting stones, rocks shaped for use as weapons like arrowheads, and battle axes. There are also examples of native beadwork, ceremonial attire, and photographs. As you proceed through the room it transitions to many items from around the time immigrants began to settle in this area. These include fancy china dishes furniture pieces and the accouterments people used during the Victorian era.

You can pass through the vault containing early sewing machines to the Antique Tool Room. In this room, there are horseshoes, yokes used for oxen teams, tools, and household machines used for things such as canning.

The one-room School House contains desks and pieces from the trout creek log schoolhouse in Lake George. The desks have fancy ironwork sides and holes in the desktop for jars and a groove for quill pens. Most of the students’ everyday work was done on little chalkboards. Teachers were in their late teens and unmarried. There is a potbelly stove for heat and a pottery crock for water.

The one-room Pioneer Cabin is a stark contrast to homes today. Early settlers slept, ate, and lived in a single room. Most things were handmade. There were no conveniences such as electricity or running water.

The Toggery houses our collection of vintage clothing. People dressed much more formally than we do today. The collection of dresses shows examples of embroidery and many required corsets. Hooks were used to buttoning shoes. Both men and women wore hats. There are beaded purses. If you look closely you will find a feather worn by Debbie Renolds in the Unsinkable Molly Brown.

one room pioneer cabin living

After you pass through the other door in the one-room cabin, the room on your left contains Research material about people and places, people use to do genealogy work. There are also many historic maps and photographs in this room and the vault.

Continuing on, directly in front of you there is a room of Military memorabilia. It houses uniforms and hats representing many branches of the military and spans primarily from the Civil War through WWII. A huge image of Lincoln graces the wall directly above a case of civil war artifacts. There is a leather saddle from the Civil War, cannon balls, weaponry, and …?

As you exit the military room, you will notice a stairway that leads to the rest of our collection on the lower level. The lower level features a display of kitchen and laundry implements and rooms for service organizations, alumni memorabilia, resorts and local businesses, a technology room, and medical and dental equipment.

Heading downstairs you will notice information about the history of women’s right to vote. This display was recently acquired from the League of Women Voters. On the left, you can enjoy a nostalgic baseball uniform from Park Rapids’ past.

Directly in front of you at the bottom of the stairs is a display of milk bottles from local creameries and items commonly used by homemakers to cook and do laundry. At the southeast corner of the building is the room we are building displays to honor local service organizations. There are Boy Scout and Campfire Girl uniforms, and an extensive collection of Lions Club and Rotary memorabilia. We have a display featuring the Eastern Star and some artifacts from the Oddfellows and the Daughters of the American Revolution. We are hoping to add more artifacts to honor the Legion, 4H, the League of Women Voters, and the Masons.

Next door is the Grace Olson Memorial Alumni Room. Grace Olson was a beloved local teacher. The room houses yearbooks and reunion memorabilia from primarily Park Rapids and Nevis. Also on display are homecoming buttons, uniforms from school sports teams, and sporting equipment.

On this side of the hallway take a stroll back in time to the 1960s and 1970s. Displayed are nostalgic games, candies, phonograph albums, and souvenirs from events that speak to those of us that grew up in that era.

The Resort and Local Business room had information about some local businesses and features a corner dedicated to the memorable Fullers Tackle Shop which for many years ran a fishing contest. Books document the species and weight of fish entered and the chance to have your catch displayed on ice in Fullers’ window was popular. Following the east wall is a display of Logging Days buttons. The north half of the room had information, brochures, and photographs from many of the local resorts. Heading back toward the door, there are some post office items on display. As you exit the Resort and Local Business room, you will pass a display case containing items from and about Itasca State Park, the Headwaters of the Mississippi River.

Around the corner from the Fred Fulton Display, you enter the Technology Room. We have quite a collection of photographic equipment. We have an antique switchboard from Osage and examples of early telephones. We house an extensive number of typewriters and office equipment. There is even a Braille typewriter.

To the right is a room documenting early medical and dental equipment. There are items donated by a local pharmacist including two signs and rolls of pharmacy labels. There is an early nurses uniform on display and photographs of early hospitals and physicians. An early baby incubator is on display along with artifacts from dentists and physicians from Park Rapids’ past.

Head back through the technology room and down the stairs to find our Logging Room. On display are logging tools and artifacts from the logging era. We are particularly proud of the scale model diorama created by local Jerry Ritola that depicts a “rut cutter/snowplow”, a “water wagon” used to put water on the ice tracks at night, and a “log jammer/narrow track sleigh” used on the ice track and a “swing-dingle” that carried noon meals for the loggers.