AUSTIN EDITION - HORMEL HOME COL Cooks first owners of George, Lillian's home

There are many wonderful historical places in this town, and with 2006 being our sesquicentennial, we are bound to have a story or two.

The Hormel Historic Home, formerly the YWCA, is no exception. Now 133 years old, the home has a past that not many people are familiar with:

Prior to George and Lillian purchasing the home, it was owned by John F. Cook. He was of the third generation of Cooks to live in Austin. The son of John F. Cook Sr., the son of the Rev. Stephen Cook, the first Congregational minister in Austin and the man who brought his family to the area.

John Sr. was a successful merchant and real estate owner and was associated with the retail business. Later he was with railroading in Iowa and came to Austin in 1854 but did not remain long at that time. He returned in 1856 and purchased land around the city, owning at one time about one-fourth of the original townsite. Again, he did not stay for a lengthy period of time, leaving after about two years, and returned in 1864.

He was Austin's mayor in 1870 and again in 1874 and was always active in business and civic affairs. John Sr. married Addie E. Carpenter, and they had three children, Charles F., Addie and John F. Cook.


"It was John F. Cook Jr. who constructed for his home the building, which Mrs. Julia Cook came to as a bride, and which later was to become the YWCA," quoted an early publishing. The entire front of this home was remodeled, and the original brick exterior changed, when George A. Hormel purchased the home in 1901.

The "Girl Scout House" was added in 1939 to enlarge the original "Carriage House" size to accommodate the growing group's needs.

Later generations of this Cook family still live in the Twin Cities area.

Calendar of events

Tuesday: Election Day.

Thursday: Old Log Theater trip departs at 8:30 a.m.; bridge play at 12:30 p.m.

Friday: Milwaukee Women will meet at noon.

Saturday: Closed for private rental.


Travel notes with Evie Mohrfeld

As we turn our clocks back this weekend, we realize how our days are getting shorter, and we try to get in everything we can before the cold weather comes and snow flies.

Along with that, however, we start to make plans for the holidays.

Dec. 16: This Holiday trip will put you in that nostalgic mood. It's an "Old Fashioned Christmas." We will take in a sleigh ride through the woods, with hot cider to greet you afterward. This ride is only 15 minutes and is optional.

A traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, including lutefisk, lefse, candied sweet potatoes, cranberries, desserts and homemade candies, will be served.

It'll feel like you've gone home for Mom's cooking. The Ellis Street Singers from Mankato University will entertain us, and there is a sure visit from Santa. This trip is open to the public. This is just being announced and promoted, but will fill quickly. Call me at 438-3946.

Trips at a glance

Nov. 4: Old Log Theater's "Tom, Dick &; Harry." Bus departs at 8:30 a.m.


Nov. 15-19: Branson tour I.

Nov. 21-24: Branson tour II.

Dec. 4: Lowell Lundstrom's "Country Christmas." The fee is due by Tuesday. There are two buses going.

Dec. 16: "An Old Fashioned Christmas" in Cannon Falls. Fee is due by Nov. 12

There are waiting lists on most of these trips but don't hesitate to get your name on as there always seem to be last-minute changes.

Watch carefully this weekend. The little "spooks" and "goblins" are out.

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