Donations pouring in for expansion of Hormel home

Published 3:47 pm Saturday, September 13, 2008

The donations are pouring in for the $1.8 million expansion and renovation of the Hormel Historic Home, which will add private meeting rooms and a kitchen to the popular community meeting spot.

Already, the Hormel Foundation has donated $500,000 to the project. Another $460,000 has been raised from the greater Austin community.

When another $40,000 is raised from the community and the $460,000 total grows to $500,000, the Hormel Foundation has pledged a second $500,000 gift.

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“We’re very excited about this gift from the Hormel Foundation,” said Randy Kramer, HHH board of trustees chair. “Our goal is to keep the Hormel Historic Home serving the community in perpetuity.”

“The expansion is a big step in that direction, and we are thrilled to have the Hormel Foundation invest in the future of the organization,” Kramer said.

At a news conference last week, fundraising co-chairs Bonnie Rietz and Mahlon Schneider said expanding the home will fulfill the Hormel family’s wishes that it be available to as many people in the community has possible.

As it stands now, Rietz said the historic home’s managers must turn down requests to use it for large gatherings because of a lack of space.

The expansion should fix that. It will add private meeting rooms with a maximum capacity of 300 people. A new kitchen is also part of the expansion plans.

The 7,000-square-foot expansion will be built directly east of HHH and west of the Carriage House addition.

Built in 1871, the home was occupied by Geo. A. and Lillian Hormel and their only son Jay Catherwood Hormel from 1901 to 1927, when Geo. A. Hormel retired from the meatpacking company he founded and moved to California with his wife.

Before becoming a tourist attraction, the home was the Austin YWCA. It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.