Historical society to host book sale fundraiser during Farm & City Days

Published 8:30 pm Wednesday, July 4, 2018

NEW RICHLAND — With every final breath, a little piece of history is lost. The memories of those who pass take with them their memories and knowledge of the experiences they had and the people they knew.

This inevitable truth has launched an effort to identify approximately 530 individuals pictured in a 1936 photograph — which spans 3 1/2-feet-long and is only 4 1/2 inches tall — before that knowledge is lost with the sands of time.

The photograph has a unique origin. It was taken during an anniversary event for a community that never was.

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“Vista is a community that never had a store, never had a business,” said New Richland Historical Society Vice President Rodney Hatle. “There is a church on the west side and a church on the east side and the two cemeteries on either side of the road in between.”

The churches, located outside of New Richland, split in 1877 to form the Vista Lutheran Church and Vista Evangelical Covenant Church.

Hatle said the Covenant Church was the stricter of the two.

“They were influenced by the new immigrants that came over from Sweden,” he said.

The divide caused a rift between more than just the two churches. It was felt within the communities that surrounded the two churches.

“They didn’t get along very well socially because of the religious stuff.”

Seventy years after the formation of the church, Vista Lutheran Church parishioner Herman Peterson decided to bring the congregations back together for a reunion in 1926.

The reunion became a tradition, which was commemorated with the 1936 photograph in question.

Hatle, who has been working on the project with fellow New Richland High School graduates Harriet Eaton and Ronald Johnson, said the information gathered on the photo has been formatted into a book which will be for sale during Farm and City Days this weekend. Proceeds from the book will benefit the New Richland Area Historical Society and hopefully lead to the identification of others shown in the photo.

The book, “Vista 1936: Picture of a Community,” includes blown up images from the photo, which was originally taken by New Richland photographer Bill Steihl.

Hatle theorizes Steihl was able to create the unusually long photograph by splicing together several photographs taken of the large group. His suspicion is supported by evidence as all the subjects are facing the camera, lines where the splicing was done can be seen in the blown up copies of the image and one man appears in the photo twice. Hatle speculates the man posed for one of the first photos and then ran further down the line ahead of the photographer.

Those who purchase the book will be able to view the blown up images and the names of those identifies thus far.

The book also contains a three page color map of land ownership in the late 1800s and biographical information of those who have been identified in the photo. There are also other pictures and illustrations regarding the history of the area.


New Richland Farm & City Days schedule of events


4:30-6:30 p.m.: Potato bake and root beer floats, City Hall

7 p.m.: Teen bean bag tourney on Broadway for ages 13 to 18

7 p.m.: Bean bag tourney, New Richland Liquor Co.,

6:30 p.m.: NRHEG Community Ed competition cheer performance, street dance stage

6:30 p.m: Commercial Club bingo, street dance area

10 p.m: Fireworks



7-10 a.m: New Richland Fire Department pancake breakfast, fire hall

8 a.m: Softball tournament, Legion Field

9 a.m.-4 p.m.: Boys and Girls 3-on-3 basketball tourney, fourth-12th grade

9 a.m.: Announcement of Farm & City Days grand marshal, New Richland Fire Hall

9 a.m.: Rain water simulation, City Hall

9 a.m.: Farm & City three-person scramble, Riverview Golf Course

9 a.m.-11 p.m.: Top 25 Antique Car Show on Broadway

9 a.m-1 p.m.: Friend of the Library book sale

9 a.m-3 p.m.: Craft and vendor fair on Broadway

10 a.m.: NRHEG Alumni Association bocce tourney at park

10a.m.-2 p.m.: Garden Club Flower and Community Churches Quilt Show, Trinity Lutheran Church

10 a.m.-4 p.m.: NR Area Historical Society display, Washburn Hotel

11 a.m.: Kiddie parade on wheels, City Hall

11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.: Kid Zone inflatables at the park

11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.: Horse-drawn wagon rides at the park

Noon- 4 p.m.: Antique tractor show on Broadway

2:30 p.m.: Kid power pedal tractor pull on Broadway, ages 4-11

5 p.m: Farm & City Days Parade

8:30 p.m-12:30 a.m: Street dance, music by Them Pesky Kids



10 a.m.: Community worship service, city park

Drawing for winning button numbers following the service

11 a.m.: Red Leaf Cafe lunch, city park

11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.: New Richland Area Historical Society display

Noon: New Richland Fire Department water wars, City Hall