Zumbrota Area Historical Society

A nonprofit organization

12 donors

THE MISSION OF THE ZUMBROTA AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY shall be to collect, preserve, and interpret knowledge about the history of the Zumbrota area, and to relate that history to the State of Minnesota.                                                                    😇   THANKS FOR


😊 Monetary Donations are always highly welcome, as they enable our organization to exist and to fulfill its mission and goals. Also please remember us when you wish to honor a loved one with a memorial----or arrange a bequest in your Will or Trust.    

In addition, don't discard those "old" Artifacts, Photos, or Documents! Please let us evaluate them for historical importance related to Zumbrota. If it's interesting, if we don't already have one like it, and if it fits, WE WILL APPRECIATE HAVING IT! 

PS: We don't collect any agricultural tools and/or equipment.

😊  Equally Important for the History Center to Thrive:  Whether new or renewed, sustained memberships are critical, since they provide the funds that support both our objectives and our facility. Membership runs from January 1 until January 1 of the following year, at these affordable rates: 


Couples or Families--$25

Non-Profit Organization--$30


History Center Friend--$100



Please email (colleenbkt@gmail.com) or call us (507-732-7333) to join or to renew.   Remember: It truly is YOUR organization and your history!

A bit of history: A previous organization, The Zumbro Valley Historical Society, was created shortly before 1956, the year of Zumbrota's Centennial, primarily to create the Centennial history book and to support the town's celebration.  However, when the Centennial fever subsided, it fell by the wayside, and the concept went into hibernation.  Around 40 years later, civic-minded home-town optometrist, Dr. Kevin Kish, started floating the idea that Zumbrota should do something to preserve its history. For a couple of years, the idea remained in the background. 

Then in November of 1998, Dr. Kish teamed up with David Grimsrud, Publisher of the News-Record, in planning a "Use Proposal for Old Police Station/Fire Department" to the City Council. The building  was being vacated because of a move to the new City complex, and the Council was accepting proposals for its disposition--which ranged from demolition to storage to commercial use.  The offer was a purchase price of $1 (a deal that had previously been afforded to the old Armory building), with plans to seek a permanent tenant, perhaps a local historical organization. The Council accepted the offer, and Kish owned a historic building, Grimsrud having deferred to Kish to proceed with the project.  

Kish soon placed an ad in the newspaper indicating he was interested in forming a historical group, to which a few enthusiasts responded--enough to decide it was time to establish a Zumbrota Area Historical Society.  After several small group meetings, in June of 1999 the Articles and By-Laws were formed and the first officers elected, and in August the Articles of Incorporation were signed.  

An agreement was reached with the newly established Society that Kish would renovate the former City Hall building and offer it to the Society,       😃 at cost 😃, when all was fully operational.  After vigorous fundraising and healthy support from the community, as well as hard work on renovations, the ownership landmark occurred in 2005, and the Society occupied the new History Center in 2006, having their Grand Opening the week of October 16, during the Sesquicentennial.   A defining accomplishment was creation of the second history book, "Zumbrota, The Next 50 Years 1956-2006."  

In 2018, 12 years after moving into their special space, a digitization project and allied inventory showed the History Center is now home to approximately 7,300 separate artifacts and archives related to the Zumbrota area (and still collecting).  In addition to digitization, the Society is almost ready to launch a new website and  reactivate its Facebook account.  With Kish again as President of the Board, everyone looks forward to an exciting 2019 celebrating ZAHS's 20th year of existence!

Organization Data


Organization name

Zumbrota Area Historical Society

Tax id (EIN)