2015 will mark the 11th annual Harvest Festival celebration,
but did you know that the origins of today's festival came from events put together by a group of dedicated citizens known as the "Family Council" in the late 1990's?
The Hanover Harvest Festival as we know it today was inspired by the efforts of members of the Family Council Committee - assembled in 1997. The committee was made up of a group of dedicated local individuals; co-founders Arlee Anderson & Kayla Scherber, Kris Brandjord, Tammy Goskey, Jeff Kessler, Terri Kurash, Annette Roberts, Kathy Robinson, Dee Ruter, Sonia Steman, Stephanie Strehlow & Todd Urbanski.
The first event , "Harvest Fest", was held on October 18-19, 1997. It featured a Pancake Breakfast, Craft Show & a "Candlelight and Cider Hayride" event.
In 1998, the Festival took on some more carnival-like events - Merry Go Round, Dunk Tank Moon Walk and Miniature Golf. This event was held on July 12th.
The Hanover Harvest Festival was re-started in 2005 by Dave and Abby Peterson.
This treasured yearly event continues to go on due to the efforts of active and dedicated volunteers within our community!
History of Hanover
Hanover is a unique community with a rich history dating back to the mid 1800's.
In 1856, two years prior to Minnesota statehood, two adventurous brothers - Jacob and William Vollbrecht - bid farewell to their Hannover, Germany town in search of a better life. They migrated separately to America. Jacob arrived in Wright County first, and homesteaded 160 acres on both sides of the Crow River (Hennepin and Wright counties).
Early records indicate that our small community was first known as Vollbrecht Mills, and not officially named Hanover until 1891 when the town was incorporated. At the time of incorporation, Hanover had 206 residents - mostly German Lutherans.
Although the Minnesota prairie around what would become Hanover was home to the Ojibwe Indians, the Vollbrecht brothers and other early German settlers existed peacefully with them. According to Florence Vollbrecht, her Uncle Jake first lived in a log cabin.
"He and the Indians became friendly and helped each other. It was not uncommon for him to let them sleep in his barn at night. As the story goes, one night they were sleeping in his hayloft and Uncle Jake had to take some flour down to St. Anthony in the morning. As he paddled in his canoe down the Crow River, he glanced back and saw smoke through the trees. The Indians had been smoking and a spark lit the hay on fire and they accidentally burned down his house. They helped him build a new cabin when Jake returned."
Milling was the original town industry, supported of course, through local crop farming. The Vollbrecht brothers built the first flour mill along the Crow River and the historic Pratt 'Through Truss Iron Pedestrian' Bridge, which was erected in 1885.
The first businesses in Hanover in the early 1900s included: Hanover Roller Mills, Saenger’s Blacksmith Shop, Wagon and Carriage Shop, the sawmill, Nicholas Borscheid’s Blacksmith Shop, the Vollbrecht Hardware Store, Haefer Saloon, the Greenwood House (now the Hilltop Bar), Louis Strunk’s Meat market, Strunk’s Saloon (now the River Inn), Hanover Creamery and the Hanover State Bank. The first village hall was erected around the turn of the 20th century and had two jail cells in the back.
In the early summer of 1934, gangster John Dillinger came to town for a shave at the barber shop, which was connected to the Corner Bar (formerly Strunk’s Saloon). Allegedly, he had been holed up at Beebe Lake in a cabin and was on the run from the Feds.
Gustave Dorn, born in 1895, was the son of a former Greenwood House proprietor. Circa 1905-1906, he wrote:
"We had the first ice cream cones to be served in Hanover. I believe one lad ate 19 in a day and was sick for a week."
Visit the Hanover Historical Society website for more information about the history of Hanover, MN
The Hanover Historical Society are stewards of the past for the City of Hanover, Minnesota. The mission of the Hanover Historical Society is to identify, preserve, and disseminate knowledge about the history of Hanover through collections, preservation, distribution of historical information, as well as advocate for preservation of historic buildings, monuments and markers.