Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Did you know that the largest piece of petrified wood ever seen or heard of by Carrie Jennings from the University of Minnesota Geological Society, is located in Holdingford?

The following statement was given to us by John Ebnet, Petryfikowane Drzewo
means Petrified Wood in German and Polish
Spellings furnished by John Bieniek, St. Hedwig's Parish

Many people have wondered since 1949, "'What is that rock on St. Mary's Church grounds?" it just sits there
and doesn't say anything. Lawn caretakers have been driving around it for over 50 years to mow the lawn. John Ebnet
found out where it came from, when it was brought io this location, and who brought it here with Herbert Vos' help.
John's grandfather, Rienhard Vos, was the original owner of the land. he homesteaded land of about 500 acres two
miles west and 1/2 mile south of Holdingford The farm land was later divided into two farms the George Vos farm and
the Tom Vos farm. The Zeis Brothers later bought the farm from Tom Vos. Mark Leukam now farms this land where
the rock was found, he is a St. Mary's parishioner.

The rock was found in a ravine on the southwestern edge of the land. It was brought to the area of the farm
buildings, then was brought to the present location on the St. Mary's Church grounds, by Dad Frank Ebnet, and Uncle
George Vos- They used a hand crank wrecker borrowed from Raymond "Whitey" Paggen, and a pickup from Paul
Mager Agency to get the rock to the present location Father Rosenthal was pastor at this time in 1949.
They knew the who and the where, but were not sure about what it was. John Ebnet called a Professor of
Geology at St. John's University, Dr- Larry, Davis, and asked him to look at the rock Professor Davis came on June 16,
2004, and verified that the rock was indeed a piece of Petrified Wood-

The following was provided by Dr. Davis about the piece of Petrified Wood:

. The large section of Petrified wood on display at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Holdingford MN, likely formed
during the last ice age more than 12,000 years ago. 99.99% of all living trees eventually decay, burn or are
eaten and leave no record of their existence. Bur if the conditions are right wood car be converted to stone
while still preserving the original structure and appearance of the wood- In order to be petrified wood must be
buried under anaerobic conditions (no air and bacteria) in silt mud, or volcanic ash, before it can be preserved-
Water with dissolved minerals, usually silica (the sane material which forms the famous Minnesota agates)
must slowly - "soak into the wood where the silica precipitates and fills the pore spaces of the wood in a process
geologists call per mineralization (This same process occurs as minerals precipitate from water in the shower
producing the scaly deposits on the shower stall. In many cases the original cellular structure of the wood can
be seen and used to identify the original wood as oak maple etc- In order to see this pattern in the St .Mary's
specimen a slab would have to be cut by a rock saw and then polished-
This specimen was likely buried in glacial muds near the leading edge of the great ice sheet that once covered the
northern 2/3's of Minnesota The ancient deposits of this period of glaciation can be seen throughout Stearms
County. In spite of the fact *rat less than Lo,6 of all living trees eventuaily undergo per mineralization, petrified
wood can be found in every state of the union. The most famous examples of petrified, wood can be seen in the
Petrified Forest National Park in north Arizona-

This petrified wood specimen is the largest that anyone at the Stearns County Historical Society-v has heard of in
the central Minnesota area. Also, Carrie Jennings of the University-v of Minnesota Geological Survey said this was the
largest piece of petrified wood that she has ever heard of or seen in Minnesota. She is anxious to see it for herself.
John went to the Mark Leukam farrn to see if there were any other specimens in the area where the original piece
of petrified wood was found. No other pieces of petrified wood were found, but a piece of Hematite, about the size of a
football was found This. piece of Hematite weighs about 50 pounds. According to Webster's Dictionary, hematite is an
important Iron Ore. The piece of Hematite is purple in color and is-about a billion years old According to Dr. Davis it
was brought here by the glaciers 12,000 years ago. He also said that it was from the Tower - Soudan area- The piece of
Hematite can be seen at the John Ebnet house if anyone is interested.

The large piece of Petrified Wood can be seen on the east side of the church property.

By the way, Professor Davis' usual consulting fee is $5,000, but he enjoyed his trip to Holdingford so much that
there wiil be no charge.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Check out our Facebook Page

Check  out the HAHS Facebook Page it has the latest updates.

Even period recipes :)

Sunday, December 07, 2014

As the year closes, we have received an anonymous donation of $1,000 to help with the restoration of the museum.  We thank this individual very much for their support and generosity!

We are in the final stages of completion of installing a heating and air conditioning system in the museum.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Cool new addition to the Holdingford museum. A 1954 Rock-ola Jute Box model #1438

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Historical Society had a very pleasant surprise several weeks ago.

The City minutes from 1897 to 1930 which had been missing by best guess for about 80 years were

returned in very good condition.

We are in the process of digitizing them, for future research.

Through the efforts of many of the Historical society members.

The Museum made a giant step forward, creating displays so we were able to be open for

Holdingford Daze July 11 -12.  We had many people visit the museum.

At present the Museum is open by special arrangement

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Film crew will be in Holdingford filming for the ‘MINNESOTA 13’ documentary

Elaine Davis, author of the book ‘MINNESOTA 13’  and her film crew will be in Holdingford filming for the ‘MINNESOTA 13’ documentary during Holdingford Daze on Saturday July 12th.

She is also donating a case of 50 books worth $800 to the Holdingford Area Historical Society, with all proceeds going to the HAHS.  Thanks Elaine!

When you come to Holdingford Daze on Saturday the 12th, be sure to visit the Museum.

The HistoricalSociety has a number of souvenirs available for purchase.

Follow the filmmaking on Facebook.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014


PRESS RELEASE   6/24/2014 

Local Prohibition history is making the transition from book to film, as documentary filming takes place in various county locations this summer.  

“Minnesota 13: From Grain to Glass” follows the colorful moonshine-making history of Stearns County, as Depression-devastated farmers turned to making illegal alcohol. 

The alcohol evolved into a branded product, nationally distributed, with a premium reputation. 

The film explores Elaine Davis’s book ‘Minnesota 13-Wet Wild Prohibition Days,” the history of an elite whiskey produced in the heart of Minnesota during Prohibition years and beyond. 

The documentary also follows the modern-day attempts of organic farmers growing Minnesota 13 heritage corn seed and a St. Paul micro-distiller resuscitating the brand as premium whiskey.  

The film will intertwine and interpret the stories, the lore, ethnicity, religion, local and national law enforcement, geography, farm economics, regional history and insights into why Stearns County didn’t become the ‘Jack Daniels” producing area of the USA after Prohibition ended.   

Documentarians Norah Shapiro and Kelly Nathe are co-directing/co-producing the film. Norah Shapiro is a Minneapolis-based independent documentary filmmaker (formerly a public defender) and owner of Flying Pieces Productions.  Los Angeles-based Kelly Nathe is closely connected to the story, with family and childhood ties to Holdingford and Little Birch Lake in western Stearns County, where significant moonshining took place and Al Capone visited. 

 Filming is ongoing at 11 Wells Distillery in the refurbished Hamms Brewery in St Paul, the Stearns History Museum and Research Center, Baker's Acres in Avon,  the Stearns County jail, the city of Holdingford and other local community sites. 

The documentary has been partially funded with Arts and Cultural Heritage Funds from Minnesota's Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.

Follow the filmmaking on Facebook at  If you have any unique ‘Minnesota 13’ historical contributions to the film, such as photographs, artifacts, tunnels, blackened cooking rooms, intact stills in place, arrest records, or wish to be interviewed, please contact Elaine Davis with your info.  612 968 1109 or

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

"Minnesota 13"

Elaine Davis author of  "Minnesota 13" is on Facebook

Listen to very interesting to podcast of interview of Elaine Davis, KVSC's Arts and Cultural Heritage Producer Jeff Carmack  ANOTHER SIP OF MINNESOTA 13.

She talks a lot about holdingford people.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Moving City Hall

cir. 1909 .Moving City Hall from the west side of the tracks to the east side of town.