Our speaker is Wendy Peterson Biom, executive director of Carver County Historical Society. Located in Waconia, the Society is working currently to restore a nearby farmstead that has historical significance to the area and to apple production. Biom explained the farm was started by Andrew Peterson, who emigrated from Sweden in 1850 and kept a diary of his life in the United States until he died in 1898. Books based on those diaries written by Vilhelm Moberg have become famous in the US and Sweden, and are a reason for the preservation of the Peterson farm. Movies “The Emigrants” and “The New Land” reflected the Carver County life portrayed in the books. Carver County has a connection to members of the music group Abba, due to a musical created by two of its members based on the historical novels.
Wendy presented “then and now” photos of the farm, including the first building restoration that was funded by individual and foundation donations. More restorations are planned, and Wendy explained some of the detailed requirements for to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Local representative Joe Hoppe was instrumental in acquiring state Legacy funding to translate the Peterson diaries.
Wendy passed around several publications associated with the Society’s project, including a Historic Structure Report that is available online. That document, and more information about our county’s history are available on the Society’s web page.