Time to become a member
         After reading this newsletter, click on to the membership page. Please find the category you would like to renew at, print it out and send it to the address at the bottom. We need you more than ever this coming year. Your continued support is extremely important to the existence of the museum. We wouldn't be here without you. Thanks for your support!

Marjorie remembered
         The museum was again the recipient of a grant for $1,100.00 from the Lutheran Brotherhood Foundation in the name of Marjorie Christianson. Marjorie set up the grant fund before her death and we continue to receive funding yearly from this source.

Watch donated to museum
         The museum was fortunate this summer to have a visit from Tom Hawley, Tom Johnson and Dennis Johnson, all nephews of Thomas Dunn, the famous telegrapher for the St. Paul & Duluth Railroad who stayed at his telegraph key on September 1st, 1894 warning towns north of Hinckley of the approaching fire. His well remembered last words that he tapped out on his key were "I think I've stayed too long" and he did. He was one of the victims of that Great Fire that killed so many.
         Twenty-two years ago, when I first started working here at the museum, Tommy's niece, Florence Dunn Bennett used to pay me a visit and show me the watch that belonged to Tommy that the railroad had gold plated and inscribed. I, of course, wanted it for the museum, but Florence said that maybe some day it would belong to the museum, but for now, she said, it was hers.
         As it turned out, Florence gave the watch to her descendants who kept it until last summer.
         The Hampden watch is inscribed "Thomas Dunn, Operator, St. Paul & Duluth Railroad met his death while on duty at Hinckley Minnesota during the Great Fire, September 1st, 1894."
         The watch will be on display when the museum reopens in May.

Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe donates computer
         Earlier this year, a request was put to the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe for a donation and a wish list was sent. One of the items on the list was a computer. The one we had was seven years old and no longer had any room for expansion. We didn't get a monetary donation; but we did receive a new Apple computer. A big thank you to the Donation Committee for helping us out.

John Blair exhibit
         I had the good fortune to attend the Governor's Tourism Conference last spring where I met the director of the Minnesota Transportation Museum. During the course of my conversation with him, I found that he was a good friend of the artist who illustrated the book "John Blair and the Great Hinckley Fire" John Blair was the porter on the St. Paul & Duluth Railroad engineered by Jim Root. This was the train that made the famous escape to Skunk Lake. The book is all about the hero, John Blair, who helped people get off the train and into the muddy waters of Skunk Lake. Josephine Nobisso authored the book which has won several awards since its publication. The artist, Ted Rose has rendered the story in beautiful watercolors which were donated to the Minnesota Transportation Museum. We will eventually receive framed prints of all of the watercolors and a new exhibit will be created for the museum.

Thanks to a special few
         There are always those special few people who remember the museum and what it stands for. John Shober is one of those folks who every September 1st, brings in flowers in remembrance of that occasion. A Special thanks to John.
         The museum would not be the same without Sandy Hinds who has been working at the museum now for six years. Sandy is loved by all visitors who receive her special treatment and I receive letters and comments from many who have enjoyed her enthusiastic guidance through the museum. It is only because she likes what she does that she is there and many thanks go to her for her loyalty. If you haven't experienced time with Sandy at the museum, you are in for a treat. Believe me, it is worth the trip.
         Brian White was the official lawn mower this year. We thank him for keeping the place looking good, and I don't know what I would do without Randy Peterson and the Sentence to Service crew. They do most of the heavy maintenance around the museum, and we really appreciate their services.
         And the volunteer of the year award goes to GARY HINDS. He came to the rescue countless times this year. Thanks Gary!

Twenty five years remembered
         As we come to the close of the museum's 25th anniversary year, there are so many people who have been involved in one way or another who deserve recognition. Unfortunately, space does not permit so many names. As we embark on the next twenty five, my only hope is that new faces and supporters will continue to appear to keep the museum going. It is still a very rewarding thing to hear visitors from far away say that it is the "nicest museum they have ever been in and the town must be awfully proud to have it".
         We hope to hear those words for many years to come. Thanks for your support and continued membership Have a peaceful holiday season everyone!

Jeanne Coffey, Director

Published by the Hinckley Fire Museum
P.O. Box 40 Hinckley, MN 55037

e-mail: hfire@ecenet.com
Jeanne Coffey, Museum Director
Board of Directors
Debbie Utech
Steven Premo
Todd White