Carver County's history is documented in the records of its cities, city agencies, and government center. Schools, school districts, churches, and civic groups have archives as well. Four historical societies call Carver County home. These are the Chanhassen Historical Society, the Chaska Historical Society, the Watertown Area Historical Society, and the Willkommen Heritage and Preservation Society of Norwood Young America.
Local residents formed the Chanhassen Historical Society in 2007. Its original goal was to preserve the historic St. Hubert's Church. The Society's mission has broadened since then. Their goal is to enhance the lives of the larger Chanhassen community through the collection, preservation, interpretation and sharing of its history. The Society publishes a monthly article in the Chanhassen Villager. They also print a quarterly newsletter, The Chanhassen Historian. It frequently collaborates with other groups, such as the Carver County Library System and Carver County Historical Society, to present family programs and activities. It has no permanent offices.
The Chaska Historical Society was established in 1980. It is a volunteer organization. Its mission is to honor the heritage of the Chaska community by preserving, protecting, recording and sharing its history. The Society is housed at the Chaska History Center, in the former Brinkhaus Livery Stable. This 1890 Chaska brick structure is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Chaska Historical Society designs River City Days displays and activities. They also provide research assistance and sell books about Chaska history. The History Center also presents local history exhibits.
The Willkommen Heritage and Preservation Society of Norwood Young America is Carver County's newest historical society. City government moved to new offices in the fall of 2009, opening up space. A proposal to use some of this space for a history center was presented to the city council on February 22, 2010. This plan was approved in March and the Society met for the first time on April 8, 2010. By June 2010, they were formally incorporated. The Wilkommen Heritage and Preservation Society preserves the evidence of the past and tells the stories of Norwood Young America and its surrounding communities. They create exhibits for Stiftungsfest and within the history center. They also help preserve important area buildings.
The Watertown Area Historical Society, formed in 1998, is located in the Watertown Community Center. Its purpose is to collect, preserve and report the historical story of Watertown and its surrounding area. Its two most noteworthy activities are participation in the annual "Rails to Trails" celebration and a Christmas Open House in the downtown Watertown skyway. The Society also creates exhibits for year-round displays in the skyway and other locations around town.
These non-profit societies offer research resources and historical artifacts, and also lead local preservation efforts. They track the historical records of their cities, interpreting and presenting them for residents and visitors. Without organizations like these, valuable Carver County resources and history would be lost.
Atkins, Paula. Chanhassen Historical Society Board of Directors President. Email message to author, May 15, 2013.
Chaska Historical Society.
Chaska Historical Society. Chaska, MN: Chaska Historical Society, [1990s].
Chaska Historical Society. Brinkhaus Livery Stable. Chaska, MN: Chaska Historical Society.
Kroells, LaVonne. Willkommen Heritage and Preservation Society President. Email message to author, May 20, 2013.
Watertown Area Historical Society. Founding of the WAHS.
Interest in history and preservation throughout Carver County sparks the creation of the Chaska Historical Society in 1980, followed by the creation of other local history groups.