The Westphalia Historical Society was incorporated October 29, 1973 by a group of Westphalians who had just recently completed work necessary to win the nomination of St. Joseph's Church to the National Register of Historic Sites.
With legal help volunteered by Attorney Ralph Voss, Joseph Holterman, Mrs. Frank (Pauline) Wegman and Mrs. V.J. (Hilda) Plassmeyer signed the letters of incorporation. First officers were Pres. Mrs. G.H. (Pat) Hilkemeyer, Jr., Vice President Joe Holterman, Secretary, Mrs. David (Vicky) Patterson and Treasurer, Mrs. LeRoy (Mary Ann) Klebba (who has kept our financial ship afloat for over 30 years.) Our first monetary donation came from Dr. Ed. L. and Lois Bowles - "seed money" to cover costs of the Charter Membership drive, and soon 125 individuals couples and families responded, resulting in over $3,000 in our treasury.
The ultimate goal was a museum to house local historic artifacts, photos, records, etc. We were blessed when Alice Fechtel chose to retire and agreed to sell her General Store property for $5000 - a small down payment and an interest-free installment plan!
After Alices' public auction of contents, the "real work began". Working side-by-side, young and old, days, nights and weekends- cleaned from attic to cellar, painting walls and shelving. We collected donated and loaned artifacts - in readiness for our Grand Opening on March 23, 1974 (accompanied by one of the worst snow storms in recent memory!)
Thanks to grants from the A.J. Schwartze Foundation in recent years a complete renovation to the museum was accomplished - updating, plumbing wiring, lighting, windows, insulation, heat and air conditioning and painting.
Sadly over 100 of those early volunteer founders are no longer with us except in fond memories - but surely they are smiling down on us in our efforts to continue their labors of love. Because we still hope to complete their dream of seeing Westphalia named a Historic District.
Accomplishments to date: