Maple Grove History Museum Features Unique Items from ‘Pioneers of This City’

by | Jun 2019

An 1880s buggy on display at the Maple Grove Historical Preservation Society Museum.

Photo: Rachel Nadeau

The Maple Grove Historical Preservation Society strives to save local history for all.

By now, many of you are familiar with, or at least heard of, Marie Kondo, the Japanese organizing consultant, author and all-around guru of the minimalist set. If an item doesn’t “bring you joy,” it’s time to find it another home, according to Kondo.

Thankfully, many area residents, including Brooklyn Park’s Eldon Tessman, have offered their items to the Maple Grove Historical Preservation Society (MGHPS), a nonprofit organization, once the items have outlived their initial usefulness. Tessman’s property had several barns, and he decided to go through the buildings’ contents and rediscovered not one but two buggies, arriving from the 1880s. The buggies belonged to Tessman’s great-grandfather. One was a two-seater, which Al Madsen of the MGHPS says is the type a doctor would probably have used, and the other is a four-seater. “These are buggies similar to the Amish buggies,” Madsen says.

To remove the buggies out of Tessman’s shed and into the MGHPS museum was no small task, but it was clearly worth the effort. Only when the wheels were removed from buggies’ bodies did Tessman and folks from the museum get a full look at the rediscovered treasures. Madsen describes them as being in “remarkable condition,” and one of the most interesting items in the MGHPS museum, but he adds that it’s a tough competition, given the intriguing items that now call the museum “home.”

With how rapidly technology and the world changes, feeling far removed from the way things used to be can be common. That’s why Madsen helped put together the MGHPS in 1994. “Maple Grove is growing fast, and because of that, we’re losing a lot of the history,” Madsen says, adding that preserving the history that may otherwise be forgotten is what the society is all about.

In the early days, the work that the MGHPS was doing was deemed so important that the group was able to open its first museum in the old Maple Grove Public Works building a few years ago, Madsen says. “A lot of landowners are selling, and they’ll start going through their belongings and say, ‘Oh, I could give this to the museum,’” Madsen says. “Pioneers of this city will find all sorts of cool things in their sheds.” Case in point: Tessman and his buggies.

The museum receives many donations from area citizens, with several of the objects coming from people whose families have had them in their possession for “many, many years,” Madsen says. “We …have a sleigh that was donated to us that’s back in our inventory area … which is very unique,” he says. The museum also has a piano from 1909, “which is in magnificent condition.”

Donating to the Museum

For residents, who have interesting family heirlooms of their own that they are interested in donating, the MGHPS has just a few stipulations. Madsen says “they would hope” the objects come from the Maple Grove area. The museum’s policy says that it probably won’t accept more than two of each object in the museum. Before going through the process of donating items, check with the museum to make sure it doesn’t already hold a similar item, or contact Madsen for additional information. (

Maple Grove Historical Preservation Society Museum
9030 Forestview Lane. N.
1-4 p.m. every second Sunday of the month
Facebook: maplegrovemnhistory


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