Reflection on the past: Gov. Walz to visit Wasioja Historic District

Samantha Boring
Updated: January 13, 2021 05:19 PM
Created: January 13, 2021 07:19 AM

(ABC 6 News) -- In the face of threats leading up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration day, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz will visit several American historical monuments across the state.

Governor Walz is encouraging Minnesotans to reflect on the greater context that led to this dark moment in American history.

People in Dodge County played a significant part during the Civil War. A large number of seminary students and faculty from Wasioja volunteered for the war.

"[The Seminary building] is somewhat preserved, it went through a fire 100 years ago and that's destroyed most of it," said Tom Jensch, who used to work with the Friends of Wasioja.

In town, there's also a recruiting building from the Civil War, a schoolhouse, and a church that are all historic sites of Wasioja. The Wildwood cemetery is where some soldiers from Wasioja are buried. The Friends of Wasioja and the Dodge County Historical Society helped preserve these sites. 

Back in 2009, the Friends of Wasioja was formed. The group wanted to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War through reenactments.

Two reenactments, in 2011 and 2013 were put on with more than 500 participants. A documentary called "From Wasioja to Washington" was created to help raise money for the second event.

The Friends of Wasioja have not been able to have another reenactment due to the cost. 

Governor Walz's visit is bringing more attention to the history of Wasioja. 

"As Governor he needs to be the leader of the entire state of Minnesota and recognizing these kinds of historic sites, that's a good step in that direction," Jensch said.

Jensch said he is hopeful the monuments in Wasioja can help people look into what really matters instead of letting politics take control.

"They lose the long-range perspective of what is important, you know it's the people of the state that are important," Jensch said. "Every town has a history and the people who live there and too much of that is forgotten." 

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