The Village consists of Holy Innocents Episcopal Church, Pleasant Valley School Volg Log Cabin, and the Harvest and Heritage Halls. The Village is located behind the Rice County Museum of History, and tours of the buildings are available with admission to the museum.
The 1851 treaties of Traverse de Sioux and Mendota opened up to settlement the part of the state that would become Rice County. However, settlement did not begin until 1853 when President Buchanan signed the agreement into law, making it legal to homestead in this area.
A Scandinavian immigrant named Sever Holgrimson Vold built this log cabin on section 5 in Wheeling township, about 15 miles northeast of Faribault, (near the Valley Grove Church). Mr. Vold received a deed from President Buchanan on May 23, 1857, which was recorded at the Rice County Court House in June of 1858.
A number of people owned and lived in the cabin up until 1897 when it served as a public school building. In 1902, Andrew Rudningen bought the property and rented it out to a number of people. The last occupant lived in the house until 1953. In the early 1960s, the Rudningen family donated it to the Rice County Historical Society and it was moved to the fairgrounds at that time.
Pleasant Valley School
By 1930, Rice County had 128 independent school districts, each consisting of at least one school. This school, District #22, also called the Pleasant Valley School, was organized in 1857 when Jesse Carr and 10 other homeowners in the area petitioned the County Commissioners for the school district. The school was built in the late 1850s. It was originally located in Bridgewater Township, about five miles northeast of its current location.
At the time of construction, the Pleasant Valley School was the only rural school in Rice County with its own well. In addition to teaching children, the school was used for non-denominational church services for the community, as well as for Women’s Christian Temperance Union meetings.
Students attended school in this building until the early 1950s. In 1954, the Rice County Agricultural Society (which ran the Rice County Fair) purchased the school for $206. It was moved to its current location at that time and is now maintained and operated by the Rice County Historical Society.
Items that are original to the schoolhouse are the kerosene lamps, the calendar/clock, some of the books, and the black and slate boards. Of particular note is the front blackboard. Unlike the two slate boards, the front blackboard is made of wood painted black. This is where the word “blackboard” originates. The ductwork of the wood stove in the back is unique as it represents early convection heating. It works by pulling the cold air up from the floor and heating it for the room. The remaining items have come from other rural Rice County schools.
Holy Innocents Episcopal Church:
This church was originally located in Cannon City, approximately seven miles northeast of Faribault. Cannon City area families built in 1869 and in 1871 it was consecrated by Bishop Whipple. The church was moved to its present location in 1959 and was opened for viewing in 1971.
Some of the unique features in the church are:
- The floorboards of the church have gaps between them so that heat can come up from under the church where a barrel stove was located.
- The stained glass windows were given by a woman in memory of her infant daughter who died en route to America.
- The letters on the altar cloths are from the original altar hangings.
- The church did not originally have electricity. The light was added after the church was moved to the fairgrounds.
Harvest and Heritage Halls
These buildings display a variety of items. The Heritage Hall has exhibits that focus on the business history of the county and also includes a 1928 LaFrance ladder truck, a display of a 1920s era farmhouse kitchen, and other business and household tools used in Rice County.
The Harvest Hall has exhibits on farm life: including tools and farm equipment used in Rice County to break the sod and transform the prairie into rich farmland.