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Murray County Historical Society

The Murray County Historical Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the collection, preservation, interpretation, and dissemination of Murray County’s history.  The Murray County Historical Society is funded by support from its members, donations from museum visitors, contributions from the city of Slayton and local groups, and the support of the Murray County Board of Commissioners.


Dinehart-Holt House Historic Structure Report 

The Murray County Historical Society retained LHB to provide a Historic Structure Report for the Dinehart-Holt House in Slayton, Minnesota. The intent of this summary is to provide an overview of the report, which documents the historical background of the house, provides a thorough evaluation of its existing conditions, and makes recommendations for repairs. The report must be reviewed in its entirety for a complete understanding of our conclusions and recommendations.

The Dinehart-Holt House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 as locally significant for its association with Christopher and Flora Dinehart as well as for its architecture. It was designed by Frank Thayer, a Minnesota pioneer and self-taught architect whose work contributed to the development of many communities in southern Minnesota. The late Victorian home is a two-story wood-framed structure combining the irregular forms and asymmetrical facades of the Queen Anne style with raised stick work bands of the Stick Style. The house was, and continues to be, conspicuous within the region for its size and relatively expensive features and finishes.

Pioneers of Murray County and Slayton Township, the Dineharts contributed to the county’s infrastructure, development of the agricultural economy, and promoted education and social welfare. Their daughter, Florence and her husband Harvey S. Holt, eventually settled in Slayton, moving in with Christopher and Flora. After Christopher’s death, his son-in-law took over all responsibilities of the State Bank of Slayton that Mr. Dinehart founded, as well as an estate of over 3,000 acres of farmland. The Holt family continued to reside in the home and eventually passed the property on to their children. Their son, John Holt, lived in the home until his death in 1993. Despite the Holt family’s long association with the house, its significance is due to the influence and contributions of Christopher and Flora. Therefore, the Period of Significance is from the home’s construction in 1891 up until Christopher’s death in 1927.

This publication was made possible in part by the people of Minnesota through a grant funded by an appropriation to the Minnesota Historical Society from the Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund. Any views, findings, opinions, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Historical Society, or the Historic Resources Advisory Committee.

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Dinehart Lunchbox Lecture Series Begins 4th Year

The Murray County Historical Society announces the fourth season of local and regional history topics for the Dinehart Lunchbox Lecture Series. There are some familiar faces in the lineup some new ones as well.

The lectures have been permanently moved to the 4-H building on the Murray County Fairgrounds. Please bring your lunch. We provide coffee, tea, and water.

The final series of the year will take place on Thursday, April 12, 2018:   “The Tracy Tornado; Fiftieth Anniversary

On June 13, 1968, the first F5 tornado ever recorded in Minnesota struck the town of Tracy around 7 p.m. Nine people were killed and over 100 injured. Newlyweds, Linda (Haugen) Vaske and her husband Clifford Vaske had been finalizing adoption paperwork on two-year-old Nancy Vlahos when Clifford left for military training in Washington. On the night of the tornado, Linda, her 8-year-old sister Pam and Nancy were at the Vaskes’ home south of town. Linda, holding tightly onto Nancy, and Pam were unable to reach the basement in time. All three were blown out of the house. Linda was unable to maintain her grasp on Nancy. Although the sisters suffered serious injuries, both survived. However, Nancy’s lifeless body was found on a street a block away. The sisters will never forget that night and rarely a day goes by that they don’t think about the little girl who was taken from them. This is the true story written by Scott Thoma in his book: “Out of the Blue.” Scott Thoma is uniquely qualified to write these stories, having lived in Tracy when the tornado hit. He also boasts a resume’ that includes parallel award-winning careers as both a sports reporter and a sports editor at a Minnesota daily newspaper for nearly 30 years. He currently lives in Willmar, Minnesota.  Learn more at http://thomabooks.com/.

Cost is $3.00 or FREE to Members of MCHS.

2016 Murray County Historical Society