A Guide to Using the New London Oral History Page

Explore Fall Colors in Minnesota State Parks

 

How to navigate the interviews

These interviews contain a wide variety of history and information. You can search for interviews containing specific names or years of birth.

You can also search by generation. Searchable generations include:

  • Lost Generation: 1883-1900
  • Greatest Generation: 1901-1924
  • Silent Generation: 1925-1942 or 1945
  • Baby Boomer: 1942 or 1945- 1964
  • Generation X: 1965-1979
  • Generation Y (Millennials) : 1980-1995
  • Generation Z: 1996-earlier

Keywords, or topics discussed in the interview, are another way you can search. Searchable keywords include:

  • Department of Natural Resources
  • Farm
  • Great Depression - includes Como Beach, drought, Model-T, and baseball field
  • Growing Up
  • Homestead
  • Lake Andrew
  • Mill Pond
  • Minnesota State Parks
  • New London
  • Outdoor Recreation - includes hunting, fishing, and camping
  • Sibley State Park
  • Technology - includes technological advancements over the years such as transportation, ice, television, movies, bathroom, medical, Morse code, electricity, and the space walk
  • Veterans Conservation Corps
  • Wildlife
  • WWII

 

New London Oral History photo gallery

 

Expand to full screen to view full pictures by using the last button on the right in the photo viewer.

 

Where it began

The New London Oral History Project was born out of opportunity. After working on the beautiful but busy north shore of Minnesota for two years I found myself longing for the home I grew up with; family close by, hot breezes and summers by the lake. I was probably the only person who would leave the scenic views of cliffs and water in Two Harbors and start to get excited when I saw corn fields; the crops meant I was close to home. So when I had the opportunity to move to New London, Minnesota and work at Sibley State Park, I knew it was a life change I had to make.

I had always said if I was to re-locate to another park it would be New London, so when a listing for Sibley State Park was posted, I was already packing my bags. On my first trip to town I rode bike through the neighborhoods with my mother, Cindy Newstrom, who lived in New London until 1966. She pointed out old memories along the way, where the creamery where her father worked, where they’d get a ride down the hill towards the fish hatchery in the back of the milk truck; we stopped and looked at the water flowing over the dam….memories of her pedaling her tricycle to the same spot nearly 50 years ago fetching her sister who was fishing below for dinner. My Grandpa, Wally Newstrom, who turned 94 that same year, has another story. The story of watching the town evolve, of old farms and homesteads dotting the fields of Sibley State Park and of hiding up on Cedar Hill watching the members of the Veteran’s Conservation Corps set up their tent city in what is now Lake Andrew Campground. So many more memories exist for those who are rooted in the land and town, to those who start new traditions through visiting the lakes, woods and prairies of park.

As I was experiencing the beauty of my new home a project was already in motion; one that would make the Oral History Project Possible. The Riverspace Project, a group effort by the City of New London, New London Community in Action, New London Arts Alliance, New London Economic Development Authority and the New London Merchants Group, applied and received a grant from ArtPlace America. The goal was to bring arts to small town America. While many other grant recipients decorated our town with visual art, the New London Oral History Project, brought a voice to art; a voice to our town and park.

In the summer of 2016 most of the interviews were gathered by myself and volunteers. Using StoryCorps, an organization committed to preserving and gathering stories, and the Speak Easy interview trailer from Scott County Historical Society, stories were gathered along main street New London, in cozy homes around town, along the shores of Lake Andrew and even the local brew house. Our story collection has continued to grow….and your story is waiting to be told.

We hope you enjoy listening to these voices and the stories they tell.

Sincerely your Neighbor and Naturalist,
Kelsey Newstrom Olson