Longtime Rochester Historical Group Disbanding
Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - A longtime Rochester organization that can be credited with saving an important piece of the city’s history has decided to disband.
The organization known as Friends of Mayowood Residence was formed in 1981 as a small support group that wanted to preserve the historic property.
The founding group of six (Beebe Burke, Phyllis Mahler, Jean Monahan, Maren Stoke, Nina Sudor and Joann Sheldon) recognized the historical significance of the former Charles H. Mayo family home. They also became aware of the need to preserve the mansion, its furnishings, collections, and grounds.
The group worked with the Olmsted County Historical Center (now known as History Center of Olmsted County), which assumed ownership of Mayowood in 1965 and began offering Christmas Tours as a fundraiser to help cover the costs.
Although the History Center took over the tours in 1991, the group continued raising money for the Mayowood home. The group’s name was changed to The Friends of Mayowood Residence and Historic Sites in 1996 as members decided to begin supporting other historic properties, including the Plummer House and the Rochester Clock Tower and Bell.
Founding member Joann Sheldon says over the years, the group raised between $500,000 - $600,000.
Sheldon says membership peaked at 500 but dwindled in recent years and it was decided to end the group earlier this year because of the difficulty in maintaining an active board. The other factor was the loss of access to the home due to Mayo Clinic’s purchase of the property.
Sheldon says the group held a final party at Mayowood Dec. 6th and invited members and volunteers who helped out over the years.
The Rochester Area Foundation will oversee the group’s remaining funds.
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