The Watertown Area Historical Society last week held a reception to present two Watertown residents with certificates of achievement for outstanding service in the community.
The Society honored Barb Carlson and Earline King, both longtime members of the Historical Society, for their service not just to the Society, but the Watertown community in general. The small reception was held at R&B Café in Watertown on Thursday, Oct. 4.
King, a former longtime teacher in the Watertown-Mayer School District and a former city council member as well, was the founding member of the Watertown Area Historical Society in 1998. Her desire to start the historical society started while teaching a social studies unit, when she realized that most of her students knew little about the community in which they lived. Her belief was always that the more students know about their community, the more they will appreciate and respect it.
King began to look for curriculum materials regarding the city’s local history, but realized none were available. She then began the quest to produce some herself, and in 1996, she received a grant to research the Luce Line Railroad and the small cities bordering it.
Before long, King began to find other people who were interested in Watertown’s history as well. On May 19, 1998, the first Watertown Area Historical Society meeting was held with 13 charter members dedicated to preserving and reporting Watertown’s history. King was elected as the first president.
King went on to serve two terms as the Historical Society’s president and two as vice president, and is still an active member. In addition to founding the historical society, she has contributed to the community in other ways as well. In addition to serving on the City Council from 2005-10, she served on a committee this past year that chose the content for a series of four signs in Rick Johnson Park and Rapid Waters Park that celebrate different aspects of Watertown’s history. She also remains active with the Commission on Aging and volunteers at the local branch of the Carver County Library.
Carlson was also one of the 13 original charter members of the Historical Society in Watertown. Carslson served as the Society’s membership chair for a number of years. She also indexed information about Watertown residents, which has been housed at the Watertown Public Library, and also recorded the deceased in each Watertown cemetery and recorded the names to disc for use by the cemeteries. She also helped create the Lewis Avenue business display in 2006.
Carlson also made many contributions to the city of Watertown. She worked with the Watertown 4-H Club to design the blue and white “Welcome to Watertown” signs that used to reside at the triangle of County Road 10 and 24, and was also involved with the “Watertown Flower Girls,” who placed flower baskets on the bridge and other places in town. Carlson was also a member of the Watertown Legion Auxiliary and an active member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.