#uplifting Giants: Restoring our Gathering Place

Hello friends and Spring Grove area community!

Spring Grove is fortunate to be a progressive and well-kept community that takes pride in our history and is not afraid to envision and invest for the future. Since 2009, Giants of the Earth Heritage Center has been serving the community at the historic Ballard House by bringing generations together through many unique programs such as traditional and DNA-based genealogy services, craft and language classes and camps, and recording of hundreds of oral histories and documentaries of area seniors, farm families, and veterans.

In the future, we hope to offer after school enrichment programming to SG youth and will be further exploring the history and culture of this area and others around the world through historical and contemporary exhibits on the upper floors and special guest visitors and events. But perhaps best of all: Giants is a gorgeous gathering space, just on the precipice of hosting you and yours (family, business, non-profit, etc.) for meetings and special events, reunions and classes. Please read on to join our final phase of the fundraising that ensures this great gathering space will serve our community for the next 100 years...

Restoring Spring Grove's Gathering Place: Introduction and Testimonial Video

Craig Bergsgaard Testimonial

Our Project: Past, Present, and Future

When the Ballard House was first built, citizens would drive their buggies or (if traveling from afar) ride the train to town. In those days, Spring Grove had a number of hotels to accommodate visitors. Only one remains.

It had rooms on two floors and a restaurant/pub to serve the community with a warm bed and a warm meal. It was a center of civic life. Giants of the Earth Heritage Center has been working in the last nine months to restore this historic building to a place of gathering and community service.

Silent Phase Donors: #uplifting

Thanks to the great generosity of Lee and Louise Sundet, an elevator will grace the building's west end and allow ADA accessibility to everyone! This monumental update will allow us to expand our use to the third floor as well as the basement spaces and will allow more flexibility in exhibit space and storage areas. We will also be able to triple our kitchen space and create a dedicated, soundproof filming studio to capture the stories of Spring Grove and beyond.

Lee and Louise Sundet on giving back to the community through Giants

Finally, we are thrilled to announce that everyone can easily visit Georgia’s Library on the second floor.

The silent phase of this project has been productive thanks to Lee and Louise Sundet, Mike and Beth Dvergsten, Glenn Kinneberg, Dianne Enger Snell, Rebecca Splittstoesser, Roger Tollefsrud and others who wish to remain anonymous.

Unexpected Construction Challenges

Many surprises were uncovered along the way. As you might expect, we learned a lot about how the building was constructed. Let’s just hint that the building code and practices of the 1890s do not meet our modern regulations. So, leveling floors, smoothing unplumb walls and matching ADA requirements was absolutely necessary to enable all visitors confident navigation within our building. Basement floors were repoured, beams were replaced, and plumbing and electrical wiring and HVAC now meet modern requirements. The historic Giants of the Earth building is now safe and reinforced to last for the next hundred years.

The Final Stretch: $180K

The silent phase of this project has been astounding, and we offer our deepest thanks to those who have already given so much. To date we have received a total of $445,000!

However, as a result of the many unexpected but necessary improvements, we have exceeded the original budget for this rehabilitation project.

That's where you come in! The final phase--reaching out to supporters, members and the community, is $180.000.

There are many ways to give, and we thank you for donating as a family, single person, business, or family group. Our Board of Directors and Visionary Council will offer Matching Fund gift incentives, encouraging us all to make the most of your contributions. We are also offering a "pay over 3-year" sponsorship plan for upper level exhibit rooms, the Kaffe Stua welcome room, and Kitchen.

Please contact us for more information about committing to a 3-year sponsorship or to share gifts of appreciated stock!

Construction history/progress slide show and Thank You Sundets!

Construction Slide Show

Spring Grove, Giants, and YOU are #uplifting!

As we have noted, these building improvements will allow us to meet the gathering place needs of our community. We now will have a wonderful space for individuals and groups to rent the building for family celebrations, receptions, reunions and special events. We will also be able to accommodate civic and business groups of all kinds to hold meetings, programs and celebrations.

Grand Re-Opening during Uff Da Fest, October 2

Our grand opening celebration will happen during Uff Da Fest on October 2, 2021. Special previews will allow sponsors and members to view the improvements created by our team of talented tradespeople of Spring Grove. This has been a labor of love and we cannot wait to thank you for your support.

Please donate, share, and thank you!

Please donate below by following the Go Fund Me prompts. We cannot do this without you! Please also consider sharing news about this fundraiser with friends, relatives, and business leaders in your social network. Knowing that you are investing in the heart of your community is a great symbol of pride and leadership that can invigorate others!

And now...a special message from Spring Grove Mayor Scott Solberg and children

For updates on the construction progress and other projects check out our website and social media platforms for pictures and the latest news. We will also greatly benefit from your utilization of our campaign hashtag: #uplifting when you share and re-post across social media.

Giants of the Earth website

Giants Facebook Page

Twitter Giants

Giants on Instagram

Thanks for being #uplifting!

Fundraising team (3)

Rachel Storlie
Spring Grove, MN
Giants of the Earth Heritage Center
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
Anastasia Wold
Team member
Violet Hatfield
Team member

Your easy, powerful, and trusted home for help

  • Easy

    Donate quickly and easily.

  • Powerful

    Send help right to the people and causes you care about.

  • Trusted

    Your donation is protected by the  GoFundMe Giving Guarantee.