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NCHS launches phase of fundraising effort

The Nobles County Historical Society recently kicked off the public phase of its Make History at the Armory fundraising campaign.

Monies generated by the campaign will help complete the renovation of the almost-100-year-old Worthington Armory building into a new Nobles County History Center, where all of Nobles County’s historic photos, records and treasures will be stored, displayed and interpreted for future generations. Many of the renovations have already been completed, including the installation of an elevator for handicapped accessibility; removal of an acoustic tile ceiling which revealed the original wood ceiling in the drill hall; rebuilding a balcony that was removed for the gymnastics program; re-roofing both the main building and the garage addition; replacement of windows broken out in a 1990 hailstorm; refinishing of the wood floors; and a number of other projects. Three new air handlers have been installed, with a fourth system still to be funded. The project was originally championed in September 2018 by Bob and Pat Ludlow, founders of Bedford Industries in Worthington, with an initial $1 million gift, which was matched by $500,000 donations each from the City of Worthington and Nobles County. Although the pandemic hindered ensuing fundraising efforts, other benefactors have come forward with another $1.5 million raised toward the effort. Companies that have pledged major donations to the Make History campaign are Bedford Industries, First State Bank Southwest, Johnson Builders and Realty, United Prairie Bank and Worthington Federal Savings Bank, and a number of private donors have also offered financial support. Now NCHS is asking YOU to consider a gift to the Make History at the Armory campaign. All donations are welcome. There are still naming rights opportunities for larger gifts to the campaign. Pledges can be paid over a five-year time period. This may be particularly appealing to senior citizens who must take a required minimum distribution from their retirement accounts. (The IRS requires that you withdraw at least a minimum amount - known as a Required Minimum Distribution - from some types of retirement accounts annually. The distributions are required to start when you turn age 72 (or 70 1/2 if you were born before 7/1/1949). All contributions of $5,000 and more will be acknowledged on the Make History at the Armory donor wall in the entry to the Armory building. A grain account has been set up with New Vision Co-Op to enable ag producers to donate grain to the project. Donating grain directly, rather than selling the grain and making a gift from the proceeds, offers significant tax savings. Financial donations can be sent to NCHS, P.O. Box 614, Worthington MN. If you’d like to donate via credit card, NCHS has a PayPal Account; or send an email to for a link to do a credit card payment. For more information about the Make History at the Armory Campaign, please contact NCHS Executive Director Beth Rickers, 376-4431; email

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