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Book shines light on history of Martin County

Lenny Tvedten

We may not be able to live in the past, but we can learn from it.

Area residents will now be able to enjoy that truth in the form of a new book, “Tales of Martin County’s Past,” by Lenny Tvedten.

Tvedten retired from teaching in 2001 and later became executive director of the Martin County Historical Society. The book is a compilation of articles written by him for many county newspapers since 2003, utilizing the resources of the Martin County Historical Society and Pioneer Museum. Tvedten shared the story of how the book became a reality.

“Had I thought when I started this that I would be putting together a book, I would have approached it a little differently,” he said. “Over the course of 15 years at one [article] a week or more, that’s a lot of stuff. When I look back I wonder, “Did I do all that?”

“It started back in 2003, when I was approached by [Editor] Lee Smith of the Sentinel, who contacted nonprofits and asked if they wanted to put something in the paper. For that first year, I put in about three to five historic articles, and those seemed to be well-received so I just put in more from there. Old historic issues of the Sentinel have been one of the more significant resources for everything I’ve done, not exclusively, but a large portion.”

Tvedten now also writes articles for the Fairmont Photo Press, the Truman Tribune and the Martin County Star. He shared what his writing process is like going into each article.

“Number one, I enjoy writing,” he said. “Second, I like to cover a variety of things; I don’t just like to stick to one topic. What I’ve found interesting is when I go through and do research on something else, I’ll come across something that I think would be interesting. So I’ll be able to put a story together from a couple different resources.

“What’s interesting to me are the notable people who have been part of Martin County over the years who have left an impact or made an impression. Then there’s the events that have taken place, like the tornado of 1936 or the attempts to put together a ski jump out east of town. If I think it’s interesting I’ll write about it. I try to include as much about the entire county as possible.”

Tvedten is grateful for the support of the various boards of the Historical Society over time. He also is grateful for the help he received from the book’s editor, Liz Wheeler.

“She organized everything into categories for the book, which was very helpful,” he said. “Plus she re-read everything, made corrections and came up with titles for the different categories.

“I’ve had several people approach me over the years asking me when I’m going to get this book done, and now it’s done. Those people that are interested in history and the Historical Society have been very supportive and very positive. That’s what stirred me on to do this.”

The book is available for purchase at the Pioneer Museum in Fairmont, and is also available on amazon.com.

The Martin County Historical Society will have a book signing with Tvedten from 3-7 p.m. Feb. 21.

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