History Alive Plays

by JanePeck on April 11, 2019

Please see our new website  https://historyalivelanesboro.org for 2020 and future plays! You can also check www.facebook.com/historyalivelanesboro  for pictures and events.

Pop-up Plays are a set of scenes based on original scripts of Lanesboro, MN history with music and dance. They are set outdoors in historic sites of Lanesboro. Audiences are led on a walking tour where they experience the 28 characters that once inhabited our town! Many thanks to SE MN Arts Council and Legacy Funds from the people of Minnesota.

 Non-profit group History Alive! Lanesboro was born in December 2016 in Lanesboro, Minnesota after very successful seasons 2015 and 2016 of Pop-up Plays. The community asked us to keep the tradition going! Each year the Pop-up Plays take place the last two weekends of September. Tours at 1 and 3 pm each day. Usually plays begin at Sons of Norway Lodge,  108 Parkway Ave. South. Free with suggested donation. Written, directed by Jane Peck.

Our mission is to present original Lanesboro area history programs through the arts: acting, storytelling, dance, music, and writing.  We hope to foster community identity and the understanding of American small town heritage. “Stories of Lanesboro in the streets of Lanesboro” is our motto.


Pop-up Plays Lanesboro: 1918 was performed twice daily September 22 , 23, 29 and 30, 2018 with walking tours to various scenes that began at Sons of Norway Lodge, Lanesboro, MN. With a new script and direction by Jane Peck this production included 45 performers and was attended by a total of 450 audience members. History Alive Lanesboro  partnered with Lanesboro Henry Guttormson American Legion to produce this centennial show! Local World War I soldiers and nurses returned , suffragists marched, vaudeville came to town with Charlie Chaplin -as did the influenza epidemic. There was a welcome home parade for soldiers and nurses and a memorial for those who died. 

Enormous thanks to those who donated to make this event possible.  Thanks to the Lanesboro Area Community Foundation and Lanesboro American Legion. Thanks to performers and volunteers. We love you all!


Pop-up Plays Lanesboro 1930s: The Sequel was performed in twice daily over 4 weekend days in late September. This show focused on the turbulent years of 1936-1939 in Lanesboro, Minnesota.  Playwright and Director Jane Peck included local effects of the Depression and early labor movement, the rise of Hitler, the big Sons of Norway convention or 1936 and the local Roma or Gypsy camp. Peck recorded many oral interviews with local elders who remember these days.


Story #4: The Great Train Race

by JanePeck on February 9, 2012

The Great Train Race,   by Marcia McEachron

My grandfather, Art Schultz was a railroad engineer for the Milwaukee Railroad in Wisconsin.  It was his lifelong career.  There were many stories that my mother told about him.  She often road his train as a teenager, and said he would take curves so smooth that the coffee never sloshed in the cups in the dining car.

In 1937, he engineered a new train for the Milwaukee Road called the Chippewa. It’s first trip was from Chicago to Green Bay.  A white pigeon was released as the train left the station.  The ideas was the train and the pigeon would reach Green Bay at the same time.    He called the trip the “ Peace Train”  and people road for free as the threat of war in Europe was looming.  It was hoped the train and  the pigeon would reach Green Bay at the same time…and they did. Picture on left shows Art  J. Schultz and the racing pigeon held by  the Chicago Jubilee Queen, Lorraine Ingalls.

Another time Grandpa Art raced  his favorite coal-fired steam engine against a  new diesel Chicago Northwest engine in the late 1940’s. They were to race from Milwaukee to Chicago.  Smoke Williams was my grandfather’s fireman, (the guy who stoked the coal burner).  Everyone getting on the passenger train was informed by the conductors that a fast time was going to be set to Chicago and if it made them nervous, get on next train behind them for Chicago.  Very few got off, and everyone who stayed  was excited.  My grandfather, with so many years of experience,  knew every brakeman/switchman on the line to Chicago and they were all ready to clear track towards Chicago for him.  Well, a reporter on the train had a friend in  Racine who clocked the train at 119 miles an hour as it flew past the station. Art Schultz arrived safely with his train in Chicago Station in 52 minutes.  At that speed I often wonder when he began to slow it down so he didn’t miss the station.  He managed to beat the new diesel engine by 15 minutes.  Of course, word got back to the president of the Milwaukee Road  in a reporters’ story, and this was serious.  My grandfather got a letter from  President  Sandretti which said “ if I could believe that a steam  engine really did that time in a race with passengers on board, I would have to fire you.  Since Smoke Williams was your fireman, and from the picture it seems there is no more smoke than normal, I don’t believe with Williams firing for you it ever reached that speed.  If I ever hear of another story like this, you will be  suspended.”  At the end of the typewritten letter, in scrawled handwriting “Congratulations, if it’s all true!”

Art Schultz retired early from the Milwaukee Road in 1952 when the last steam engine was taken out of service.  He loved the steam engines, but didn’t care much for diesel.

Story # 3: Giving in Silence

January 25, 2012

Giving in Silence, by MaryEllen Weller Here is a family story for you about Mary and William Boyle, my great-great grandparents. They were married in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1856 and moved to Minnesota in 1859, Minnesota River valley, Arlington township, Sibley County. Two big events come together in this story of the Boyle family in […]

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Great-Great Stories Project

January 3, 2012

What do you know of your great-grandparents? Or your great-great grandparents?? They  may have lived at  the time of Pierre Bottineau and Little Crow, 150 yrs. ago. This is a good time to call family elders and ask for stories of your ancestors.      Find out about their adventures, names, places, dates, or ethnic groups. We […]

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Story # 2: Arne sings again!

January 3, 2012

by Jane Peck, 12/2011 The stars seemed to explode through the deep winter night sky as I left our hilly farm and drove towards Lanesboro, Minnesota.  It was the night before Christmas Eve, and I was anxious to sing carols, laugh, and be amazed at the annual gathering at the cozy St. Mane Theater. My […]

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The first of the Great-great Tales: What’s in a name?

January 3, 2012

What’s in a name? by Paulino Brener I grew up in Argentina. Like the US, Argentina is a country made up mostly of immigrants. I was always fascinated by stories of Spanish, Italian, German, Polish people living together in the “conventillos” (some kind of South American style slum tenements.) Unfortunately I was not smart enough […]

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Art inspiring Art

May 1, 2011

On our April 2nd show we had artist and photographer Scott Hegelson in the audience.  And this is what he created during the performance.    

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Who was Pierre Bottineau?

April 6, 2011

Bio: Pierre Bottineau was a Métis (French-Ojibwe/Cree)  man, born during a buffalo hunt near the Red River (present -day Grand Forks, ND)  in 1817 to an Ojibwe/Assiniboine mother and a French father from Quebec, Canada. Raised in St. Boniface (present-day Winnipeg) he spoke 4-5 languages, but likely had no schooling. When his name was pronounced […]

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THOUGHTS TOWARDS A BETTER WORLD: #356 – Dick Bernard: Bottineau Jig, Untold Tales of Early Minnesota

April 5, 2011

Two sold-out performances of Bottineau Jig, Untold Tales of Early Minnesota, attested to the interest in Dance Revels Moving History’s interpretation of the life and times of legendary Pierre Bottineau….   Thanks Dick Bernard for the article in your blog. To read full article click here    

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Bottineau Jig – Exploring diversity in early MN history

April 2, 2011

By Scott Marsalis on March 29, 2011 1:23 PM I’ve become involved in a local production called Bottineau Jig that seeks to explore issues of multicultural and multiracial identity through telling the stories of historical characters that lived in this area in the era preceding statehood. Drawing extensively on music and dance (Metis, French-Candian, Dakota, Scottish, Haitian, […]

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