The Winona County Historical Society was founded in 1935. It is a private non-profit educational institution dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition and interpretation of materials that document the human history of Winona County. The Society currently has some 1400 members and 90 active business supporters. History: The Winona County Historical Society was founded in June 1935 at a meeting of interested citizens in the Winona County Courthouse. The first president was William Codman, a local attorney and amateur historian. The first secretary was Mildred Sebo, a local 4-H leader in the county. The year before, Mildred organized a Winona County historical pageant in Whitewater State Park that was very successful, and it was from that event the idea of starting the Society emerged. The Society had its first headquarters in the courthouse and later acquired space in the Arlington Club and at Phelps Hall at Winona State University. During and after WWII the Society was relatively inactive. In 1954, a group of Winona citizens sought to revitalize the Society and approached Dr. Lewis I. Younger, a local physician and well known collector. Dr. Younger eagerly took on the responsibility, and under his leadership over the next 21 years, he helped make the Society one of the most active and well-respected county organizations in the state. During his tenure the Society's offices and collection were moved into the second floor of the Lumberman's building where UBC is now. The Society acquired the Bunnell House in 1956, the Arches Museum in 1964, the James Pearson (later renamed the Julius C. Wilkie) steamboat in 1956 (burned to the ground in 1981), First Baptist Church in Minnesota City in 1970 (given to the First Baptist Ladies' Aid in 1980), Robinson House in St. Charles which was given to the Society in 1975 (sold in 1978), and the Gainey Schoolhouse in 1955 (given to the Fair Board in 1980). The Society's current home in the former National Guard building (1915) was purchased and given to the Society by the Laird-Norton Co. in 1971 and dedicated in 1973. The Society hired its first full-time paid director in 1975 (Bill Gernes). When Gernes left in 1980, the Society hired Donn Young who stayed until 1982. The current Director, Mark Peterson has been with the Society since February 1983.