Saturday, March 02, 2024
Dakota County Historical Society
To preserve, interpret and promote the history of Dakota County.

Location: 9965 124th Street

The Good Templars Hall, like the Waterford Schoolhouse, is a tribute to local citizens active in historic preservation. As the Nininger Chapter of the Dakota County Historical Society organized in December of 1975, members discussed ways in which their group could achieve their goal to preserve history. One good way, they decided, would be to restore the Good Templars Hall that was being used as the town hall, and early in 1977 they applied for a grant for restoration from the Minnesota Historical Society. MHS awarded $2,600 which the chapter had to match. The township contributed $1,000 and the chapter $250; but the greatest contribution came in the form of volunteer labor valued at $4,425, amounting to 590 hours contributed by 29 citizens. William Benjamin, who directed the project, personally contributed 312 hours!

In 1858, the Nininger Chapter of the Independent Order of Good Templars, a national temperance group, constructed the two-story hall. At the time Nininger was two years old and reaching the height of its prosperity before railroad routes excluded the town, leading to its collapse. The Good Templars reflected this decline when, in 1859, financial problems plagued the group, causing the sale of the hall to the local school district.

In the late 1870s when the first floor of the hall was removed due to decay, the top floor was lowered in its place, making it a one story building. It functioned in this diminutive state as a school until 1949 when the Hastings school district consolidated. Sold, but later repurchased, by the town for the town hall in early 1950s, the Good Templars Hall acquired new asphalt fiber siding over the wood lap and columns which had characterized the building.

When the Nininger Chapter of the Dakota County Historical Society began restoration, they removed the asphalt siding and replaced the deteriorated shingles with new cedar shingles. They also rebuilt the corner columns (in the Greek Revival style) which were visible on an early picture of the building. Six pane windows were installed and the soffet returns were reconstructed.

The building is the only remaining structure from the original town of Nininger. In February of 1980 it was placed on the National Register. It still serves as a town hall and community center for Nininger residents.

Visit one of these Dakota County Historic Sites