Established in 2004 as a community outreach program of the La Crescent Area Historical Society with corporate sponsorship from Merchants Bank-La Crescent
In the late 1990s, Kimberly Czechowicz, a Historical Society volunteer, heard about 1860s base ball and brought up the idea as a fundraiser for the Society. At the time, we were thinking it would be just one event. Because of other projects, the time wasn't right until summer 2003, when Tim Moore, manager of the north Kwik Trip in La Crescent, played in an exhibition against the Rochester Roosters in La Crosse. He suggested that La Crescent "get into the game." Thanks to Tim, we were soon on our way.
By October 2003, Kim, Don Thesing, Randy Hafner, and I submitted a proposal to the La Crescent Area Historical Society to create a club as a community outreach program. Our request was contingent on enlisting a roster of 20 players and raising $1,000, which were both achieved. Jay Friedl of Merchants Bank was excited about the idea, and the Bank approved our request for start-up funds, becoming our corporate sponsor.
The first organizational meeting to recruit players was January 22, 2004, with George Horihan already on board as our first captain. Local advertising, phone calls, and personal contact helped us quickly develop the roster.
In the meantime, Kim enlisted a group of local women to create our uniforms. We purchased enough fabric for 15 shirts, shields, and caps using red as the accent color and another 15 with green as the accent. Thanks to Elaine Hunter, Lois Hund, Kristi Mormann, and Lisa Fiegen, we had enough uniforms to take the field ... and look sharp!
We proudly announced the first team at the historical society's annual meeting that spring. George organized several practices and we ordered bats and balls. Our first public event was a match against the Pickwick Millers to help that community celebrate its sesquicentennial.
In Pickwick, we participated in a parade (see photo below) and then played a game in the field behind the fire station. Steve Mau videotaped the game and a copy is now in the historical society archives.
George Horihan (left) and Peck Bartz, were on the inaugural Apple Jacks roster in 2004. George was the Jacks' player-captain and directed practices.
-- Mary McLaughlin
The La Crescent Area Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Heritage House at 328 South Third Street in La Crescent is the historical society's home. It includes an office, public archives, and museum. Also on the property is the Apple Shed featuring a display of tools and memorabilia of La Crescent's apple industry.
Heritage House, like the historical society itself, is run entirely by volunteers.