The Hettinger County Historical Society was founded in 1962 with help from active community members Doyle Gorden and Bette Gardner of Regent, North Dakota, and Dr. Hankins of Mott, North Dakota. Some six years later in 1968, the HCHS founded the Hettinger County Historical Society Museum as a result of the generous donation by local physician Dr. S.W. Hill of the former main street drugstore. Accompanying the donation of the drugstore, Dr. Hill’s large medical equipment was purchased by three local farmers and donated to the HCHSM. Within the same year, Andrew Anton became the first curator of the museum and carried out that role until his retirement in 1980. Anton’s contributions to the museum were numerous and as a result the Native American room in the main office building was dedicated to him.
In 1972, the former Ekeland Store and Jesch Cafe was purchased and became what today is the central office and general starting location for all museum tours. The HCHSM was also awarded several grants throughout the 1970s which funded the purchase of several lots on main street and made it possible for the society to build Austin Frontierland in 1977 with the aid of twelve men from the Mott National Guard.
Throughout much of the 1970s, the museum grew with help from active HCHS members such as Oscar Austin and Delores Tollefson. Oscar Austin contributed much time to construction projects at the museum and was elected chairman of the HCHS board in 1972. Delores Tollefson was elected as Secretary Treasurer of the board in the same year and did extensive fundraising throughout her time with the museum. Delores’s extensive contributions resulted in the dedication of the Pioneer Rooms in 1983 to her memory.
The Hettinger County Historical Society Museum has made extensive strides since its founding in 1968. Today, the museum consists of six buildings which are as follows: the main office, Austin Frontierland, Teepee Butte School, Zion Lutheran Church, Dr. S.W. Hill’s Drugstore, and Christy’s Store.