Austin Frontierland

Austin Frontierland

Home of Pioneer Village

In the 1970s, the Hettinger County Historical Society Museum received various grants to purchase property alongside the main office building and to construct a large facility in the new space. Community volunteers, twelve men from the Mott National Guard, along with point men Oscar Austin and Brad Gatzke came together to construct the facility. Austin Frontierland is named in honor of Oscar Austin who dedicated his talents and countless hours of manpower to the HCHSM.

Today, Austin Frontierland houses a variety of exhibits and artifacts. A large breadth of the facility houses farm implements such as walking plows, a wild oats separator, steam engines, a grain wagon, a horse drawn corn cultivator, and a McCormick Deering Tractor. Although they are not related to agriculture, the facility also houses a ’57 Chevy Bel Air and a Star-Lite 1 Two Cycle Experimental Plane.

The central exhibit inside Austin Frontierland is the Pioneer Village. Mr. Oscar Austin, former curator Andrew Anton, and CETA workers labored seven summers to build the town that lines the wall. Pioneer Village was constructed to replicate the businesses one would see during the late 19th century and early 20th century in the small villages that dotted the Great Plains. Characteristic of many small towns, the Pioneer Village consists of a post office, jail, fire department, hotel, mercantile store, bank, bar, barbershop, butcher shop, printing press, harness shop, and blacksmith shop.