Maplewood historian wins Heritage Award

Love of city’s history began by researching a road

You don’t have to be a native of a city to become an expert of its history.

Bob Jensen has only lived in Maplewood since 2007, but that hasn’t stopped him from immersing himself in the suburb’s history. Within two years of arriving, he was a part of the Maplewood Historical Society. Two years after that, he was the society’s vice president.

One year later, he was promoted again, this time to president, a title he still holds.

And now, he’s the winner of the 2013 Maplewood Heritage Award. “It’s not work. It’s fun for me,” he said during a presentation at the April 28 Maplewood City Council meeting.

Several people from the city and the historical society were on hand to express their gratitude.

“He has helped so much in moving Maplewood to that next step of historic preservation,” said Ginny Gaynor, the city’s natural resources director. “On behalf of staff, we thank you so much.”

Bob was a project manager at UFE Inc. in Stillwater before retiring and moving to Maplewood. He has since become an expert on the city’s history, the interest sparking from an old stagecoach road he wanted more information about.

“I wanted to find where the records were, and I knew that township records were at the historical society,” he recalled. “So I kind of fell in love with the farm, because I grew up on a farm similar to the one we have on the Bruentrup Heritage farm. Suddenly, I’m working 60 hours a week and enjoying myself. “

The Maplewood Heritage Award is given out annually to a person who “has positively influenced the city’s past, or strengthened the preservation of Maplewood’s history”.

“Every historical society wants new blood in their society, and they found it in spades with Bob,” said Peter Boulay, chairperson of the Maplewood Heritage Preservation Commission and a Maplewood native. “He’s been there since 2007, and he knows as much as I do, and I’ve been here a little bit longer.”

Jensen said he has no interest in slowing down. He’s hoping to continue to build up and preserve the history of a city that has grown dear to his heart. He thinks he’ll have the time for it, too.

He even offered advice to other new retirees: “(If) you don’t have any plans, seriously consider history, because that can occupy 60 hours a week without a problem.”

Tim Faklis can be reached at (651)748-7814 or at tfaklis@lillienews.com.

 

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