In The News

July 28th - Civil War Celebration

Monroe Crossing Concert

Saturday, June 30
7 - 9pm
Lakes Area Community Center
112 Main Street, Battle Lake, MN
Tickets: $20 advance - $22 door
Cash Bar – Beer and Wine
Ticket Hotline: 218-864-4008

Grant Proposal Approved
February 25, 2018
Andrea Kajer
Senior Director, External Affairs
345 West Kellogg Blvd
St Paul, MN 55102

Dear Andrea:

Thank you so very much for approving our grant proposal! We are very excited about educating 6th graders in the schools in MN. We are reaching out to the counties around Ottertail County.

We already have had 2 groups from area schools participate in our Civil War Museum Education Program with volunteers. This is going to help us to be more proactive in reaching the schools, after our program letter informing educators of this opportunity.

Again, thank you all on behalf of the Prospect House Museum Board of Trustees in this review of our request. We are very anxious to report our successes.


Abby Bizzett Johnson
Project Director
Prospect House Museum
403 N Lake Ave
Battle Lake, MN 56515

Greetings Educators!

Prospect House and Civil War Museum is excited about the upcoming 2017-18 school year and the introduction of a brand new interactive Civil War learning experience for your students. The Civil War & Minnesota is a new educational program that has been uniquely created for Minnesota 6th grade students and developed upon Minnesota State Social Studies Standards regarding the Civil War and Reconstruction: 1850-1877. (MDE SS #, 2 & 3)

Make history with us and be a part of our inaugral year! When you plan a field trip to the Prospect House and Civil War Museum, your students will spend two hours learning about Minnesota’s role in the Civil War, the settlement of west-central Minnesota, and the U. S. Dakota War of 1862. History comes alive as students have fun role playing the persona of a time-period character, hearing stories, and in small groups, rotating through three distinct learning modules:

Causes & Timeline of the Civil War

Together we will discuss the causes of the war and major battles that were fought. We’ll look at the timeline of events leading up to and after war, and, of course, examine some actual Civil War artifacts!

Life at War & Life on the Homefront

See and feel what it was like to be a Minnesota soldier during the Civil War. Put yourself in the shoes of civilians during this time and consider what life was like for them on the home front.

Westward Expansion & the U.S.-Dakota War

Learn how the United States expanded westward and the difficult challenges it brought to the Native Americans and the many foreigners that came to Minnesota. Discover the history and growth of west central Minnesota.

The Civil War & Minnesota educational program runs on Thursdays. Costs are $5.00/students; $8.00/adults; the classroom teacher and two adult chaperones are free. We are currently scheduling morning or afternoon tour times starting in January. Dates are limited, so to get your ideal field trip date reserved or additional questions answered contact: Jay Johnson at 218-864-4008.

We hope you’ll incorporate The Civil War & Minnesota into your new school year! What a great way for students to hear the stories and personally connect with the history of our state, local towns, and the people who lived in them. Join us at the museum as student learn how these connections to the past help shape the future!

“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” ― Rudyard Kipling

OTC Veteran's Services Aug 2017

Minnesota has a Confederate flag and it will keep it
Published Monday, August 21st, 2017. Fergus Falls Journal.

"Minnesota has a Confederate symbol in its possession. It has long caused controversy. And Minnesota is not moving it.

The Confederate icon — a scarred and hole-worn Virginia battle flag — was captured by the First Minnesota Pvt. Marshall Sherman at the bloody and brutal Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Many of the First Minnesota Regiment, a volunteer force, died in the Union battle against the South and Sherman was awarded the Medal of Honor for his role."

Read More

Civil War Freedom Fest Tours & Exhibits July 29th

Monroe Crossing Friday, July 28th

A Mad Hatter Tea Party

Sad News

It's with a heavy heart that we share the passing of our beloved Captain. Wednesday morning, February 8th, Captain was out on patrol in Battle Lake, on the North side of town. He was hit by a car, and died without suffering.

Captain was a familiar fixture at Prospect House Museum, attending meetings and events, and greeting all who entered. He was also a loyal and loving family member to Jay and Abby, often seen around the region helping Jay deliver firewood.

Captain follows a long history of the Colehour family raising champion Labrador Retrievers. In lieu of condolences, friends of the Prospect House Museum suggest making a donation in Captains name. Proceeds will help improve a museum exhibit about the Prospect House's "Golden" history in honor of Captain, the beloved museum dog.

Celebrating a great year!

As we enter this season of festive gatherings, giving and good tidings, we are pleased to bring you news from your community historical and cultural resource.

To read more from our latest newsletter, click here.

Now Under Renovation




2016 Fall Luncheon

Sixth annual Civil War Celebration

The Sixth annual Civil War Celebration took place this past Saturday at the Prospect House and Civil War Museum.

WDAY News came out and made a great video of the event that you can watch at the below link.

WDAY Video & Article

Prospect House Museum Benefit Concert

Monroe Crossing Poster Monroe Crossing Show

$19 Adults
$15 Children (14 & under)
For tickets, please call 218/535-1588.

Saturday, July 02, 2016
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Lakes Area Community Center
112 Main Street
Battle Lake, MN 56515

Battle Lake Lions Donate

"The Prospect House and Civil War Museum is pleased to announce the Battle Lake Lions Support in a new project at the Musuem."

Read more here.

Published in Battle Lake Review on Apr. 13, 2016.

Underwood Students Visit the Prospect House

"Underwood 6th grade class toured the Prospect House and learned more about the Civil War. They also learned how Minnesota fits into the history of the Civil War."

Read more in the PDFs below:
Underwood Student Photos
Student stories about the Prospect House
Student stories about the Prospect House (Continued)
Student stories about the Prospect House (Continued)
Student stories about the Prospect House (Continued)

Published in Battle Lake Review on Feb. 17, 2016.

2015 Holiday Gala

Holiday Gala Invitation


Jessica Lourey Jessica (Jess) Lourey is best known for her critically-acclaimed Murder- by-Month mysteries, which have earned multiple starred reviews from Library Journal and Booklist, the latter calling her writing "a splendid mix of humor and suspense." Jessica also writes sword and sorcery fantasy as Albert Lea and edge-of-your-seat YA adventure as J.H. Lourey, and is branching out into magical realism, literary fiction, and thrillers under her given name. She is a tenured professor of creative writing and sociology at a Minnesota college. When not teaching, reading, traveling, writing, or raising her two wonderful kids, you can find her dreaming of her next story.

OCTOBER 24, 2015


One lucky participant will go home with Jess’s new book:

book cover Told in a majestic mosaic of strong women's voices, The Catalain Book of Secrets weaves together alchemy, hope, tragedy, and true love to spin a tale in the style of Garden Spells, Eva Luna, and Practical Magic.

More Info about the Book

Thank You For Your Support

Battle Lake Reenactment Photos

Dell Eriksson has posted some great photos from Battle Lake Wenonga Days.

Preserving history: Prospect House & Civil War Museum a treasure trove

Meredith Holt has put together a nice article about the Prospect House & Civil War Museum. The article is linked below and also includes a video.

Article Page

Photos from Battle Lake Wenonga Days

The Fergus Falls Journal posted pictures from the Battle Lake Wenonga Days this past weekend.

Thank You Donors Newspaper Article

Dear Donors,

Because of you and your support, the Prospect House Museum has had its best year ever!!! Your donations and volunteerism made it possible to restore the face of the Prospect House with new paint; You made it possible for us to dig out and improve the landscape including multiple flower beds and gardens. We have two special funds that have enabled the Prospect House Museum to provide much needed upgrades to the Museum - Beautiful Gardens and the Furnance Fund...

The rest of the article is avaible by clicking on this link.

Fifth Minnesota Infantry, Company D also Coming to Prospect House & Civil War Museum

A group of Civil War reenactors and living historians who dedicate themselves to their motto "Remembering the Past, Educating the Future." Members come from Fargo, Grand Forks, and surrounding areas in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Cannon Picture

2nd Minnesota Battery Light Artillery Coming to Prospect House & Civil War Museum

The 2nd Minnesota Battery, Light Artillery Inc., was incorporated in Goodhue County in 1985. They are a group of men and women, living historians and Civil War re-enactors, dedicated to preserving the history of the United States by participating in lectures, educational opportunities and the re-creation of those years from 1861-1865, when our country was involved in a great Civil War.

Cannon Firing Picture

Although the battery headquarters are located in Red Wing, they have active members in communities up and down the Mississippi River from Coon Rapids to Winona. Members are responsible for purchasing his/her own period clothing and accoutrements that allow them, as an organization, continue to “step back in time”.

The unit they portray, the 2nd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery was accepted for service in the Union Army at Ft. Snelling, MN in February 1862 and served valiantly in the Western Theater of the war until August of 1865.

Cannon Firing Picture

Wearing historically accurate uniforms and equipment, in their efforts to educate, members of the 2nd Minnesota Battery Light Artillery have feasted on hardtack and salt pork, cooked over an open fire, slept on the hard ground, responded to the call of the bugle, breathed the black powder smoke of battle, endured weather conditions that would keep “less enthusiastic folks” inside and walked in the foot-steps of the men they portray.

Since their incorporation in 1985, the organization has over four hundred sixty appearances on its resume. These appearances have taken them into school systems in Red Wing, Lake City, Cannon Falls, Faribault, Winona, Rochester, Maplewood, Edina, Savage and Oakdale in Minnesota and to Ellsworth and Prescott in Wisconsin. They have lectured to Kiwanis Clubs, Rotary Clubs, Women’s Guilds, in public libraries, historical societies, bookstores, and on cable television networks.

During the 125th anniversary years of the Civil War, members of the organization travelled to participate in recreating historical battles at Shiloh TN (1987), Gettysburg PA (1988), Olustee FL (1989), Vicksburg MS (1989) and Westport MO (1989).

Since these “awakening” years, they also participated in recreating historical Civil War battles at 130th Wilson’s Creek MO (1991), 130th Perryville KY (1992), 135th Shiloh TN (1997), 136th Chickamauga GA (1999), 139th Wilson’s Creek MO (2000), 140th Perryville KY (2002), 144th Perryville KY (2006) and 145th Chickamauga (2008).

To celebrate the 150th anniversary years of the Civil War, members once again travelled to recreate battles at Shiloh TN (2012), Perryville KY (2012), Gettysburg PA (2013) and Pilot Knob MO (2014). These anniversary year events, recreated on historic ground, have been attended by hundreds of thousands of spectators. In May 2015, members will travel to Springfield IL to recreate the welcome of President Lincoln’s Funeral Train on the 150th anniversary of this event.

In addition to participating in numerous Civil War reenactments at the National level, their resume includes encampments on the historic grounds of Fort Snelling and Fort Ridgley. They also have participated in a variety of Civil War related community events in the tristate area of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. On July 25, 2015, we welcome the members of the 2nd Minnesota Battery Light Artillery to the Prospect House & Civil War Museum, here in Battle Lake MN.

Holiday Tours & Open House

Holiday Gala

What a fun event this year! Our Gala Sponsor Thrivent provided matching dollars up to $1,000. We were so very fortunate this year between our guests and Friends, the Prospect House raised $2,351. The food and beverage was donated by community friends and neighbors.

See our volunteers, as they set before us a feast of hors d’oeuvres and punch.

We also enjoyed the presence of three lovely Roaring Twenties Flappers.

Thank you Friends of the Prospect House Museum.

Pictures taken by Lana Kelly


Wilkins Building New Home On Site of Prospect Inn

An old landmark is being torn down this week and with it go the happy ghosts of pioneer tourists' paradise. Prospect Inn. Battle Lake's first summer hotel, is giving place to a palatial three story Colonial mansion, built by Mr. and Mrs. E. C. Wilkins. The residence will be modeled somewhat after Mrs. Wilkins' great, great grandmother's home in Deerfield, Mass. in which Mrs. Wilkins still owns an interest. She visited it when east last fall. This building was constructed, in 1772.

To read more, click the image below.
article image

Pumpkin Fest
September 27
Prospect House Museum
Special Event 1pm – 3pm

Photo of Prospect House
It doesn’t take a few cool mornings or the slightest suggestions of color on the edges of the maple leaves to tell Minnesota hunters and fisherman that it is unofficially fall. Association with the transition from warm to cold weather, and its related status as the season of harvest, dominates celebrations all over the Midwest. Rural folk created a rich social life combining work, food, hunting, and entertainment early in our history.

Join Jay at the Prospect House for a “special display of hunting and fishing” from the early days of the Prospect Inn to recent history in the Battle Lake Area. For early settlers hunting, fishing was almost purely for survival and more of a way to get food for the family. Major regulations were not established until the 20th century.

You are also invited to bring your own memories and pictures of hunting and fishing in Minnesota to share with the group. After the presentation, refreshments of pumpkin/apple cake donuts and apple cider will be served; and tours of the Prospect House and Civil War Museum will be offered for $10.

Goin’ To The Lake: Mike & Natalie Visit Battle Lake

"This week, Natalie and Mike loaded up their luggage into the Mobile Weather Watcher and took off Wednesday, heading three hours northwest to Battle Lake."

More Info is located on the CBS website.

Antiques Roadshow

Jay and Abby went to the Antique Roadshow on May 31st in Bismarck, ND. Among the items they brought is an original poster from Lincoln's first presidential campaign.

Jay at the Roadshow

Glendalough Trail Overview
"The 12-mile paved trail takes you through one of Minnesota’s most serene and beautiful state parks: Glendalough. Glendalough’s diversity make it perfect for families and avid outdoor enthusiasts. The trail also connects you to the charming city of Battle Lake, offering shopping, eating, lodging and fun events! And it’s a loop! You park your vehicle, enjoy the trail, without having to pick a point to turnaround.

The trail offers level terrain, perfect for riders and walkers of all ages and skill levels. Along the trail are show stoppers like the amazing Prospect House & Civil War Museum – recently named to the National Register of historic places.

The trail loop is for non-motorized traffic and consists mostly of 10-foot-wide asphalt."


Saturday, July 26, 2014
8:30 p.m.

Lakes Area Community Center
112 Main Street, Battle Lake, MN 56515

Monroe Crossing Band Photo

Monroe Crossing is coming to Battle Lake to put on a concert for the benefit of the Prospect House and Civil War Museum. Named in honor of Bill Monroe, “The Father of Bluegrass Music,” Monroe Crossing dazzles audiences with an electrifying blend of classic bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, and heartfelt originals. Their airtight harmonies, razor sharp arrangements, and on-stage rapport make them audience favorites across the United States and Canada.

Based in Minnesota, the group plays an average of 125 shows a year at major venues and festivals, frequently for non-bluegrass audiences — and people often comment that they’d never really liked bluegrass music until they attended a Monroe Crossing concert!

Monroe Crossing is made up of five very distinct personalities with differing musical backgrounds and tastes, combining for a very unique ensemble sound. They are Derek Johnson: guitar, lead & harmony vocals; Lisa Fuglie: fiddle, mandolin, lead & harmony vocals; Matt Thompson: mandolin, fiddle, baritone vocals; Mark Anderson: bass & bass vocals; and David Robinson: banjo. Their paths crossed through the music of Bill Monroe so they like to say they had a “Monroe Crossing.”

More information about Monroe Crossing can be found at their website:

Blue Grass Concert on July 26 after the Wenogna Day Parade Tickets are $15, all proceeds benefit Prospect House. Cash Bar. For tickets call (218) 535-1588.

Civil War Traveling Trunk Program
The Prospect House and Civil War Museum received a grant of $730 from The Battle Lake Area Community Fund for its Civil War Traveling Trunk Program.

The Civil War Traveling Trunk program provides authentic and reproduction Civil War artifacts and various other materials to utilize in classrooms or on the road at tradeshow venues. The Trunk fosters a greater interest in the American Civil War and the preservation of our American history by allowing hands-on experiences. You also will hear true stories of James A. “Cap” Colehour’s experiences in the Civil War, such as:


Colonel John T. Wilder from Indiana was responsible for being the creator of a new “Special Forces” unit called Mounted Infantry. They were foot soldiers on horses and they would ride to the battle, dismount and fight. The cavalry fought on horse-back. He was young, fearless, and capable. In one of his first battles at Green River, after finding he was surrounded and outnumbered, he chose to surrender rather than let his men be uselessly slaughtered. He led a charge at full gallop in the Battle at Hoover’s Gap and his unit became known as the famous “Lightning Brigade” for its powerful, rapid response. James A. “Cap” Colehour of the 92nd Illinois Volunteers was a member of Wilder’s Lightning Brigade and his 92nd Illinois Regiment had the honor of being the first Union regiment to fly the American Flag at the Battle for Chattanooga – a major “turning point” in the Civil War and was, at least partly, responsible for Lincoln winning the 1864 election.

The Lightning Brigade had the newest and best innovations of military apparatus available including: the long-barreled Spencer Repeating Rifle capable of firing 20 shots a minute; the new lightweight “racing” saddle designed by General McClellan; hatchets instead of bayonets (hatchets were more useful and could still be used for fighting); and special stirrups designed for shoes instead of boots. Wilder’s Lightning Brigade wore infantry insignia, rode with the cavalry and was also called the “Hatchet Brigade”. They were the newest and best rapid assault force and were in the forefront of my battles.

Come and see the story of “Cap” Colehour, the Blue Lightning Brigade, and the many artifacts that tell of his adventures with General Wilder. Come to the Prospect House Museum and see his Spencer rifle, saddle, shoe, uniform with bullet holes where he was shot, and the surgeon’s report with his blood stains on it, and much, much more! See you at the Museum!

Open May 1st from 10am – 5pm, and tour times beginning at 10:30am, 12:30pm, 2pm and 3:30pm. Please call in advance and schedule your tour time 218/864-4008. All tours are guided tours!

To schedule your school or organization’s “Traveling Trunk” Program,
call Jay at 218/864-4008.

THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN: In early May 1864, Sherman began a major offensive to capture the city of Atlanta and cut vital Confederate supply lines. Over the course of two months, his 110,000–man force pursued the Confederate army under the command of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston from its winter camp in Dalton to Kennesaw Mountain, some twenty miles northwest of Atlanta. While the armies clashed in a number of battles that spring, none proved decisive. Though only half the size of the Union force, the Confederate army was able to parry Union thrusts and escape destruction; however, it could not stop Sherman’s advance, and in early July, with the Union army approaching Atlanta’s outer suburbs, Confederate President Jefferson Davis relieved Johnston of command.” (

James A. “Cap” Colehour rode with Sherman on this march in 1864. The Prospect House and Civil War Museum celebrates the 75th Anniversary of GONE WITH THE WIND, and commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Atlanta.

On May 3, 2014, Matti's Millinery and Costumes modeled fashions and gowns from the Civil War era. Jay Johnson was available to share the memories of his great grandfather, James A. "Cap" Colehour. Wine, cheese and traditional southern cake was served. The event fee was $10.00.

Veterans of the Civil War Exhibit at Otter Tail County Historical Society
Veterans of the Civil War came to Otter Tail County shortly after the war and made numerous contributions to the county as early pioneers, businessmen, township organizers and much more. This exhibit will explore their contributions to the county and the far reaching effects of those contributions. (Otter Tail County Historical Society, Fergus Falls, MN)

Jay Johnson, Founder/CEO of The Prospect House and Civil War Museum gave a presentation at OTCHS on February 21, 2014 to a group of Civil War enthusiasts. His presentation was about the life of James A. "Cap" Colehour, Civil War survivor, his great grandfather. On display at OTCHS is the life of James A. Colehour and the Prospect House when it was a hotel and home of James A. Colehour and family. There is also a display of a unique structure, Battle Lake Baptist Church, the church where James A. "Cap:" Colehour was a founding member.

For more information contact the Otter Tail County Historical Society at 218-736-6038.

January Thaw - Meet the Author
On January 25th, meet the author of January Thaw, Jess Lourey.

"Private-eye-in-training Mira James loves Minnesota’s crisp January days, as long as she can spend them in the arms of hunky Johnny Leeson. But when Mrs. Berns’s erratic Zamboni driving uncovers an icebound dead man, Mira’s cold-weather tranquility threatens to melt away.

With a frozen body in the lake and a freak January thaw descending on town, neither Johnny nor generous portions of high-octane comfort food are enough to ease Mira’s frazzled nerves. There’s big trouble brewing in Battle Lake. And if Mira can’t figure out who’s behind it, the next time she feels sub-zero temperatures, she may be sporting a toe tag in the town morgue."

Buy it Today

Pioneer Public Television Post Cards Episode
On Sunday, December 22nd at 7:00 p.m. CST, watch Post Cards on the Pioneer Public Televsion channel to hear more about the Prospect House.

Watch the Episode

"Watch the amazing family story of a Civil War veteran at the Prospect House Museum in Battle Lake. Hear the history of the Morris Movie Theatre and how it came to be a cooperative today. Discover the passion and beauty found in the paintings and jewelry by Marcella Rose from Pelican Rapids."

The Prospect House and Civil War Museum has become a member of the Blue Star Museum Group. Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America. First launched in the summer of 2010, Blue Star Museums offers free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day, May 27, through Labor Day, September 2, 2013.

Battle Lake museum may soon be on National Register of Historic Places
Detroit Lakes Online, Wednesday, April 3, 2013. By Vicki Gerdes

Nomination for National Register of Historic Places
On Tuesday, March 19, we received great news. The Minnesota State Historic Preservation Board met today and unanimously approved the Prospect House to be nominated for the National Register of Historic Places. The National board meets in May so cheer us on!!

Picture of Jay Johnson at National Register meeting

Our Nomination Photos

Prospect House on a possible path to the National Register
The Prospect House in Battle Lake is being considered by the Minnesota Historical Society’s State Review Board for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, it was announced last week.

It is one of seven total properties from around the state up for consideration.

The National Register of Historic Places is the federal government’s official list of historic properties worthy of preservation.

The state review board will meet on Tuesday, March 19 at 6 p.m. to consider the nomination. This meeting is open to the public and will be held in the Cargill Commons Room of the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul.

Preservation office staff will present a brief presentation on the history of Prospect House and the board will entertain comments from people in the audience. Following discussion, the board will act on the nomination, rendering an opinion of whether the property meets national register criteria.

The Prospect House is located on Lake Avenue North in Battle Lake.

According to the nomination materials, Prospect House was originally constructed in 1887 as the Prospect House Hotel. In its day, the hotel would accommodate up to 100 guests in 27 rooms at $2 per day. It was nearer to the lake than any other hotels, and it offered pleasure parties, fishing parties, hunting parties, accommodating hosts and scenic picnic grounds.

It is now operated as a Civil War and house museum by the Friends of the Prospect House, formed in 2010.

Published March 14th, 2013 at Perham Focus

March 2013
The Minnesota Historical Society has informed Jay Johnson, that the Prospect House at 403 Lake Ave North, Battle Lake, Otter Tail County, will be considered by the State Review Board for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register of Historic Places is the Federal government’s official list of historic properties worthy of preservation. Listing in the National Register assists in preserving our Nation’s heritage. The State Review Board meets on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, at which time the nomination will be considered. The meeting is open to the public. Preservation Office staff will present a brief presentation on the history, correspondence will be entered into the record, and the board will entertain comments from people in the audience who wish to speak. Following discussion, the board will act on the nomination, rendering an opinion of whether the property meets National Register Criteria.

March 2013
The Minnesota Historical Society has awarded a Minnesota Historical Cultural Heritage Grant in the amount of $4,221 to the Prospect House Museum for the StEP’s Program Assessment Project.

Museum a Civil War treasure trove
Published Tuesday, February 19th, 2013. Fergus Falls Journal.

Join the ancestors of the James (Cap) A. Colehour family for a new display of antique valentines. Many of the valentines are over 100 years old. The valentines on display were also featured in “In Good Company” magazine’s winter edition 2011. This year, the Prospect House and Civil War Museum is celebrating 150 years since the Civil War, the year is 1863. Our special guests on Valentine’s Day will be President Abraham and Mrs. Lincoln. In 1863, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, and he will be there to present this historical document. The hours for the display on February 14, 2013 are from 1PM – 6PM, serving light refreshments. Also, when you leave the Prospect House Museum treat your sweetheart/s to a delicious meal at the Shoreline Restaurant just north of the Prospect House Museum on Highway 78.

A new display was added to the Civil War Museum during December 2012 showing many details and pictures about the local G.A.R. chapter. The “Grand Army of the Republic” was formed in 1866 in Illinois, the year after the Civil War ended, as a re-union for Union soldiers. It was a forerunner of the VFW and gradually faded out of existence as the old soldiers rapidly disappeared. The average life span at that time was less than 50 years of age. The “Everts” Post No. 138 of the G.A.R. was founded in 1885 in Battle Lake by James A. Colehour and E. A. Everts, and was named after E. A. Everts’ father, Rezin Everts. The Everts Post sponsored a large G.A.R. Regional Encampment in Battle Lake in 1886. The few remaining Civil War survivors in Battle Lake disbanded the Post in 1900 due to declining numbers and poor health. The survivors were nearly 60 years old. James A. Colehour and E. A. Everts joined the “Stanton” Post in Fergus Falls – named after Edwin Stanton, Lincoln’s Secretary of War. Everts passed away in 1916 and was buried with the Post’s G.A.R. flag on his chest. Colehour, the last Civil War survivor in Otter Tail County and of his regiment, passed away on Christmas Day 1938 and is buried beside his best friend E. A. Everts in Lakewood Cemetery, Battle Lake.

Also in December 2012 a new display was added to the second floor of the Prospect House showing some momentos, post cards and pictures of family members that attended the World's Fair in Chicago, IL in 1933. Cap Colehour lived in Chicago before moving to Battle Lake in 1882 and still had many relatives in the area at that time. Here is some original footage of the 1933 World's Fair:

Be sure to ask your tour leader to tell you the story of Andy the turtle!

Joint Gala at Prospect House Museum

Gala Photo

Working together closely, the Prospect House Museum and Otter Tail County Historical Society (OTCHS) raised almost $900 in a joint fundraiser gala in December. Two 1920’s-themed events brought people together over hors d’oeuvres, music and a bit of theatre for this $20 per-person fundraiser.

Chris Schuelke, director of OTCHS, donned a 1920s hat and tie to play the role of “Cap” Colehour, owner of the Prospect House during that time. As Colehour, Schuelke recounted the story of early life, Civil War days, work in Chicago, and the move to Battle Lake in the 1880s for health reasons.

Two talented musicians give solo performances in the beautiful furnished, holiday decorated living room. Jake Dyrhaug, consummate jazz pianist and pastor of First Lutheran Church in Battle Lake, played keyboard and led guests in a 1920’s sing along. On the second evening, Dan Carlson, Band Director at M-State in Fergus Falls, gave an outstanding performance on trumpet with music from the period.

During the evening, Jay Johnson, “Cap’s” great-great grandson gave tours of the four-story museum, including the Civil War room with artifacts, letters, and mementoes dating to the civil war. Johnson’s wife, Abby, greeted guests in 1920’s flapper attire replete with feather headdress. Johnson formed a nonprofit organization, the Prospect House Museum, in 2010 and turned operations over to the organization and its Board of Directors. The museum is open for tours year-around.

Both non-profit organizations would like to thank those who attended the gala events for their support.

For more information, contact: Reba Gilliand at 218-862-5510 or

From November 1 to December 24, 2012 the Prospect House & Civil War Museum is providing a traveling exhibit of artifacts to the ITOW Veterans Museum of Perham, MN.


1st Annual Old Fashioned Halloween Event

Battle Lake, MN (October 2012) – The Prospect House and Civil War Museum is holding its first official Halloween event. Join the ancestors of the James (Cap) A. Colehour family and step back in time for the treat of an old time Halloween. You might see a couple of Civil War Veterans!!!

Festivities begin on October 31st at 3:30pm and end at 7pm.

403 Lake Ave N.
Battle Lake, MN 56515


A Fargo couple shows the true meaning of endless love
Prospect House & Civil War Museum Board member, James Colehour Wilkins, celebrates his 97th birthday and gets married the next day.

Published October 12th, 2012. WDAY News.

The Prospect House & Civil War Museum is sponsoring a soda booth at the 2012 Minnesota Renaissance Festival in Shakopee, MN. Volunteers will be manning the booth during all 16 days of operation from August 18 through September 30. A percentage of the profits will be donated to the Museum by the Castle Kitchens Corporation. Come by and visit us at our booth across from the Children's Realm at the Fest!

Prospect House Museum Benefit in Battle Lake
Monroe Crossing will give a benefit dinner and concert for the Prospect House Museum beginning at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10, at the Lakes Area Community Center (LACC). The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $22 for dinner and concert, or $15 for the concert only. Tickets can be booked ahead by calling 218-864-4008 or purchased beginning at 5 p.m. on the day of the concert at LACC, 112 West Main Street. The benefit is for the Prospect House Museum in Battle Lake, a non-profit organization formed in August 2010. The Museum offers a glimpse of history beginning with the Civil War right though the early 20th century. It is located in Battle Lake at 403 Lake Avenue (Highway 78).
Published August 7th, 2012. Fergus Falls Journal.

Thanks to a generous donation the living room furniture was rebuilt and recovered with new fabric. The furniture was assembled as closely as possible to the 1930s era. Thus in July 2012 the living room was opened up to tours for the first time.

In early July 2012 two new road signs were installed on either side of the Prospect House driveway. They were a donation from Warren Colehour's memorials. The large and handsome signs add a missing feature to the tourist experience.

Road Sign Photo

The garden tour event of July 14 & 15, 2012 was very successful earning a large donation toward landscape renovation of the Prospect House grounds.

In late July 2012 six historical markers were placed around the grounds of the Prospect House telling the story of the early days of the Inn and showing pictures of the house in different eras. The markers were also a donation from Warren Colehour's memorials.

Yard Sign Photo

Yard Sign Photo

The Civil War 150 year celebration on July 28 & 29, 2012 proved to be an exciting weekend. There were Civil War reenactors, a teaching booth for making bullets, quilt and lace makers, Abraham Lincoln and two cannons. The large cannon was fired several times and if you were standing nearby you got a real feeling of what the original soldiers went through. There were many people walking the grounds of the Prospect House with the Museum and House tour being the epicenter of the weekend.

Cannon Photo

July 14 – 15 Garden Tour in Battle Lake, Underwood Published Thursday, July 6th, 2012. Fergus Falls Journal.

"Prospect House is a state and county gem" Published Thursday, May 17th, 2012. Fergus Falls Journal. By Mara Mackay

On March 1, 2012 Jay Johnson gave a fifteen minute interview about the Prospect House with KBRF radio station in Fergus Falls, MN. All reports were that it went very well and was very informative.

Great News! On February 13, 2012 we received confirmation of our 501(c)(3) IRS status, retroactive to the date of our founding in August 2011.

Cap Colehour's grandson, Warren Colehour, died on January 28, 2012 in Waconia, MN. This passing leaves James Colehour Wilkins of Fergus Falls, MN as the last surviving grandchild of Cap Colehour.

Warren Irving Colehour's Obituary

Colehour, Warren Irving 91, of Waconia, passed away on Jan. 28, 2012 at Ridgeview Medical Center. He was born at Deaconess Hospital in Minneapolis Jan. 21, 1921, the son of Robert Colehour and Alice Wardwell. He married Donna Sewell in 1942, they enjoyed almost 69 years of marriage before Donna's death in 2010. Preceded in death by his parents, two brothers: Robert and Richard Colehour; three sisters: Doris Plotnico, Bettie Crose and Barbara Pickering. He is survived by two sons: Corey Colehour (Joyce) of Littleton, CO and William Colehour (Jean) of Waconia; one daughter, Sally Myrom (Gary) of Redwood Falls; six grandchildren and nine great-grand- children. Warren graduated from Minneapolis West High School in 1939. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942 and served on the Destroyer USS Bailey, D.D. 492 during World War II. He was an Electrician Mate First Class during the war, serving in the North and South Pacific, taking part in nine campaigns. He was a 38 year employee at Northwestern Bell Telephone Company, retiring in 1978 as a PBX Installation Supervisor. He spent twelve years in Desert Hot Springs, CA moving to Eden Prairie in 1992 and Waconia in 2009. Warren was a member of the Richfield American Legion Post 435 and Lifetime VFW Post 5555. Memorials to the Prospect House and Civil War Museum (the ancestral home of Warren's grandfather), 403 Lake Ave N., Battle Lake, MN 56515. A memorial service will be held Feb. 2 at 1 PM at the Cremation Society of MN, Edina Chapel, 7110 France Ave. S. Private interment at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. Cremation Society of Minnesota Edina Chapel 952-924-4100.

  Jason Davis of KSTP Channel 5 On The Road series comments: "One of Minnesota's latest museums is an unusual collection in Battle Lake. It's really an opportunity to visit a house that built by a civil war veteran that has been lived in continuously since 1882. And everything the family owned or collected, including an amazing display of rare civil war souvenirs and mementos is still there!It's current owner Jay Johnson, the great grandson of the builder "Cap" Colehour, shows us around the home that became a hotel that is now the "Prospect House & Civil War Museum."

  Steve Henning of Lakes Country Living has filmed and edited a 14 minute documentary about the Prospect House and Civil War Museum that is available on YouTube. Click on the picture to view the film.

On October 26, 2011 Jason Davis of KSTP Channel 5 News (Twin Cities), host and executive producer of the famous "On The Road" series, visited the Prospect House and Civil War Museum. He filmed the house and museum and interviewed our founder, Jay Johnson. Look for this to air on TV in the near future!

"Actors commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War" Published July 23rd, 2011 WDAY News out of Fargo, ND.

"Civil War history on display at BL" Published Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011. Fergus Falls Journal. By Tom Hintgen

"Love At First (& Second) Sight!" In Good Company, Winter 2011 edition. By Reba Gilliand

Our Founders Wedding
Wedding Photo

On the evening of March 2, 2011, our founder, Jay Johnson was married to his fiance, Abby Bizzett. The wedding took place at the First Baptist Church of Battle Lake, MN. The date was specifically chosen as it was exactly 100 years to the day that Jay's grandparents, Ernest and Kathrina (Colehour) Wilkins, were married. Jay's great-grandfather, James Allison Colehour, was a Trustee for the First Baptist Church and helped to purchase the chapel on November 1, 1884. At the time it was the only church in town where English was spoken.

Petticoats & Pistols Civil War Museum - A Work in Progress August 19th, 2010.