NISSWA -- Dick Carlson of Nisswa considers the Nisswa Pioneer Village to be his second home.
Come dusk during the summer months, Carlson can be found going door to door in the nine-building pioneer village, checking each lock with his son Greg Carlson's dog, Patty, a permanent fixture at Greg's nearby business, Carlson Hardware.
Because of Carlson's dedication to preserving Nisswa's rich history, he was chosen last week as Nisswa Citizen of the Year by the Nisswa Chamber of Commerce.
Carlson, 69, serves as president of the Nisswa Area Historical Society, which operates the pioneer village.
"I was humbled and grateful for having it presented to me," said Carlson. "But it's really a result of the hard work of our members. They're the ones who earned this for me."
Carlson and his wife, Leanne, have had a summer home on Clark Lake in Nisswa since the early 1960s, and moved here permanently more than two years ago from Golden Valley. He spent more than 25 years at Dayton's Corp., first as co-founder Kenneth Dayton's assistant for many years, then as the head of the home furnishings division. A licensed pharmacist, Carlson helped plan the pharmacy divisions in Target stores as a consultant. He does the bookkeeping for his son, Greg Carlson, at Carlson Hardware.
The Carlsons live at the former Osborne property on Clark Lake, founded by one of Nisswa's first settlers who was a Civil War nurse. Carlson said this is what spurred his interest in local history. He has served as president of the Clark Lake Association and is actively involved in the Nisswa Pioneer Village, which grew by three new buildings this summer. The village now has German, Swedish and Norwegian immigrant houses from about the 1850s.
"I love history, particularly American history," said Carlson. "I'm also a workaholic and you have to have something to do."
Last year's recipient of Nisswa Citizen of the Year was Ingrid Anderson.
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