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Learning center to hold book signing Sunday

PRESCOTT--Author and historian Ken Martens will present excerpts from his hot-off-the-press book “The Perilous St. Croix River Valley Frontier” this Sunday from 2-3 p.m. at the Great River Road Visitor and Learning Center at Freedom Park in Prescott.

Through his original research, Martens has collected and compiled incredible stories and compelling accounts of life during early territorial days in the St. Croix River Valley.  From torrential downpours, to horse-and-buggy road rage, to outbreaks of diseases like cholera and E. coli, there are over 50 stories in the book covering disputes, adventure and risky opportunity on the frontier.

Martens will read his favorite excerpts from this book as well as sign copies of the new book. These stories are certain to engage readers and program attendees immediately with the region’s fascinating history.

Martens is an avid historian and both a researcher and Civil War reenactor. He graduated from  Stillwater (Minn.) High School in 1973 and has spent most of his life living in the St. Croix Valley. 

His passion for history began at a young age when his family moved into a historic home in Lakeland, Minn.  He later found out this home was once owned by steamboat captain John Oliver and also by a member of Minnesota's First Regiment, which he found very fascinating. Further research revealed six of Oliver's sons had served in the Civil War, five of whom returned home.

Since those early years, Martens worked in a variety of fields in the construction industry, volunteered in the fire/rescue service and is now retired.  He served for a time as a board member and past president with the St. Croix Valley Civil War Round Table, and is currently serving as the Vice President of the Afton (Minn.) Historical Society.

The program is free, with donations gratefully accepted to support the high quality programs of the Great River Road Visitor and Learning Center at Freedom Park.  With questions, call 715-262-0104.