Those of us who live and work in the Rochester area have likely picked up details about the city’s medical center, but local author Amy Jo Hahn released a nonfiction book exploring lost and forgotten figures who helped grow the community from a frontier town to Minnesota’s third largest city.
Amy explains, “While my first book, ‘Lost Rochester, Minnesota,’ focused on historic buildings, businesses and sites that are no longer here, my new book’s main focus is on the fascinating historic characters who built and shaped Rochester. I was excited about the idea of highlighting individuals who’ve not had the spotlight or bring to the forefront new tales about already known historic Rochester residents.” Due to Hahn’s experience volunteering in the archives and research library at the History Center of Olmsted County, she was aware of many stories that had not been shared or had minimal exposure.
“Hidden History of Rochester, Minnesota” explores fascinating characters who made their mark. Included are accounts of teenager Lottie Schermerhorn who awed crowds in the Roaring Twenties with daredevil aerial stunts; Minnie Brown, our city’s first policewoman hired in 1917; and William Costley, son of the first slave freed by Abraham Lincoln, who lived the end of his life at Rochester State Hospital.
Through an engaging narrative journey, Hahn reveals a side to Rochester even the locals may not know. Hahn explains, “I think this book appeals to a wide range of people. Most of the narratives are focused on a specific historic individual who has an amazing story—and a great story always entertains. Coming to life on the pages are charismatic, ambitious, talented, fearless, unique people, most a true definition of a trailblazer.”
Amy Jo Hahn is the author of nine books, several in the genre of romance. “Hidden History of Rochester, Minnesota” is her second historical nonfiction title. Hahn’s books are available wherever books are sold, including locally through Peacock Books & Wildlife Art and the History Center of Olmsted County. Hahn’s work has been featured in the “Post Bulletin,” “Rochester Women Magazine,” “Rochester Magazine,” “Minnesota History” and “MNopedia” and on KSMQ R-Town.