The Nicollet Conservation Club was founded in 1942 by a group of area sportsmen who got together for a meeting and a card game and traded hunting stories and shared a couple of beers.

The first met above the Opera House Bar. Some of the original founding members were Reinie Volk, C.B. Poncin, Hermin Roxin, Fritz Froehlich, Harold Voeltz, Herb Michels, Walter Krohn, Bill Wilking, Red Giefer, Frank Schuck, Carroll H. Thurston, Hub Zins, an Lawrence Zins.
From the Opera House, they migrated a block away, meeting for several years above the old fire hall until they received the following letter from the city clerk, dated November 26, 1962: “To The Officers of Nicollet Conservation Club: When the Village Council agreed to rent the upstairs of the village hall to the N.C.C. for meeting purposes, they did not grant, or intend to grant a license to sell or furnish setups…or give away any intoxicating liquors, SO CEASE AND DESIST….MEANING STOP!”

After they were evicted, by the city council, they got together and cut trees into lumber at Elmer “Butch” Pehling’s woods. The original 20 by 40 foot clubhouse was then built on the south shore of Swan Lake on a strip of land owned by Frank Enter in 1963. Later the club purchased the property.
The club grew steadily in membership as it became more actively involved in conservation issues. Several additions were put on the building.
First a 20-foot addition was added. A new 30 by 30 foot bar and lounge was dedicated with a steak fry Saturday, February 18, 1978.
The last main building project at the club was in 1994 when a two story addition increased the size of the building vertically. The upstairs portion was educational exhibits and a meeting/classroom. It’s used for firearms training, board meetings, adult hunter education training, and various groups rent the room for their meetings.

The Nicollet Conservation Club currently has 450 members, is a $100,000 Ducks Unlimited sponsor, and contributes to many other outdoor organizations. It is known statewide for its strong stance on conservation issues.

Past presidents have included Reinie Volk, DuWayne Giefer, Richard Wagner, Fred L. Froehlich, Craig Stevensen,  Jeff Holmin, Mike Wenner, and Mike Hulke. The current club president is Jason (Skip) Hoffman.

Today, the club grounds has a lighted boat landing, two lighted trap fields used by 50 trap teams competing regularly on Thursday nights, three retriever training ponds, and an interpretive center on the building’s upper level.

The modern, spacious building is used by wildlife groups, as well as other civic organizations. It’s also used for weddings, showers, anniversaries, and, occasionally, a funeral.

A pork chop fry is held at the club the third Saturday of the month, with the proceeds going to the Conservation Club and several other local organizations. The fries are great social events for the community.
“While everyone doesn’t always agree on outdoor issues, one thing is for certain—they don’t “duck” tough issues,” Fred Froehlich commented.