1954 - 1975
The Richters had been renting an apartment within the house since 1954 before considering purchasing it in 1958. In those early days the Dan Crowleys, Martha Craigmile, and maybe a teacher or two were also regular tenants.
In the mid-50's Nella Hoel Berg's husband, Andrew, drove from Minneapolis to Canby to talk to Mr & Mrs William Richter about purchasing the Hoel House. He had an idea about the Richters starting what he called "a board and care home" for Canby's growing population of elderly citizens. This appealed to Bill and Minnie. Berg, always a good businessman, figured out a by-the-month purchase plan (actually a Contract For Deed dated 1 April 1958) that worked out well for the Richters. The house was theirs "free and clear" in less than 20 years.
Richter's Board and Care Home usually housed three women residents on the main floor and seven men upstairs. The work was hard for Bill and Minnie, but they enjoyed the people. When the Richter's daughter, Dorothy Pederson, was widowed in 1960, Dorothy moved to an apartment across the street from the house (and later into the house). She became her parents major source of help. Clara Tesch also worked there for a time, but Dorothy daily cooked, cleaned, and did laundry for a very big "family". Granddaughter, Denise, was born in 1971 and came right from the hospital to Bill & Minnie's house. Thus Denise is one of the few babies that historians know for certain lived at the house. The elderly residents, especially the men, were very fond of Denise and sorry to see the baby and the Hansons move out of their lives when Denise was about 3 years old.
The license under which the Richters operated allowed for a maximum of ten residents (other than the Richters), and as Minnesota state laws grew stiffer, Dorothy found herself up against new fangled kitchen rules and nutritional regulations every few months. She and her now widowed mother finally "called it quits" and the Richter Board and Care Home closed.
The American flag always flew at the Richter Home on the second Tuesday of each month when the Women's Relief corps met at the house. This group functioned in Canby for over 50 years. It was formed to send aid to the soldiers who were serving during WWII. When the average age of the members was over 80 years old, the group was disbanded at a special meeting held at the house in 1974.
The house was sold to MECCA, Inc. (Museum Encompassing Canby Community Area) in 1975.