Norman Hellmers, Biographical Information
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Hellmers began his career with the National Park Service as a Park Technician at Gettysburg National Military Park (Pennsylvania) in January 1972. After a year there, he was selected for the Ranger Intake Program and was a member of the 39th Introduction to Park Operations class at the Albright Training Center at Grand Canyon (Arizona). He was thereafter assigned as an Urban Intake Ranger at George Washington Memorial Parkway (Virginia).
Following Park Ranger training, Hellmers was assigned in May 1973 to the position of North District Naturalist at Shenandoah National Park (Virginia), where he also later served as South District Naturalist. In September 1976, he accepted the position of Chief of Interpretation at Grand Portage National Monument (Minnesota). While at Grand Portage, he completed the Mid‑Level Manager Development Program.
Hellmers was named Superintendent of Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial (Indiana) in October 1981, and served there for over eight years. Noteworthy accomplishments included managing the extensive rehabilitation of the park’s cultural landscape, initiating a program of reforestation, and playing a key role in the formation of Historic Southern Indiana, a multi‑county heritage preservation and tourism organization. He was also on the Board of the Lincoln Hills-Patoka Lake Tourism Association.
In April 1990, Hellmers was selected to be Superintendent of Lincoln Home National Historic Site (Illinois), from which position he retired in January 2003. During his thirteen years there, he managed a day-to-day operation that welcomed over 400,000 visitors annually, and was responsible for the on-going program to restore and preserve the four-block historic district surrounding the home of Abraham Lincoln. He also served as Illinois State Coordinator for the National Park Service.
During his assignment at Lincoln Home, Hellmers served on the Boards of a variety of organizations that promote history, historic preservation, and tourism, including the Abraham Lincoln Association, The Lincoln Forum, Advisory Committee of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, Sangamon County Historical Society, Visit Illinois [now Enjoy Illinois], Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Downtown Springfield, Inc. Hellmers received numerous awards from the National Park Service for his work. In 2000, he was presented an Honorary Doctor of History degree by Lincoln College in Lincoln, Illinois.
Prior to joining the National Park Service, Hellmers was an Information and Education Specialist with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in Lincoln, Nebraska, working primarily as a writer/photographer for the state's NEBRASKAland magazine. He is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. Following graduation from high school there, he attended Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois, from which he received a B.A. in education in 1966. From 1966 to 1969, he did post-graduate studies in communications at the University of Iowa and in natural resource management at Louisiana State University.
Hellmers now lives with his wife Pat in Valparaiso, Indiana.
Norman Hellmers at the Nyhavn Canal, Copenhagen