Local History Projects Earn Statewide Recognition

For immediate release March 10, 2004



Sarah Oltrogge, (515) 281-4011

Des Moines, Iowa—Five history projects from across Iowa have earned recognition from the State Historical Society of Iowa for increasing awareness of, and participation in, Iowa history at the local level.

A special awards ceremony at the State Historical Building was held today for the recipients of the State Historical Society’s 2004 Loren Horton Community History Awards. These awards, as well as many others, are presented annually in conjunction with National Historic Preservation Week. Groups were presented certificates of recogntion by Anita Walker, State Historical Society administrator, and Peggy Whitworth, State Historical Society Board chair.

Loren Horton Community History Award certificates of recognition are given in four categories: Outstanding Event, Outstanding Use of Volunteers, Outstanding Project for an Educational Activity, and Outstanding Research/Publication.

The award is named in honor of Loren Horton, who represented the State Historical Society of Iowa in many capacities from 1973 until his retirement in 1996. As the Society’s field services coordinator, and later, as senior historian, Horton’s work brought him in close contact with many local historical organizations. In keeping with that legacy, this award recognizes the best project that increases awareness and participation in Iowa history on a local level. The award recognizes an individual, group, or organization whose outstanding local history project was completed during the previous calendar year.

The recipients of the 2004 certificates of recognition and their projects are:

Outstanding Event
Arlene Davisson, “1903 Reunion of Union Veterans of the Civil War by Gov.
Larrabee of Clermont”

This project stemmed from an effort to reenact the 1903 reunion of Union veterans of the Civil War as sponsored by then Gov. William Larrabee of Clermont. The event included a rededication of the Lincoln and Henderson statues in Clermont, along with a parade. That evening there was a Grand Ball at the local high school. The following day, a Civil War battle was re-created that drew about 1,000 spectators to Montauk. Contact: Arlene Davisson, 563-423-5958.

Outstanding Use of Volunteers (tie)
Bear Creek Church Rehabilitation, Vinton

This project consisted of salvaging and restoring a rural country church and an adjoining cemetery. The church was no longer being used except to store flag poles used in the
cemetery on Memorial Day weekend. Prior to that, the church was used as a voting site and years before that it was a viable chapel. The governing body of the church considered burning it as a means of disposal. When people became aware of this, a committee was formed to save the building. This committee painted the exterior, put on a new roof, painted and papered the interior and made the entrance handicap accessible. The original pews and wooden floor have been left in their original state and the Oak Round stove was given a new coat of blackening. Contact: Zelda Bower, 319-472-3706.

Dover Historical Society Museum Accessibility, New London
A stairway was added to make the second floor of this Dover Historical Society Museum available for more exhibits. Many donated items that are presently in storage will be displayed with the additional space available. A chairlift was also included in order to make the expanded display easily accessible to disabled citizens. The area under the stairs has been utilized as a storage area with the addition of shelves on one side that have acid free boxes for clothing, and on the other, storage for folding chairs. Contact: Carolyn Lehman, 319-367-5403.

Outstanding Project for an Educational Activity
“Sesquicentennial Tours During Cornell College Homecoming, 2003”, Cornell College and Professor Charles Milhauser

Charles Milhauser is a classics professor and registrar emeritus, as well as Cornell College’s unofficial college historian. Over his 30 years at Cornell, Charles created a personal archives of Cornell history on thousands of notecards. In 1980, he began offering historical tours of the campus. At last count, he had conducted 365 such tours. For the sesquicentennial in 2003, he and the college offered enhanced historical tours during Homecoming in October that incorporated eight actors reenacting legendary characters from Cornell’s past. Charles wrote the original script as well as the reenactment scripts. Several hundred alumni attended each of the four tours. Response was so positive that the college will continue to offer the reenactments annually at Homecoming, and possibly other times during the year. Contact: Dee Ann Rexroat, 319-895-4241.

Outstanding Research/Publication
“Addendum to the Bedford Centennial History Book, 1953,” Bedford Sesquicentennial Committee

This projects including the researching, writing and publishing of a business history book, a continuance of the Centennial History Book published in 1953. The project was a collaboration between the Sesquicentennial Committee, Chamber/Main Street Organization, Bedford Historical Preservation Committee and the All School Reunion Committee. Individuals from these committee and community historians researched, wrote articles and provided photographs for the publication. Local businesses are now selling the publication as a service to the project. Contact: Jill Poppa, 712-523-3117.


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