Saturday, June 12, 2010

Mid-June Update: Arts, crafts, music and free food!

Contemporary and traditional crafts, live entertainment, free food and tours of museum buildings will be featured during the Lucas County Historical Society’s early-summer Arts and Crafts Fair from 6 until 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 18, on the museum campus at 123 N. 17th Street in Chariton. Admission will be free.

Crafts will range from contemporary fabric art to traditional quilting, watercolor to digital photography, stained glass to rope-making and much more.

The barbershop quartet Boys Night Out as well as Adam Barr on trumpet accompanied by Nancy Courter on keyboard will perform during the fair on the patio between the lower level of the Lewis Building and the barn. (Seating will be provided).

Inside the Lewis Building’s Mine Gallery, the vintage peanut roaster will be in operation and free samples offered.

In addition, free hot dogs, chips and lemonade will be served. Museum buildings and galleries will be open during the fair for those who wish to tour.

The exhibitors will be located on the lawn, inside the Stephens House or on its porch, in the Lewis Building and elsewhere. In case of rain, all events will be moved inside but the fair will continue.




THE BINGHAMS, Wood Carving


NORMA LARUE, Stained Glass

MEG PRANGE, Fabric Art

STEVE SCOTT, Watercolor




In addition, Connor Altenhofen (log cabin model) and Phillip Masters (gleaner model) will display their Iowa History projects inside the log cabin.



We gratefully acknowledge two grants from the South Central Iowa Community Foundation announced in late May and awarded earlier this month that will allow your historical society to continue an ongoing project and launch a new one.

A $1,276 grant will fund finishing work on the interior of the new blacksmith shop, scheduled for completion during late summer.

That grant will fund materials to build a 12-foot sheet-rocked stud wall with walk-through door separating the blacksmith shop from the workshop planned in the north end of the building; native lumber to wainscot the inside of the remaining three walls of the blacksmith shop; crushed rock to level the portion of the blacksmith shop that will be authentically dirt; and treated 2x4’s for joists and native lumber to floor the remainder of the shop.

The second and larger grant, for $2,625, will will allow the historical society to purchase equipment needed to launch a new “Living History” project based upon the conviction that Lucas County history is happening right now and is not confined to the distant past.

We plan to use a new camcorder, laptop computer, scanner/printer and projector to collect history as it happens, record the stories of living Lucas Countyans and make both our living history and the history represented by our artifacts more accessible to the public.

The Historical Society was extremely fortunate to receive these grants. The foundation this cycle received grant requests in excess of $300,000, but had only $98,000 to distribute in Lucas County. Again, we are very grateful!



Although classes have been dismissed for the summer, ending Chariton High School Building Trades Class participation in construction of the new blacksmith shop, work continues. Building Trades instructor Jeff Tordoff and some of his students now are working on a contract (paid) basis to finish the exterior, including the front porch, balance of the wood siding on the facade and construction and installation of the front door.

Although this will increase the cost of the project somewhat, uncooperative weather conditions that began last fall and continued through the winter until now, when persistent rain continues to dog the project, made the move unavoidable if we hope to open the shop to the public late this summer. The photo above, taken at mid-week, shows progress on the porch.

Once the exterior is finished, board members and friends will begin the job of finishing the interior, using funds provided by a recent South Centeral Iowa Community Foundation grant to purchase materials. That phase of the project includes installation of a wood and packed earth floor, wainscotting and construction of a wall between the shop and the storage/workshop area behind it.

We're still anticipating a grand opening combined with a corn-husking demonstration during late September.


LCHS Board members Warren Wallace, Ron Christensen, Rod Peterson and Bill Marner gather around the base of the museum windmill, now securely hinged to its mounting platform.

In addition, it won't be long now until the museum's windmill, damaged some time ago in a storm, rises again in a new location on the downslope west of the barn. Originally installed in an area south of the barn that became increasingly isolated as buildings were added to the museum campus, the windmill now will be located on approximately the same level as the blacksmith shop and will be clearly visibile and approachable from the patio.

LCHS board member Ron Christensen took the damaged windmill frame to his metalworking shop last fall where he repaired it and installed half of an innovative triangular mounting device that now securely connects its feet. Both the framework and the triangular base for the mill, also designed and built by Ron, returned to the museum campus a couple of weeks ago. The frame, although still flat on the ground, has been hinged to the base, now secure in concrete, and a new platform built atop. The windmill head is being reassembled in the barn and once it has been installed and the frame given a new coat of paint, head and frame will be raised to upright position and bolted to the new base. It should be quite a sight when the windmill rises.

This is another example of the amazing generosity shown by skilled LCHS board members and friends as they donate their time an talents to repair, maintain and expand the scope of your museum. The place simply could not operate without them!



At some point after June 18, repairs will begin on the southeast corner of Otterbein Church where dry rot has affected the stability of the floor immediately inside the south front door. A project directed by board member Cliff Brewer will involve removing the entrance ramp and some siding to expose and repair the sill under the facade of the building, then secure the floor. Although this will be a mild inconvenience to visitors, which we regret, it is necessary to ensure the integrity of the building and the safety of those who visit and use it.



The museum now is open from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. every Tuesday through Saturday and will remain so until the end of September. You're invited to visit at any time during those hours. Admission is free.

If you cannot visit during regular open hours, contact us by e-mail ( or telephone (641-774-4464) and we will do our best to accommodate you at other times.

If you are visiting, we invite you to park next to the John L. Lewis Building immediately behind the Stephens House rather than along North 17th Street, out front. Just drive into the north entrance of the circle drive and find a place. Handicap-accessible parking places are located at the base of the ramp into the Lewis Building.

If you would like to show support for your museum, remember that we accept membership dues through the year. Checks for $5 per membership should be made payable to Lucas County Historical Society and mailed to P.O. Box 807, Chariton, IA 50049.

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