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More than $600,000 in preservation grants awarded

Posted July 24, 2014 in Web Exclusives

DES MOINES – The State Historical Society of Iowa (SHSI) has awarded 36 Historical Resource Development Program (HRDP) grants totaling $616,852 to organizations and individuals across the state for historic preservation, museum and documentary collections projects.

SHSI is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and administers the HRDP, which is funded by the Resource Enhancement and Protection Act (REAP) passed by the Iowa General Assembly in 1989.

Through REAP, local government units, various organizations and private individuals can receive funding for eligible projects. REAP/HRDP provides grants to preserve, conserve, interpret and educate the public about historical resources.

The list of 2015 REAP/HRDP grant awards by category follows:

(Organization or Individual)
(Project Description)
(Grant Amount)

Category: Documentary Collections

Cerro Gordo County
City of Mason City – Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery
Mason City
Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery Historical Records Preservation and Accessibility
This project will preserve approximately 14,000 pages of original Cemetery records by removing them from daily use while ensuring the data is accessible for research purposes. Historic burial books, interment orders, deeds and land abstracts will be microfilmed and digitized for use by Cemetery staff on a daily basis and also made available as research material at the Lee P. Loomis Archive of Mason City. The original documents will be properly preserved and stored at the archive.

Clinton County
Clinton Public Library
Historic Clinton Newspaper Digitization Project
Clinton Public Library requested funds to digitize its microfilm holdings of a select group of historic newspapers from the Clinton area between 1856-1927. The funds will be used for the following: conversion of film images to a text-searchable digital format; aggregation of preservation-quality digital copies into a database; and the creation of a vendor-hosted website with organized derivative files of the newspapers. The primary goal of the project is to add a layer of preservation to these holdings while enhancing their utility and increasing their accessibility. The desired impact is to expand the audience of a unique historical resource that documents one of the most important communities in Iowa’s early statehood.

Dallas County
Perry Public Library
The Digitization of Perry’s Newspaper Publishing History
The project will digitize Perry’s newspaper publishing history, 1874-2013. The primary use of the funds will be to pay to microfilm current newspapers (2004-2013) and convert all available microfilm into a keyword-searchable digital database. The database will be distributed to project partners making it accessible across Dallas County. The project’s primary goal is to increase the ease of searching and accessibility to historical articles about the Perry community and the surrounding area’s history. The project’s desired impact is the digital database is used because of its accessibility and user-friendly searching capability.

Dubuque County
Loras College, Center for Dubuque History
Loemker Lantern Slide Show
The collection consists of a set of 225 glass lantern slides (3.25 x 4 inches) picturing Dubuque taken by Rev. Herman J. Loemker between 1915 and 1917. The photographs show unique views including parades, churches, schools, bridges, steamboats, railroads, street scenes, mills and even road construction. Grant funds will permit these original lantern slides to be cleaned, scanned, high-quality prints produced, cataloged (including metadata), made available on the CDH website and properly stored in archival containers. This is a unique visual resource for Dubuque and others interested in life in the state of Iowa during the pre-World War I era.

Fremont and Mills Counties
Tabor Historical Society
Tabor Historical Society Documents Preservation Program
The THS preservation program aims to improve, review, catalog and store historical material in a manner consistent with established archival standards, allowing efficient retrieval and review of select documents. The THS preservation program aims to purchase suitable filing systems and document protectors for long-term storage and maintenance of its holdings. Once completed, properly cataloged documents will be accessible for research and study.

Hamilton County
Ellsworth Historical Museum
Ellsworth Digital Preservation
The use of requested funds will be to improve accessibility of past local newspapers – microfilming of the back eight years, Jan. 5, 2005, to June 30, 2013, plus digitization of all reels is the main goal. The desired impact will be information made searchable worldwide 24/7 using the internet.

Pocahontas County
Fonda Public Library
Fonda Public Library Newspaper Archives
As it nears its 75th anniversary, the Fonda Public Library acknowledges the importance of its past history and making it available to the public through the technology of the future. To do this, it plans to digitize its local newspaper microfilms and add a new, unarchived roll of microfilm to its collection. The historic newspaper records of its area will then be available online to everyone, anywhere, and at any time, preserving history for future generations.

Polk County
Children & Families of Iowa
Des Moines
The First 125 years of Children & Families of Iowa
Children & Families of Iowa (CFI) has maintained agency documents dating back to its earliest years in the late 1880s. CFI has collaborated with the State Historical Society of Iowa (SHSI) to digitize these documents through a professional archivist and house the material at SHSI to be available for the general public for research and information.

Scott County
Putnam Museum and Science Center
Expansion of Putnam Museum’s Archives
This project helps preserve documents and images in the Putnam Museum’s archive by enlarging the secured area enclosing the collection and allowing the Museum to continue adding to its valuable holding for many years. It also provides for an archives technician to arrange the enlarged archive enclosure, create and update finding aids to allow better access, and process the backlog of significant collections waiting to be added to the archive.

Shelby County
Shelby County Historical Society and Museum
Shelby County Historical Museum Archival Preservation Project
The Shelby County Historical Museum is requesting funds to help complete the second phase of its climate-controlled library. In 2012, the Museum built a room where its documentary collection of over 7,500 books, photographs, and archival items can rest in a controlled environment. The second phase of this project will address the needs of specific items and streamline the research process for guests. The Museum will organize, catalog, and arrange and create finding aids for the archival materials in its library for easy access. Additionally, the Museum needs to purchase storage boxes, acid-free folders, and sleeves for many items that have specific preservation requirements.

Sioux County
Dordt College Archives, John and Louise Hulst Library, Dordt College
Sioux Center
The Dordt College Archives: Improving Organization and Access
The Dordt College Archives seeks assistance and advice regarding appraisal, arrangement and maintenance of current collections as well as guidance in digital project management.

Van Buren County
Van Buren County Historical Society
Microfilm issues of the Keosauqua Republican and other area newspapers
The first part of this project will fund the microfilming of newspapers prepared many years ago for the Iowa Newspaper Project. Three bundles of the Keosauqua Republican from 1929 to 1936 were not filmed before they were returned. Since that time, the Society has received other papers into the collection of earlier dates and from a number of publishers. This second part of the project would include the inventory, preparation and microfilming of these new additions so they are preserved and made available to the public.

Winnebago County
Luise V. Hanson Library, Waldorf College
Forest City
Organization and Preservation of Waldorf College Archive
The Luise V. Hanson Library will undertake a project to preserve, organize and arrange the Waldorf College Archives, with the goal of producing indexes and finding aids to make this historical collection accessible to the public.

Category: Historic Preservation

Benton County
Vinton Industries LTD d/b/a Vinton Unlimited
Benton County Courthouse Tower Clock Project
This project will help Benton County restore and preserve its historic Courthouse Tower Clock and Bell. It will result in a museum-quality restoration the E. Howard #1 striker tower clock and return its bell to working order. It will upgrade electrical, fix broken glass and make the clock weatherproof to prevent damage.

Carroll County
Manning Community Foundation
Leet/Hassler Farmstead Scale House Restoration
The Scale House on the Leet/Hassler Farmstead is representative of a high-quality level of living in the 1917 era. The HRDP funds will be used to stabilize the outside of the building as well as put in a new floor and restore the interior walls. The foundation has acquired a donation of a McDonald’s scale that is exactly what would have been in the original building. Volunteers are working to restore the scale outside the building.

Cedar County
Hardacre Theater Preservation Association, Inc.
Hardacre Theater National Register of Historic Places Nomination Project
The Hardacre Theater has been a local icon since 1916. In order to save and preserve this historical treasure, registration on the National Register of Historical Places is essential. Not only will this designation provide opportunities for much-needed funding, it will help preserve the building for generations to come. Grant money is being sought to hire a historic preservation consultant to prepare a National Register nomination of the Hardacre Theater in Tipton.

Cerro Gordo County
City of Mason City – Historic Preservation Commission
Mason City
Rock Crest-Rock Glen Historic District Re-Nomination and Expansion
Mason City’s Rock Crest-Rock Glen Historic District is recognized as the largest group of Prairie School homes unified by a shared natural setting and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. The neighborhood features the works of internationally prominent architects Walter Burley Griffin, Marion Mahoney Griffin, William Drummond, Barry Byrne and Einar Broaten. The original nomination was limited in scope and did not incorporate detailed research and analysis to support a National Landmark District designation. The re-evaluation and re-nomination of this Historic District will focus on its uniqueness and national significance.

Dubuque County
Dubuque County Historical Society
Restoration and Preservation of Perimeter Walkway of 2nd Deck of Steamboat William M. Black
This project will restore and protect the wooden walkway that encircles the entire second deck of the National Historic Landmark steamboat William M. Black. This is a painted canvas covering a wooden walkway that measures 500 feet long and 6-to-10 feet wide. This project will remove the canvas covering, repair deteriorated wood and then cover it with a synthetic canvas or a walking surface resembling canvas. Both of these methods are being used on the National Park Service vessels in San Francisco, and the Society will work with the Park Service and the State Historic Preservation Office of Iowa to select the appropriate covering to seal the surface.

Dubuque County
Four Mounds Foundation
Restoration of the Barn at the Four Mounds Estate Historic District and Historic Site.
This project restores and replaces missing features of the historic barn, the keystone of the Four Mounds’ farm campus and the first structure built on Iowa’s only remaining, intact gentleman’s farm. Restoration is part of a phased plan to operate this structure under the new interpretation plan for the farm campus. Project components include: professional assistance with plans and guidance; masons to rebuild the large; historic Dubuque limestone cattle ramps; and carpenters to rebuild the cream room door, the large loading dock door, restore the hayloft beam, track and pulley system. The barn is the heart of operations and maintenance of the site and this project helps protect and ready it for historic interpretation.

Henry County
Henry County Historic Preservation Commission
Nomination of Four Properties in Rural Henry County to the National Register of Historic Places
This project will research and nominate four properties in rural Henry County that have been evaluated as eligible by SHPO for listing on the National Register of Historic Places: Benjamin Chapel (Richwoods Methodist Church), Owen A. and Emma J. Garretson House, Joseph and Lydia Edwards House, and Hugh and Matilda Boyle House and Cemetery. A professional consultant will be hired to research the properties and develop the NRHP nominations with the local assistance of Henry County Historic Preservation Commission members. The goal will be to list these properties on the NRHP, recognizing their significant history in Henry County and qualifying them for financial assistance programs for potential rehabilitation projects.

Henry County
Main Street Mount Pleasant
Mount Pleasant
Union Block Preservation
The Union Block building in downtown Mount Pleasant is a geographic and metaphorical hub, having dominated the community’s historic narrative since the mid-19th century. Its revitalization will preserve Mount Pleasant’s historic fabric and promote arts, culture and business development. Following a 2011 fire, Main Street Mount Pleasant purchased the Union Block and began a $3.4 million restoration. The finished building will provide retail space, offices, a banquet hall and museum space. The Union Block Preservation Committee seeks assistance from the Historical Resource Development Program for the final phase of this initiative to include Museum and Gallery Space, first floor interior finishes and minimal exterior components.

Iowa County
Amana Colonies Historical Sites Foundation
Amana Millrace Restoration
The Millrace Restoration Project will continue the restoration of the 150-year-old Amana Millrace, the only working canal ever built in Iowa. The project will repair damage from spring flooding in 2013, stabilize existing structures, put a management plan in place and allow for the continued operation of the Amana Hydro Plant, which has provided green renewable energy for the Amana Colonies for the last century and a half.

Linn County
City of Cedar Rapids, IA
Cedar Rapids
New Deal Mural Preservation – Mays Island Historic District, Cedar Rapids, IA
The Cedar Rapids City Hall Council Chambers contain a New Deal mural cycle of four large wall paintings. It spans all four walls of the room and is more than 200-feet long and five-feet, six-inches tall. Funding is requested to reclaim the East Wall of the cycle, which was painted over in 1964. Restoration will return to the state and nation an informative cultural document and a distinctive example of the art of the period. It will also enhance the community’s unique artistic identity and sense of place. The goal of the mural restoration is to reclaim Iowa’s history and recover the important artwork while fostering community engagement and education about Iowa’s rich artistic history and the progression of law and culture. It will serve as a model for other communities as to how rediscovering local artwork can foster community livability and engagement.

Linn County
Lisbon United Methodist Church
Lisbon Methodist Church National Register of Historic Places Nomination Project
The project will allow the Lisbon United Methodist Church to hire a historic preservation professional to research and prepare a National Register nomination of the Lisbon Methodist Church. Built in 1898-1899, the church is significant for its distinctive Late Victorian architecture designed by the Cedar Rapids architectural firm of Josselyn & Taylor. The church also has historical significance, having been funded and dedicated by members of the church as well as the wider Lisbon and Mount Vernon communities. The nomination will help ensure the church’s long-term preservation as a Lisbon historic site and community asset.

Madison County
Madison County Historic Preservation Commission
Nomination of Proposed Historic Courthouse Square Commercial District in Winterset to the NRHP
This project will nominate the proposed Historic Courthouse Square Commercial District in Winterset to the National Register of Historic Places. The funds will pay for the services of a professional consultant to write the nomination and for the products that will be generated, including the final NRHP nomination for the historic district and all supporting material as required by the National Park Service and State Historic Preservation Office. Completion of the nomination of the Winterset Courthouse Square Commercial District to the NRHP will act as a catalyst to preserve local traditions and culture; build partnerships; increase awareness of the site’s significance; attract more visitors with an interest in history; build community pride; and generate local investment in history and preservation.

Montgomery County
Grant Community Preservationists
Masonic Lodge Restoration Phase III
The goal of Phase III is to complete exterior work to replace the front staircase so visitors can access the building through its historic front entrance and complete final restorations to the storefront. Additionally, insulation will make the building energy-efficient for the installation of an HVAC system and upgraded electrical. These renovations will further preserve the structure until a final phase can make it completely usable on the main floor. Our ultimate goals are to provide a handicap accessible space for residents to use for meetings; celebrations; events; public services such as senior meals, health clinics and voting; a small library; classes; performances; and more that would enrich and benefit this small rural community.

Muscatine County
Muscatine County Historic Preservation Commission
West Liberty
Nomination of West Liberty Fairgrounds to the NRHP
This project will research and nominate the West Liberty Fairgrounds to the National Register of Historic Places. The project will include the research and survey of approximately 35 individual resources on the fairgrounds property, completion of Iowa Site Inventory forms and development of an NRHP nomination for a historic district for the West Liberty Fairgrounds.

Scott County
Davenport Historic Preservation Commission
Hamburg Historic District National Register Nomination Update
The project proposes that the Hamburg Historic District in Davenport will be surveyed to update the National Register of Historic Places nomination. A professional architectural historian will be hired to field-check each resource within the district, evaluate if the status (contributing or noncontributing) remains appropriate, classify any resource not previously classified, confirm or adjust boundaries, and assist with updates to the local database and GIS system to clarify and include information on each resource within the district. The City will create an online database resource to utilize the electronic information created through the project to communicate information on historic resources in the Hamburg Historic District.

Scott County
Forest Grove School Preservation
Phase 2 Rehabilitation Work for Forest Grove School No. 5
Phase 2 rehabilitation work on Forest Grove School No. 5 includes the reconstruction and installation of the bell tower, repair and painting of the wood siding, installation of windows/door, purchase and installation of gutters/downspouts, and purchase and installation of a new HVAC system. The goal of this work is to complete the exterior rehabilitation of the school, positioning Forest Grove School Preservation to continue with interior rehabilitation and development of interpretative programming related to the history of the school and rural education in Iowa.

Sioux County
Big Sioux River Valley Historical Society
Preservation of 1918 City Hall, Fire Station and Auditorium
The BSRVHS has undertaken the major task of renovating and preserving the 1918 City Hall, Fire Station and Auditorium designed by William Steele. This million-dollar project will take several years and many fundraisers and grants to complete. The money will be used to complete the following: tuck pointing, remove and replace shutters, replace and modify the sidewalk for rain drainage, repair the main entrance steps, repair windows that are broken or leaking, refurbish fire escape doors, and replace the east entry doors. Interior repairs include updating antiquated panel boards and wiring. When the renovation of the building is completed, it will be another building the town of Hawarden has renovated and will be utilized by the community. Not only is it a piece of local history, but preserving a building designed by the well-known architect, William Steele, is also a part of the history for the state of Iowa.

Washington County
City of Washington Historic Preservation Commission
Intensive Level Historical and Architectural Survey of the West Side Residential Neighborhood
The proposed project will survey a residential neighborhood which abuts the west edge of the downtown commercial district and flows west along W. Main Street, W. Washington Boulevard, and W. Jefferson Street up to and including Sunset Park, producing Iowa Site Inventory forms for each property.

Category – Museums

Boone County
Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Preservation of Original Maynard Reece Fish Paintings
The project goal is to preserve the original paintings of Iowa fish created by Maynard Reece. These paintings were commissioned by the Iowa Conservation Commission as illustrations for the book Iowa Fish and Fishing. Funds will be used to enlist an art conservator to treat the paintings, create digital images, archive the originals at the State Historical Museum of Iowa, and produce prints for continued display. The DNR will use its student art contest in 2014-2015 to highlight Maynard Reece’s contributions to conservation, with the winning artwork on display at the Iowa State Fair in 2015. This work will result in these irreplaceable pieces of Iowa history being preserved for the appreciation and enjoyment of future generations of Iowans.

Johnson County
The University of Iowa – Museum of Natural History
Iowa City
Upgrading and Integrating a Historic Insect Collection
This project will reunite and integrate historic insect specimens previously held in another department with the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History collections and upgrade cabinets, drawers and specimen boxes to stabilize and preserve them for ongoing research, education and outreach.

Madison County
John Wayne Birthplace Society, Ltd.
John Wayne Birthplace Museum Exhibit Development
The 5,000-plus square-foot John Wayne Birthplace Museum will be built in 2014-15. This project will include a $400,000 budget for museum-grade exhibits. The requested funds will be used to design, fabricate and build permanent and interactive exhibits to house over $2 million of John Wayne memorabilia and various other artifacts that demonstrate the impact of John Wayne on our culture. Primary goals are: 1) build the world’s only John Wayne museum, 2) improve the cultural life of Madison County, and 3) preserve John Wayne’s legacy. Once complete, more than 50,000 people will visit the birthplace compared to 35,000 currently; more youths will learn from the life and example of John Wayne; and people will gain more appreciation of Iowa’s film heritage.

Polk County
Fort Des Moines Museum and Education Center
Des Moines
Fort Des Moines Conservation
The National Historic Landmark Fort Des Moines Museum and Education Center, currently housed in Clayton Hall, requested matching funds to make basic conservator-identified steps to safeguard artifacts on display and those stored in the collection. The funds will be used to purchase and install light-blocking hanging shades in the galleries and purchase conservator-approved wardrobes for preserving its collection of military uniforms.

Woodbury County
Siouxland Historical Railroad Association
Sioux City
Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District: Repurposing Roundhouse for Exhibits
The Roundhouse, built in 1917, is a rare surviving example of a steam locomotive repair shop in the nation. This project will address the significant deterioration of the identity-defining building in the Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District. Grant funds will ensure the building’s structural integrity by (1) reconstructing the northwest wood wall, (2) replacing the wood locomotive doors, (3) repairing flaking and lifting paint on the wood windows, and (4) installing new lighting and electrical systems. When complete, this project will provide renovated space dedicated to the interpretation activities and display rotations of historic locomotives and rolling stock from the museum’s collection or on loan from railroad or other museums.

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is responsible for developing the state’s interest in the areas of the arts, history and other cultural matters with the advice and assistance from its three divisions: the State Historical Society of Iowa; the Iowa Arts Council; and Produce Iowa, the film, television and digital media office that supports media production in Iowa. DCA preserves, researches, interprets and promotes an awareness and understanding of local, state and regional history and stimulates and encourages the study and presentation of the performing and fine arts and public interest and participation in them. It implements tourism-related art and history projects as directed by the General Assembly and designs a comprehensive, statewide, long-range plan with the assistance of the Iowa Arts Council to develop the arts in Iowa. More information about DCA is available at

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