Welcome and Introductions:
The meeting was called to order at 9:30 by Mary Helen Preston, President. Those in attendance: President – Mary Helen Preston
Vice President – Dale Higgins
Secretary – Jan Gammon
Treasurer – Joyce Ausberger
State Director – Dean Parr
Linn County – Rex Martin
Benton County Consul – Mike Kelly
Greene County Consul – Joyce Ausberger, Dale Higgins
Carroll County Consul – Barbara Hackfort
Harrison County Consul – Kathy Dirks
Others Present: Bob Ausberger, Garry Hevalow, Shellie Orngard, Wendi Winkie, John Jackson, and Gene Rabel.
Mary Helen Preston welcomed the group, and each introduced his/herself.
Secretary’s Report: The minutes were sent out after the last meeting and are included in today’s packet. Joyce Ausberger motioned to approve the October 9, 2021, minutes and Dean Parr seconded. Motion carried.
Treasurer’s Report: Joyce Ausberger reported there is $1,916.58 in checking and $5,758.00 in savings. In 2021 ILHA had $4,355.10 in income and $4,344.92 in expenses. She received 4 memberships before Dean sent out reminders! Joyce would like Prairie Rivers of Iowa to file the 990 EZ. Shellie should have instructions in Jan Gammon’s old files to do this. Only takes a few minutes.
Membership Report: Dean Parr reconciled his list with Bob Beaudoin’s (National Membership Chairman). We are up 1 Iowa member, 1 Life member, down 2 National and down 1 Comp member. Our current total is 206, the same as last quarter. Some members have not paid for the new year. Dean will send reminders then drop those not paid by June/July. National membership numbers are trending downward.
Director’s Report: Dean Parr reported a national call was held November 18 and focus was the conference schedules: 2022, June 20-22 in Joliet, Illinois; 2023 in Sacramento, CA, and 2024 in Elkhart, Indiana. Russell Rein, LHA Field Secretary, has been talking to the Library in Ann Arbor about the LHA archives. Since Katherine Dow retired, no one has had a deep commitment to the files and most have been put away in the archives.
John Jackson- National Treasurer: In this 30th year of the re-formed LHA, John wanted to go back to where it began in 1992- Iowa. He is pleased with our membership numbers and our newsletter- and we have the Ausbergers! The 2022 Annual Conference will include an auto tour that will begin June 12 in New York and end at the conference in Joliet. An application for the auto tour will be in the next Forum. As with everything these days, circumstances due to pandemic may alter these plans.
He encourages chapters to apply for the LHA Grant. There is money available and there are few requests for the funds. It does need to be a chapter project and is not open to outsiders.
A good amount of funds has been used to update the LHA website. There have been more hits since the Amor Towles book came out and gained popularity. National has experienced 100 new members. This might also be due to adding PayPal to the website and which make membership payments available on-line. They have seen some membership leaking out the other side and LHA created a new rack card for chapters and others to use to promote the LHA. If you need some to distribute, contact Jim Cassler at the LHA Trading Post.
Another new feature is the blog Trey Pitsenberger is doing from California. Trey has also agreed to serve as the new VP of the LHA. The Forum is now accessible on-line, and this change is a way to attract new members.
A new marketing committee has been formed. Mary Helen Preston is 1 of 6 on that committee. They are considering creating placemats to be used at restaurants across the nation and/or making a jigsaw puzzled for sale.
Old Business: Clinton County Consul position is still open.
Clinton: Mary Preston said a phone call will be held 2:00 Thursday of this next week about the Wapsie Bridge. She, Bob and Joyce Ausberger, and Shellie Orngard will be on that call and will use this opportunity to request the name of someone who will take the open ILHA Consul position in Clinton County. Bob Ausberger feels this 3- bridge area in western Clinton County is a unique story for the Lincoln Highway and Dean Parr likes the pavement still intact from a previous alignment, but accessible out in the woods. Getting there is a challenge and could use steps or a bridge to get to it. The ILHA hopes the bridge can be restored using the original railings and be open at least to foot traffic.
Joe Goodlove sent in a report and said the old hardware store that sat on the corner where LH travelers first came into Clinton/Lyons has been closed and is now boarded up with a big fence around it. Kathy Dirks researched while we were on this call and it has been condemned by the city as has most of that block.
Cedar: Joe Goodlove emailed in his report. Cedar County Board of Supervisors is voicing concerns about the Super 2 highway, although that is what IDOT has said is their selection. Clarence continues with community functions this fall and holiday season and promotes is Main Street Clarence and its role on the Lincoln Highway. Stanwood’s historic motel lost part of its roof in the derecho and the eastern section appears to be in the process of being taken down. The single -pole gas station next door does not appear to have any business inside and is being used for storage. The Lowden city crew removed a sign marking the crossing of the Lincoln Highway and the Hoover Highway. Joe wonders who to contact about this sign. The group thought best to talk to City of Lowden about it. Bob Ausberger thought it was a handmade wooden sign (not a metal DOT sign). Joyce Ausberger thought it was right outside the Lincoln Hotel.
Linn County: Rex Martin said the loop to Marion is open now, but the pedestrian portion not util spring. He will make sure the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway signs get put back up.
There was a concrete marker in an elderly lady’s garage that was to be reinstalled after road construction. The woman passed away and her son who Rex had talked to about re-installing had been living there after her death. The son was found this winter, frozen out in the yard. The man has a half-brother in AZ and Rex will contact him about the marker. The half-brother (John Parks) had not wanted it re-installed before as he was unsure a new owner would want it or appreciate it. Then his brother had decided to live there instead of selling, but it will now be up for sale.
Benton: Mike Kelly reported the Youngville group has a meeting this Monday afternoon. Mike is still in Virginia, but plans are to move his parents into senior care and he will return to Iowa. Youngville has plans to open this spring, but he will know more after the meeting. The roof has been repaired, but the whole yard and gas pumps need some work. The DOT is to put up signs directing travelers to the new entrance on HWY 218 instead off Highway 30.
Bob and Joyce Ausberger have no further report on the Herring Hotel, but they have formed an LLC to take on properties. The Heritage Preservation and Restoration Partners, LLC includes Bob, Joyce, Wendi Winkie, Dusti Winkie, Allison Hicks, and Darren Sellers.
Mary Helen Preston said Preston’s Station had a great year. Things are closed for the winter but she and Garry look forward to spring 2022.
Tama: The gas station in Montour is in the possession of the LLC that Bob and Joyce Ausberger helped create. They would like to apply for a Tama County Community Foundation grant to create a site plan. It should be National Register of Historic Places eligible and all work should be done to protect that designation. The grant is due January 15th. The new LLC would like the ILHA to be their fiscal sponsor. The LLC has a bank account, but is not a 501 c(3) yet. Mike Kelly moved that the ILHA serve as fiscal sponsor for the Heritage Preservation and Restoration Partners, LLC’s application for the gas station project in Montour. Rex Martin seconded. Motion carried. The LLC has an elderly lady who has many photos and much information about the station. They also have contact with a man who used to work there. The LLC has talked to Martin Gardner in Cedar Rapids, who can give them an estimate on the cost of a site plan.
The Tama bridge work needs to be rebid. There is some talk about moving the bridge to the park and building a whole new bridge for truck traffic. A new processing plant is being built which will increase truck traffic. A suggestion is to move the truck route. The rebid process is for restoration, not removal. Bob Ausberger and Alan Richards are working on keeping the cut-off to Chelsea open as a county road.
Gene Rabel asked about a concrete marker that was in a City of Toledo maintenance shed and wondered if it was still there or if it was re-installed after a new city hall was built. The group will check into it. Bob and Joyce are working with the Tama Historical Society on another issue and will ask them.
Marshall County: Harlan Quick emailed in that he had no report.
Story: Jan Gammon reported that water lines are being laid between Ames and Nevada, closing parts of the Lincoln Highway. That work should be done this spring.
Reed-Niland is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Original plans were to increase their hours, but that has not happened. They only offer 1-2 kinds of pies but have added cookies and other desserts.
Boone: John Fitzsimmons talked to Bob and Joyce not long ago and said the Mamie Eisenhower Birthplace is in good hands as is the Museum.
Greene: Bob and Joyce put Christmas lights around the Grand Junction Garden for the holidays and it looked very pretty. The Green Gables cabin was moved in and has been restored. Let Ausbergers know if you are in the area and they will open it for you. Recently some guys from Spain stopped in and the Canasta ladies talked to them and answered lots of questions. This was trip 2 of 3 for the Spanish group to come to America and drive sections of the Lincoln Highway. Bob and Joyce did not get to talk to them. But wouldn’t be surprised if they wrote a book about their travels from all the questions the Canasta ladies fielded.
Dale Higgins would like some kind of sale to happen outdoors with Lincoln Highway knick-knacks for sale or a BuyWay sale as other states have found successful. Some people might not want to go into museum’s just yet due to pandemic.
Carroll: Barbara Hackfort received a postcard collection, including one of the Lincoln Highway and a standard station. She will be inquiring about adding a picnic table to the M and M Divide pull-off by Arcadia.
Crawford: Ty Rosburg submitted no report.
Harrison: Kathy Dirks talked to Amy Zeigler at Iowa Tourism and the Byway passport program is being continued this year. She recently noticed the marker at Highway 30 and County L20 is missing after some road construction, so she will be checking into that getting reinstalled.
Pottawattamie: No report.
Prairie Rivers of Iowa Report: Shellie Orngard reported that PRI received funds for a traveling display which will consist of panels with photos and information, a replica of a concrete marker, and an old radio that will play recordings. Does anyone have an old radio? The shell of the radio could be used with a modern player placed inside. This project will be promoted in 3 counties to start with- Greene, Story, and Marshall and then expanded to all 13 counties.
Shellie will be traveling the entire Lincoln Highway this year for a conduct a sign inventory. Other grants will be applied for that promote outdoor recreation or inventory historical properties. PRI will also celebrate the National status for the Byway. Kathy Dirks suggested that more than one celebration be held since the byway is so long. As said, the Byway Passport program with Iowa Tourism will continue and Quick Stop has given two $100 gas cards to be given away for each of the first 6 months at least.
Old Business: None.
New Business: Mary Helen Preston suggested we bring the ILHA newsletter back in-house instead of using Prairie Rivers of Iowa. She has someone willing to do it as in-kind and they have graphic arts background. We paid $3,000 last year to Prairie Rivers of Iowa to do the newsletter, social media, and the website – with most of it going towards newsletter work. Printing/mailing is an additional cost – around $125 for the year. We did reduce the number of printed newsletters to 300, so that cost should decrease a bit. Joyce Ausberger moved we do the newsletter in-house. Jan Gammon seconded and the motion carried.
Kathy Dirks asked when the new Byway Activity Guide will be done. Shellie Orngard said they should have it from the printer “any day now.” The on-line version is on the Byway page on the Prairie Rivers of Iowa website.
Joyce Ausberger offered t to hold the April 9th ILHA meeting in Greene County. Location will be in the newsletter.
Adjournment: Garry Hevalow moved, Kathy Dirks seconded, and Mary Preston adjourned the meeting at 11:45 AM.
Jan Gammon, ILHA Secretary