Officers and Consuls in Attendance:
President: Mary Preston
Treasurer: Joyce Ausberger
Secretary: Jan Gammon
State Director: Dean Parr
Linn County: Rex Martin
Benton: Mike Kelly
Tama: Allan Richards
Marshall: Harlan Quick
Greene: Joyce Ausberger, Dale Higgins
Carroll: Barbara Hackfort
Harrison: Kathy Dirks
Others in Attendance: Bob Ausberger, Garry Hevalow, Wendi Winkie, and Dusti Winkie
Welcome: The meeting was called to order at 9:40 AM. The people on the call introduced themselves and President Mary Preston welcomed all to our second Zoom call.
Secretary’s Report: Jan Gammon sent out the minutes from the July meeting prior to the call. Joyce moved to approve the minutes. Garry Hevalow seconded. Motion carried.
Treasurer’s Report- Joyce Ausberger said we received some money from national dues and in February we should receive funds from the Jeff Benson Endowment. Memberships are down from last year. Our expense this quarter was to Prairie Rivers of Iowa for social media, newsletter, and website work. We have one new member this quarter and 4 others be joining in the next quarter.
Membership Report- Dean Parr reported we have 24 Comp, 58 Iowa, 15 Life, 137 National Members for a total of 234. This is after he removed the Merchant Members and all those not renewing for the past two years. That makes membership down 22 from his last report. Dean will send out the list of those he dropped and Consuls in each county may contact them directly for renewals.
State Director Report- Dean reports not much going on. Conference schedules are- 2021: Joliet, Illinois; 2022: near Sacramento, CA; and 2023: TBD, Nebraska. Kay Shelton, President, did email out about the election. Everyone was running all un-opposed, so all re-elected, including Dean Parr as Iowa’s State Director. They will have another board meeting before the end of October. Dean noted he has talked to Van Becker and he was without power for quite a while after the derecho. Van is using a new email, the one Bev, his wife, usually uses.
Open Officer (VP) and Consul (Crawford) Positions: Joyce Ausberger suggested Dale Higgins be the new VP and he accepted. He has also agreed to be the new Greene County Consul with Joyce Ausberger. Joyce moved that we accept Dale Higgins as the new Vice-President and Jan seconded. Motion carried. No name was suggested for Crawford County. Dale is an auctioneer and is working on an on-line auction for the Bob Owens estate. There will be a lot of Lincoln Highway memorabilia. Go to dalehigginsauction.com for the sale listing. Barbara Hackfort says she has a photo of Bob receiving ownership of a Boy Scout Marker in his front yard and she would like to get a photo of the person who bought the marker and is moving it down the street.
County Consul Reports
Clinton- Cathie Nichols was not on the call but she did send in a message that she had been in a car accident in Davenport in August after the derecho. She totaled the 1964 Galaxie. She spent 2 days in the hospital with a broken elbow. Norm had broken ribs. She is home but is constantly nauseated and has lost 90 lbs. since surgery. She says the Wapsi bridge project is on hold as no meetings have happened because of COVID-19. She misses us all.
Cedar-Joe Goodlove was not on the call but sent in a report that nothing much is going on in Cedar County. There is a new mural in Lowden on a fuel tank. Locals are torn between liking and disliking it. The derecho not only damaged, squashed, or blew away a large portion of silos, wiped out cornfields (surprisingly beans not as bad), destroyed many trees, and many houses lost shingles. Sadly, the 100+ year old brick house next to the LH between Lisbon and Mechanicsville lost most of its roof and second story. There was another serious accident where the old and new 30 merge east of Lisbon. Joe says it seems like the original LH isn’t going under without a fight.
Linn- Rex Martin said there is a new concrete marker at the Squaw Creek kiosk. He is not sure who installed it or where it came from. He did send a pic to Jan and Dean. It should be ln the next Forum. (Dean also sent the Forum pics of derecho damages from Youngville, Tama Bridge, and Belle Plaine grain bin.) Rex said many of the kiosks in Linn County were already being evaluated for repairs and were 3 were further damaged in the derecho. The Linn Co Preservation Commission had contacted Rex to see how the ILHA could help with kiosk repairs. We aren’t really able to help financially, so it was suggested that Rex contact Boy Scouts to see if an Eagle Scout project could be done as they fundraise for their own projects. Dean said Boy Scouts had contacted ILHA a few years ago looking to help in some ways. The marker at Johnson Ave should be installed soon as it was removed for road construction.
Benton- Mike Kelly said the derecho caused the new kiosk at Youngville to be damaged. The garage flew up and over the kiosk and is lying in a heap. Fortunately, there was insurance on the garage. One of the panels on the kiosk is missing. He might also look into help from the Boy Scouts for repair help. They haven’t had a meeting since the storm. The cafe had some of its shingles damaged. The new roof had just been put on at the end of 2019. Youngville had just applied for and received a grant from the state for $11,000 before the storm hit due to the COVID-19 closure. The Benton Co Preservation group is hoping to apply for emergency derecho funds for Youngville. Mike did discover some mold inside as rain did not come through the roof, but with straight line winds, he thinks it was driven in through a vent. The good news for Youngville is the overpass is done and the new entrance off Highway 218 will be a bit safer for those wanting to come to Youngville when they open next spring/summer.
Tama- Allan Richards reports the Tama Lincoln Highway Bridge Park has lost a lot of trees. Some should have probably come out anyway. A 1919 canopy gas station in Tama is coming down. Allan wishes it could be moved. Jimmy at the King Tower closed for good because of the derecho and COVID-19. Allan heard that Iowa Beef might buy it, demolish it, and build something new. The 4-lane east of Tama is almost complete.
Marshall- Harlan Quick said State Center held a “mini” Rose Festival this year. They did crown a queen and had a mini parade, but most of the activities were cancelled due to COVID-19. Ryan’s Collision on the north side of Main Street has installed a Boy Scout concrete marker. The development group is working on restoring a new building downtown and using a Challenge Grant towards this work. The Zearing train depot, that was moved into State Center, was one site the Iowa Barn tour saw when they came through. Harlan gave them a tour of many historic places in town. A Halloween Trick or Treat is still being planned.
Story- Carroll Stokesbary was not on the call. Jan Gammon said that Reed-Niland has new managers and the Colo Development Group told her they hope to be open mid to late October.
Boone- John Fitzsimmons was not on the call. Joyce Ausberger said she and Bob talked to Todd Knight, the new owner of the historic Standard gas station in Ogden (the one with ceramic tile exterior). Todd had stopped into the Grand Junction ILHA Museum for information on the Lincoln Highway. Bob and Joyce stopped in Ogden later and saw the restoration Todd is working on. He is a pilot, living in Taiwan, but comes back to Ogden where he was raised quite often. Todd has been in Iowa quite a long time on this visit. He has a tank wagon outside and has two gas pumps he will be installing as well. He joined the Iowa LHA and Bob talked him into joining the national association. Todd says he also signed up 3 new members.
Greene– Joyce Ausberger reported that every so often someone stops into the Grand Junction ILHA museum. They aren’t open as much as before when hairdresser was there, but there is a sign for them to call Bob/Joyce and they come open it up. Recently there was a couple that stopped in while they were moving from Lodi, CA to New York. They were taking 2 weeks to travel across the nation, using the Lincoln Highway. Joyce has been attending local tourism meetings and she and Bob are working on ideas to promote the Quirks cabin area in the eastern part of Jefferson. Bob has a homeless person living there. A Green Gable cabin will be moved from Bob Owen’s property to the Quirks property and the concrete marker from Bob’s yard was sold to someone just down the street from him who will install it in his front yard. Bob and Joyce are also looking at restoration of the old Grand Junction grocery store.
Carroll- Barb Hackfort reported that Carroll County is sporting some good fall colors on their trees. This is the last week to enjoy the Dairy Mart in Glidden before they close for the season. Stop in and get some lemon ice cream!
Crawford- Kathy Dirks said that Cronk’s in Denison has closed for good. Some people had looked at it to reopen as a restaurant, but it needs a lot of work. She heard that Hy-Vee might buy it and put a liquor/gas station there instead.
Harrison- Kathy Dirks is excited the Welcome Center is getting a replacement interpretive panel about the Lincoln Highway. They were able to finance this through a County Conservation fund. It’s being manufactured right now. The county’s Freedom Rock was installed at the Welcome Center. The road between Logan and Missouri Valley was redone this year and it really needed it. Next year, the road between Missouri Valley and Blair will be redone. The Welcome Center opened this year on July 6 due to COVID-19 and in August, they were down about 58% for attendance and sales. People who come in asking about the Lincoln Highway are from about 100 miles away. They have had visitors from all of the United States this year. About the only attractions that are open are the Loess Hills Lavender Farm, Small’s Fruit Farm, and the Welcome Center. The 3 area nursing homes are seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases.
Pottawattamie- Eddy Hedegaard was not on the call. Kathy Dirks said the Hitchcock Nature Center is not open inside, but they are doing the Audubon Bird Count there now.
Committee and Project Reports (if not in County Reports)
Preston Station Update- Mary said the angels protected Preston’s pretty well during the derecho. They lost a station window and had some roof and chimney damage. They will be getting an interpretive panel through Prairie Rivers and it will be placed between the garage and station. They have retained Martin Gardner Architects to do a structural report and applied to the National Preservation Trust Fund for a grant towards the report. For the structural report, they will need all the exterior signs down and the interiors emptied. A contractor is coming today to tarp the roofs. Mary does not have an official letter, but was told the property will be on the National Register of Historic Places as of September 21, 2020.
Herring Hotel- Bob and Joyce Ausberger attended a Belle Plaine City Council meeting and asked if the City might consider holding off on demolition for 6 months while the Ausbergers and others work on funding and restoration plans.
Bob would like to raise $200,000 by the end of this year. Dusti and Wendi Winkie, who are on the call today, feel that some funds can be raised locally and they feel Belle Plaine needs this to be restored. The city does realize this has set empty for 11 years and deadlines came and went with little to no progress, but that some work has been done more recently. Allan Richards has done quite a bit of work there as have the Ausbergers. Allan is still optimistic. He also feels the ILHA needs a bigger concept rather than saving a building here and there.
Prairie Rivers of Iowa- CMP: Jan Gammon reported that the City of Tama received a grant from the DOT to restore the Lincoln Highway Bridge but could not do bid letting until October 1, 2020. This is in addition to the HRDP grant from the State Preservation that was to end Nov 30, 2020. Jan applied for and received an extension for the HRDP grant. Prairie Rivers also received an Iowa Tourism grant for a tri-fold brochure about Breweries, Distilleries, and Wineries in Eastern Iowa as well as creating 2 two-minute videos, filmed and edited by University of Iowa grad students. The finished products will be available soon. Jan is also working on an interpretive project for 10 signs to be installed in Woodbine, Yellow Smoke Park, Eureka Bridge, M and M Divide, Marshalltown, Preston’s, and Clinton. Preston’s is the first one to be completed. The base arrived a few days ago and the panel just was ordered. This is through a $10,000 Union Pacific Grant and a $3,000 Humanities Iowa grant. The total project is shy $5,000 and Jan is looking for other funds to help the project.
Prairie Rivers of Iowa – Jan Gammon asks that you keep sending in information for the LHA website, FaceBook page, and newsletter. Photos of the Belle Plaine “Welcome” grain bin, pre- and post-derecho, were posted on the ILHA Facebook page and received over 900 shares and reached 91,200 people.
Mary Preston suggested to a different conversation about this- maybe using focus groups, surveys, increasing membership, or setting up a task force. We need to think outside the box.
Joyce Ausberger wanted everyone to see the video that Brad Boustead created and posted on YouTube in 2017. Jan had posted it on the ILHA Facebook recently. Look there or search for it by typing in Iowa Lincoln Highway in the YouTube search box. The film features Grand Junction, Jefferson, and Scranton in Greene County.
Joyce also pointed out that John Jackson wrote a great article about Henry Ostermann in the last issue of the Forum.
Dean Parr reported that Jeannie is doing well, getting stronger every day. They are cautious due to COVID-19 and only go to the doctor and church.
Dean suggested that we eliminate the January in person meeting and use Zoom as the Iowa weather is usually unreliable then. All agreed.
Adjournment: Garry Hevalow made a motion to adjourn and Harlan Quick seconded. Motion carried and Mary Preston adjourned the meeting at 11:06 AM.
January 9, 2021- via ZOOM