Iowa Lincoln Highway Association Meeting
January 9, 2021 via Zoom 9:30 AM
Officers and Consuls in Attendance:
President: Mary Preston
Treasurer: Joyce Ausberger
Secretary: Jan Gammon
State Director: Dean Parr
Linn County: Rex Martin
Tama: Allan Richards
Greene: Joyce Ausberger
Harrison: Kathy Dirks
Others in Attendance: Bob Ausberger, Garry Hevalow, Edwon Yedlik (Benton Co Hist Preservation), and Allison Hicks
(Benton Co Hist Preservation).
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 Zoom call.
Secretary’s Report: Jan Gammon had sent out the minutes from the July meeting. Kathy Dirks moved to approve the minutes. Dean Parr seconded. Motion carried.
Allan Richards requested the meeting be recorded. Mary had not been recording, but did from about this point.
Treasurer’s Report- Joyce Ausberger gave the balance amount of the checking and investment accounts. We have three new members and their fees will be reflected in 2021. Bob Ausberger and Gene Rabel, our ILHA friend (member) from Minnesota, each made donations.
Joyce gave the End of 2020 Financial Report showing income of: memberships, our portion of national dues, merchandise sold (mostly to Todd Knight, new owner of the gas station in Ogden), and no ads sold (but Boone RR wants to have an ad again in 2021.) We received some money from Jeff Benson Endowment and from Niland Café when they closed, and the two donations listed above.
Total expenses for 2020: Newsletter printing and mailing, Prairie Rivers for website/newsletter/Facebook, and PO Box fees. (PRI’s expenses were the lower than they’d been in the past few years.) This put us in the black for the end of the year (income-expenses).
Allan Richards asked if we can process memberships on-line or if we have a way to donate using PayPal or some other program. Mary Preston will look into it.
Membership Report- Dean Parr reported we have 24 Comp, 59 Iowa, 15 Life, 137 National Members for a total of 235. We received two new members – Todd Knight and Sharon McQuinlin – we had 1 member pass away so that puts us up just one. National is seeing a downward trend on memberships too. Dean sent out 57 renewal notices. He plans to drop those that were due in Jan 2020 if they don’t pay before the next newsletter. Those that were due in Jan 2021 will get more time and the list will be given to the consuls so they have a chance to convince them to renew before I drop them prior to the July newsletter. Dean also needs to check the National membership list, as he doesn’t always get notified when they are dropped. Dean wonders if we should cut back on number of printed newsletters.
State Director Report- Dean reports a survey was sent out and only 30% responded favorably to holding the auto tour. The National officers decided to postpone both the auto tour and national conference to 2022. Conference schedules are- 2022: Joliet, Illinois; 2023: near Sacramento, CA. Dean also reported that Kathy Franzwa passed away on December 15th. Kathy and her husband, Gregory, were long-time supporters of the Lincoln Highway and Kathy was the editor of the Forum, the LHA’s national magazine. She will be missed. An article about her should appear in the next Forum.
Open Consul (Crawford) Positions: Jan Gammon made a Zoom presentation to the Denison Rotary and several people were interested. Jan will resend those names to Mary Preston to follow up.
County Consul Reports
Clinton- Cathie Nichols did not send in a report.
Cedar-Joe Goodlove did not send in a report.
Linn- Rex Martin sent in a report. Continuing to work on a plan for the repair and/or replacement of the damaged kiosks in Linn County. With COVID and closure of the county buildings it has been difficult as we work with the Historic Preservation Commission to accomplish as much as we would like. Hopefully we will have things in order by early spring. Dean Parr said Cedar Rapids has finished cleaning up the tree and brush debris and now is working on street lights. Rex joined the call during this time, but had nothing else to add to the report.
Benton- Mike Kelly sent in a report via Sandii Huemann-Kelly. Youngville will have a meeting later in January. The Jefferson Highway has not decided the fate of the conference that had been postponed to 2021 in Mason City. Mike is still in Virginia. Mike and Sandii had been there for his parent’s 70th Anniversary but they stayed in Iowa for Christmas to try and keep all safe. Both parents have been hospitalized with COVID and pneumonia. His dad is home and his mom was recently released to a short term rehab setting. Thanks for keeping all of the Kelly’s in your thoughts and prayers. Please all stay well.
Tama- Allan Richards reports the old portion of the road is to be torn out once the 4-lane is opened. They will give the land back to the farmers, but they aren’t sure what they’ll do with it. Allan would still like the Lincoln Highway to become a National Monument.
Marshall- Harlan Quick sent in a report. The State Center Development Association continues the renovation of the Holsworth Building at 116 and 118 West Main Street. This 1895 double front brick building housed a jewelry store and millinery shop for over 50 years. It was built by Robert Holsworth and housed his jewelry store until his death in 1939.
An interpretive sign telling the history of the Centre Station depot and the railroad depots in State Center has been placed on the depot. The Washington Township Country School has been repainted. All of these buildings are on Main Street, the original Lincoln Highway Route through State Center.
The State Center Police Department is sponsoring a monthly car cruise for April through September, the 2nd Saturday of each month. They hope to add food trucks and an opportunity to view the cars prior to the cruise. Detailed maps will be available and COVID-19 precautions will be observed. Dates are: April 10, May 8, June 12, July 10, August 14, September 11.
The State Center Rose Festival will be Father’s Day weekend June 19 and 20. The final details will be dependent on the nature of the COVID-19 Pandemic at that time.
Story- Carroll Stokesbary was not on the call. Jan Gammon said Nevada has undergone new infrastructure on their main street complete with bump-outs and new street lights. Work north of Lincoln Highway will begin in the spring.
Boone- John Fitzsimmons was not on the call. Jan Gammon said Boone brought in a new train locomotive and placed it at the corner of Highway 30 and South Story St as a “welcome” to visitors.
Greene- Joyce Ausberger said Dale Higgins is in Arizona right now. He and others helped Bob move the Green Gables cabin from Bob Owen’s house to the Quirks Cabin property on the east side of Jefferson. After it got moved, the zoning official stated there is one too many buildings at that site. Bob and Joyce will go in Monday and ask for a variance.
Bob put up Christmas lights around the Lincoln Highway Garden in Grand Junction. They were real pretty. He has now taken them down. Not seeing very many visitors at the Museum and the Canasta ladies aren’t meeting as often. When COVID restrictions lift, Joyce will go out and try to get new members and get some to renew.
Dean Parr said Jefferson Matters contacted him about using some of our newsletter articles in their social media and other marketing efforts.
Bob later added to this report that the large utility pole was installed near the Moss Markers, but it should not hinder viewing the marker. He will be working with the Board of Supervisors about a pull-off where people can view the interpretive panel that has been created for the Moss Markers.
Carroll- Barb Hackfort did not send in a report.
Crawford- No report.
Harrison- Kathy Dirks reported that Missouri Valley should have had their 150th in 2020, so postponed to 2021. Not sure how that will pan out this year. Prior to the start of this meeting, Bob and Joyce wondered if others were contacted about the Missouri Valley Bypass and participating in the Section 106 (historical resource) process. The Welcome Center/ Harrison County Conservation did not want to participate, but Kathy will send out the information the DOT sent about it to all of the ILHA consuls and officers. Bob and Joyce may participate as the ILHA. Kathy reports the bypass was to help with flood control, but the city is not sure what amount of dollars they will be required to contribute. When Kathy gets information about a state wide tourism meeting to be held July 27th via Zoom, she will send it out to everyone. She was on a Destination Analysts phone call and it is estimated 2021 leisure trips will be 39 % lower than in 2019. This is up from 2020, but still a grave concern for the industry. It appears trips will ramp up beginning in May, peak in July, ramp back down in October and bump up again in December. About 18% anticipate their first trip by commercial airline in 2021 will be in the second quarter (April-June). Aspirations to visit Florida, Las Vegas, New York, California, Hawaii and Colorado remain most common. The Harrison County Historical Village and Welcome Center has been open, but most of the attractions they refer people to or where people are referred to the Welcome Center have not been open. In Kathy’s 26 years at the Center, she has never seen it so slow between Christmas and New Year’s. Usually people are traveling to and from or in the area looking for things to do while they visit family and friends. This year they had 3 cars stop during that entire week.
Pottawattamie- Eddy Hedegaard did not send in a report.
Committee and Project Reports (if not in County Reports)
Reed/Niland Corner: Jan Gammon reported that she had taken on 3 Facebook pages (Colo Motel, Niland Café, and Reed Niland Corner) after the Starbuck’s left the café. Jan has added the new manager, Danny Wilson, as administrator to all three. When she first contacted Danny, nothing was in operation but apparently now the Motel is. Café is being renovated. They might be moving all the historical information to the west side by the entrance door. Not sure on the fate of the half-car inside.
Preston’s Station Update- Mary said they have retained Martin Gardner Architects to do a structural report and received a National Preservation Trust Fund grant for the report. For the structural report, they will need all the exterior signs down and the interiors emptied. The property will be on the National Register of Historic Places as of September 21, Preston’s received some emergency funds from the state to help with derecho repairs. They have had few visitors and less donations. A guy from Dysart did stop in recently (at night) to see the station as it is listed on the new TravelIowa/Iowa Byways Passport Program.
Herring Hotel- Bob and Joyce Ausberger reported that two parties are interested in the building. One would like to put in a brew pub in the basement. The other is a realtor/contractor. One is a Master pipefitter and could help with restoration efforts. The committee will meet Sunday via Zoom (later decided to postpone this meeting). On Wednesday, Bob and
Joyce will meet with the Benton County Historic Preservation Commission to fine tune a plan to present to the City of Belle Plaine. The City Council meets January 20th. Bob Ausberger and Lyell Henry each paid half of the amount that was due yet to the firm who created a Phase 1 report for the Herring Hotel some time ago. They will use this report to create their restoration plan.
Tama Lincoln Highway Bridge – Jan Gammon reported the engineer who is working on the Bridge, Chris Criswell, is sending paint samples to her. Paula Mohr, who lives in Ames but works for the State Historic Preservation Commission, will stop in to review the colors.
Montour Gas Station – No report. Allan Richards says some weeds need to come out of ditch near the cemetery. The Byways signs were vandalized some time ago. Jan Gammon said there are 2 signs on same pole that were vandalizedIowa Valley Scenic Byway and Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway. She gave new signs to the County Engineer, but he has never changed them out. Jan also said that a low spotlight was installed under the interpretive panel that lights up the area and shines upward to the flag pole. Looks very nice at night.
Wapsi Report: No report.
Prairie River of Iowa- Corridor Management Plan Update: Jan Gammon reported that she has completed a grant for the creation of 2 two-minute videos about breweries, distilleries, and wineries in eastern Iowa. One video included Wide River Winery in Clinton and Mississippi River Distilling in LeClaire. The other features Cedar Ridge Winery and Distillery in Swisher and Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City. Both videos are uploaded to YouTube and links available on the Byway landing page on PRI’s webpage (ww.prrcd.org). Also created was a tri-fold brochure that was to be debuted at the Iowa State Fair in 2020, but now will be in 2021.
As that grant wound down, word was received that Iowa Tourism is giving $5,000 towards redesigning the Info Guide. Originally 10,000 copies were printed five years ago. Only 25 copies are left. A waiting list has been created for attractions/welcome centers requesting more.
The LHHB interpretive program is working on a 10-panel project and received $10,000 from Union Pacific Railroad Community Ties Giving Program and $3,000 from Humanities Iowa, and asking local groups to fund $1,000 as a match. Panel for Preston’s Station and the M and M Divide have been created and are ready to be installed in the spring. Panels about the Eureka Bridge near Jefferson and the Bowstring Bridge in Yellow Smoke Park near Denison have been designed and are awaiting approval by the county engineers/county conservation directors before they will be manufactured. Woodbine is working on gathering their information and photos. Just a few days ago, word was received from the Marshalltown Chamber of Commerce of an award for $1,000 from their tourism grant. So work will begin soon on gathering info and photos on one about the courthouse. The 4 panels in Clinton are awaiting a cash match. The
Byway has applied for a Daughter of American Revolution (DAR) grant. Panels in Ames and Vail have also been added to this project now, making it an overall 12-panel project. DAR is being asked to fund Ames, Vail, and Clinton. Unveiling ceremonies will be held as installation happens and COVID allows.
The Byway has not been notified of the National Scenic Byway designation. The list was prepared and given to the Secretary of the Administration, then was to go to the Secretary of Transportation. This past week there was some problems in DC at the capital and the Secretary of Transportation resigned. They were required by law to announce by December 23rd, 2020 so unsure if and when the announcement will be made.
The Byways of Iowa and Travel Iowa have partnered in a passport program. Each Byway was to come up with 10-15 locations for travelers to visit and “check-in” using an app on their phone. The program can be downloaded from the Travel Iowa website at Iowa Scenic Byway Passport (traveliowa.com) Each time a traveler “checks-in” they will be entered into that month’s drawing for a grand prize worth $150-250. There are 12 participating byways and 12 months, so each byway will be featured in a month. The Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway turns 15 years old on March 31, 2021 so will be featured in April 2021. Travelers hopefully will be increasing that month as well with nice weather. Travel Iowa will do special promotions for the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway in April. Originally this program was to roll-out in the summer of 2020, so more “outdoor” types of locations were chosen. The program will run for 1 year. We can add more (5-6 locations) in February if there is interest to do so.
Our 12 locations are:
The Sawmill Museum, Clinton *
Czech and Slovic Museum, Cedar Rapids*
Murals and Park- Clarence
Lincoln Highway Bridge- Tama
Preston Station- Belle Plaine *
PRI office- Ames *
Boone & Scenic Valley RR- Boone
Lions Club Tree Park- Grand Junction
Jefferson Gardens, Jefferson
Eugene Koch Memorial Park- Westside
Harrison County Hist Village and Welcome Center- Missouri Valley *
Union Pacific Railroad Museum- Council Bluffs
If there is a * behind the location, they have been given 50 LHHB magnets to hand out to visitors. (Prestons’ Station as
reported earlier has had one visitor so far – in the first 5 days. Jan knows at least two stopped at the Czech Museum and over 600 have signed up for the program.)
Prairie Rivers of Iowa – Jan Gammon asks that each consul/officer/member review the ILHA website, especially the county pages. Let her know if you have edits or want anything else added. Use your imagination of what you’d like to see. The Merchant Membership page was taken down and a list of businesses has been developed, but not added to the website yet. PRI will be working on that in the coming months. Would like to add links to the businesses and it will take some time to get it all done. Keep sending in information for the LHA website, Facebook page, and newsletter.
Mary Preston reported the Lincoln Highway Association has created a marketing committee and Kay Shelton feels they have gathered the necessary amount of members. They will begin to meet and develop plans very soon.
Dean Parr said in the teleconference calls, the national group is looking into a “Donate” button to be added to their website. Mary will look into PayPal and VenMo for us.
Allan Richards asked if other states are taking on any large (million dollar) projects like the Herring Hotel. Dean only knows that a Most Endangered List is created and the LHA looks to see if any properties on the list relates to them. The LHA Board was to write a support letter for the Herring, but he hasn’t seen one yet.
Joyce Ausberger thought that the ILHA had another good newsletter with lots of good information. Keep sending articles to the Forum to keep Iowa out in front.
President Mary Preston asked for ideas on how the ILHA can be a stronger organization. Do we increase community involvement? Look at our website- can it be stronger, have a stronger presence? Do we cut costs? How do we reach more people? Does the mission statement still fit? Is there a succession plan? How do we capture the knowledge of long-time members? Allan Richards suggested that we increase the invite list to the quarterly meetings. Can he share the meeting link with others? Mary said, “Yes”, but to let her know who you might be expecting on the call. Mary has paid for the Zoom subscription and there is no limit on number of people on the paid subscription- or time limit.
Bob Ausberger suggested we go to each of the Board of Supervisors and ask for some funding. Kathy Dirks said her Board of Supervisors would want to know that ALL counties were contributing and would want to know what the funds were being spent on. Mary Preston suggested that we look at expenses over several years and compile a “plan” for asking each county. It might take until September or so to get it developed.
Allan Richards wondered if the ILHA’s 501c3 standing will be used for the Herring Hotel. Joyce said the two parties interested will probably not need to use that, but will discuss with them. Allan would also like to divert truck traffic off the Tama Lincoln Highway Bridge. He is looking for contacts within the DOT. Jan suggested contacting Andy Loonan, DOT District Planner, and Bob suggested Jacob Woodcock, DOT Location and Environment Bureau.
Adjournment: Garry Hevalow made a motion to adjourn and Joyce Ausberger seconded. Motion carried. Mary Preston
adjourned the meeting at 11:35 AM.
April 10, 2021- via ZOOM