Iowa Lincoln Highway Association
Business Meeting Minutes
October 8, 2022, 9:30 AM
Ogden Community Center, Ogden, Iowa
Welcome and Introductions
The meeting was called to order at 9:34 by Mary Helen Preston, President.
Those in attendance:
President- Mary Helen Preston
Vice President– Dale Higgins
Secretary- Jan Gammon
Treasurer – Joyce Ausberger
Cedar County Consul – Joe Goodlove
Linn County Consul – Rex Martin
Benton County Consul – Mike Kelly
Marshall County Consul – Harlan Quick
Story County Consul – Henry Corbin
Greene County Consul – Joyce Ausberger, Dale Higgins
Carroll County Consul – Barbara Hackfort
State Director – Dean Parr
Others: Bob Ausberger, Garry Hevalow, Penny Brown-Huber, Shellie Orngard, Gene Rabel, Kay Rabel, Jonathon Sherwood, Jeannie Parr, Susan McKinney, Russ O’Rourke, Danielle O’Rourke, Fred Clark, Andy Bock, Jennifer Morrison, Bryan Helmus, and Brad Boustad.
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. Jeannie Parr moved to approve the July 9, 2022, minutes and Garry Hevalow seconded. Motion carried.
Treasurer’s Report: Joyce Ausberger reported there is $2,147.84 in checking and $4,736.5 in savings. This quarter’s expense was for reprinting the map packs. We will have the expense of one more newsletter yet this year. Joyce is selling calendars from the Ohio chapter for $10. They included pictures of Youngville, Preston’s and the Tama Bridge in the calendar. Garry Hevalow moved we accept the report and Dean Parr seconded. Motion carried.
Membership Report: Dean Parr reported we currently have National – 101, Iowa – 53, Lifetime – 15, Complimentary – 24, for a total of 193. 157 newsletters were mailed out as more are taking it electronically. Cost of printing the newsletter is $107.09. Postage went up so the mailing cost totals $201.29
Director’s Report: Dean Parr reported that John Jackson is retiring from the treasurer position at the end of 2022 and nationals is looking for a replacement. Bob Beaudoin is cleaning up the membership list. The 2023 LHA National Conference will be held near San Francisco June 6-12. Mike Kelly is concerned as it conflicts somewhat with the Jefferson Highway’s national conference to be held in Mason City, Iowa (June 7-10). Many people like to attend both.
Russel Rein, LHA Field Secretary, has been in contact with the University of Michigan and the LHA archives. Russell has a collection of LHA items that he would like to donate, but the staff is not very helpful. Kathryn Dow is missed as she was a great LHA supporter at the U of MI library.
The Towles book about the Lincoln Highway may have renewed interest in the Lincoln Highway. Although it is not a historical fact-filled novel, it does have Lincoln Highway threaded through the content. The LHA’s google maps have seen an increase in the number of hits since the book’s release.
Clinton County Consul
The position is still open.
Shellie Orngard reported there is not much change, but there is interest in making it a National Register of Historic Places District, and talks now are about the boundaries of the district.
The engineering firm of Shuck-Britson posted the job last Thursday and 5 companies have downloaded the information. Hoping to review bids by October 18.
Clinton County: Joe Goodlove reported the old hardware store at the corner in the original town of Lyons (now Clinton) is no more and is now just a dirt lot.
Cedar County: The City of Clarence used the LHA logo on street light banners. They have activities planned almost every weekend. Lowden will host a “Trunk or Treat” night. Stanwood had about 1/3 of the old motel come down. Another 1/3 is being made into apartments. And another 1/3 is used for storage, but it is deteriorating and may come down soon as well. Mechanicsville has some fall activities too.
Linn County: Rex Martin said the loop signage has now been replaced. It took several city council meetings and talks with the city before it happened. He followed up regarding a concrete marker that a 102-year-old woman gave to the Historical Museum. Anything the museum gets, it’s cataloged into its collection for storage on a shelf. They do not want to use it for its original purpose. They have one on display and now 2 in storage.
There was a lengthy discussion about Byway signage and the lack of them or being installed in incorrect locations. This is not only in Linn County but across the state. Mary Preston suggested that Jonathon Sherwood and Jennifer Morrison head a task force to talk to the Iowa DOT about signage corrections.
Benton: Mike Kelly reported Youngville just closed after having a successful season being open just one day a week. The past 3-4 weeks have been extremely busy. The volunteers get “paid” with leftover meals and lately, there were no leftovers. The damage to the roof has been repaired and the building is now in need of tuckpointing. Mike and others are looking at grants and he is working with Jan Gammon to get new drawings of the property ready for a grant application. He is also looking at working with other groups such as the Boy Scouts and other service and historical groups. He envisions showcasing all 64 named highways in Iowa from the 1930s-the 40s.
Herring Hotel: Joyce thinks the City of Belle Plaine is looking at grants to tear the structure down.
Mary Preston said the road closure on Highway 21 continues to cut Belle Plaine off somewhat. Preston’s is working on a capital campaign and looking for grants to continue their restoration process. A group is working on restoring the depot in Belle Plaine.
Tama: Allen Richards is not at the meeting. The Kupka gas station in Montour has been transferred to the LLC formed by the Ausbergers and others. Bob and Joyce met with the City and residents to see how they would like the property to be used after restoration. The town’s sesquicentennial is coming up and they hope to have it ready by then. It was once a Phillips 66 station and a man once offered to give them a 66 sign. The group desires to connect with this guy if they can remember his name.
Marshall County: Harlan Quick reported on the events scheduled in 3 communities: 1. Le Grand’s Fall Bluegrass Festival will be held tomorrow, Oct 9, 2-4 PM in LeGrand Park. 2. Marshall County will be rededicated on Nov 19. It was first dedicated on this date in 1886, then rededicated on this date in 1978 after being restored. Now in 2022, it is being rededicated after repairs were made due to both tornado and derecho damage. 3.) State Center’s Christmas on Main will be Friday, December 1 with live music, hayrides, a craft show, and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Come visit the new businesses that have been added to the newly restored Main Street business district.
Mike Kelly added a 20-minute video about Watson’s Grocery store has been created and can be viewed when visiting the store. Plans are to place it online for the public to view.
Story: Jan Gammon mentioned the success the Niland Café is having. She had been added to the 3 Facebook pages after Starbucks closed it and then continued on while the Wilsons ran it. They closed on January 30, 2022. In the early spring of 2022, she was getting messages from people asking if they could stay in the motel, see a menu, and what are the hours. She posted on April 14th that the location was currently closed and the City of Colo is looking for someone to manage it. Kelsey, who also has a restaurant in Baxter, answered the call and took on the management of both the café and the motel. She opened on June 15th. Her post about opening the café was shared 127 times! Glad to have the FB pages and followers saved as word traveled quickly.
Russ and Danielle O’Rourke and Susan McKinney, Colo Historical Society, talked about the plans being made to restore the gas station at the Reed-Niland Corner. They would like to restore the original fixtures and create self-guided tours. Another goal is to be on the National Register of Historic Places. Anyone with suggestions is encouraged to contact them. Mary Preston just went through the NRHP process and could be a resource and Mike Kelly and his wife, Sandii ran it for several years. It was suggested it is best to hire a consultant to do the NRHP application and to be sure to adhere to the National Parks Service Secretary of Interior Standards when doing restoration work.
Henry Corbin reported Nevada’s Lincoln Highway Days Rodeo had record attendance. Next year will be the 40th annual LHD and old events will make a comeback. The Lincoln and Jefferson Highway Heritage Park outside Nevada City Hall has a replica of a Boy Scout LH marker made from granite installed. The 4th and 5th building projects are underway in downtown Nevada. The Camelot Theater is currently undergoing exterior work and interior work will soon follow. December 10 is the downtown Christmas festivities with horse/wagon rides and Santa. Downtown should look like a Hallmark movie. A gourmet popcorn business opened. The sad news is that Ben Franklin is closing after 50 years
Boone: John Fitzsimmons is doing a Civil War reenactment and did not send in a report. Joyce Ausberger pointed out that the meeting today is in Ogden as we celebrate the 30th year of the Lincoln Highway Association. In 1990, the Eureka Bridge in Greene County was due for restoration, but some in charge wanted the road re-routed to a new bridge. (A court case over it developed.) In 1991 the Greene County Lincoln Highway Association was formed and in 1992, the national organization was created once again at a meeting in Ogden, Iowa in a basement of a bank. just down the street from today’s meeting. Three of the original members are in attendance today- Bob Ausberger, Joyce Ausberger, and Andy Bock.
Greene: Dale Higgins had nothing to report. Joyce Ausberger said Darcy Maulsby’s book about the Iowa Lincoln Highway will be coming out soon. Darcy will speak on Nov 14th at the community center in Grand Junction. Bob had someone help with the LH garden in Grand Junction. This young person painted the gazebo and wooden tractor and helped create a brochure. Bob encourages everyone to create brochures about the Lincoln Highway in their county. Bob is working on restoring an old motel west of Grand Junction and Miller’s Mobil Station in Grand Junction. He’s identified 20 things for a traveler to see in Greene County- enough things to do and see to stay for a week!
Carroll: Barbara Hackfort passed around pictures of the picnic table installed at the M and M Divide east of Arcadia. She is working on getting a trash can put at the pull-off as well. While she was there, someone stopped to look at the interpretive panel. Barbara recently did a Carroll County ghost town tour and it was well received.
Crawford: No report.
Harrison: Kathy Dirks is not able to attend today as she is traveling in Wisconsin to see the fall colors, but she did send in a report. The weather has remained pleasant and there are still many people vacationing and taking day trips. The Welcome Center has been busy! She heard via the grapevine that over 18,000 attended Woodbine’s Apple Fest. And close to 400 cars were in the car show. Missouri Valley had a new celebration the third weekend of September called Mo Valley Rally with many well-attended activities. Lincoln Highway-wise, we’ve had some visitors touring the byway!
Pottawattamie: No report.
Prairie Rivers of Iowa Report
Shellie Orngard is thankful for the ILHA and all that they do. The Iowa DOT has a fairly new byway coordinator- Emily Whaley. She has been out to travel the Lincoln Highway and other byways. Shelley is moving into a new role at Prairie Rivers and Jonathon Sherwood is taking on the role of the Lincoln Highway National Heritage Byway coordinator.
Jonathon introduced himself. He has a degree in community and Regional Planning and is currently studying Landscape Architecture at Iowa State. He has been busy learning about the Lincoln Highway people and places. He grew up one house off the Lincoln Highway in Nevada. The Byway’s traveling exhibit has ended its tour in Nevada, but Hank Zaletel will make a presentation about the Lincoln Highway yet. The exhibit then travels to the Historical Museum in Cedar Rapids. It is a 3-panel display with an antique radio with different recordings to choose from.
Shellie will be working on a grant to survey NRHP properties or properties that should be listed, their current condition, and future needs. The State Fair booth was well attended.
Mike Kelly requested anyone with old movies of downtowns, farm life, or rural settings contact him. He also transfers slides to digital platforms. Mary Preston asked Prairie Rivers to post a call to action on the Facebook page.
Joyce Ausberger said she has given more talks this year about the Lincoln Highway than she ever has. She encourages us all to volunteer to talk to local organizations looking for a program.
Bryan talked to a guy who rides motorcycles and enjoys traveling the Lincoln Highway. He sees so much more of the countryside than taking the interstate. Bryan recently took Highway 30 on a trip to Ann Arbor and saw many Halloween displays and other sites not visible on the Interstate. Bryan also suggested the Urbandale Library might be interested in the traveling display.
Adjournment: Garry Hevalow moved, Jan Gammon seconded, and Mary Preston adjourned the meeting at 11:548 AM. The group posed for a group photo taken by Mike Kelly and then moved down the street to the Lucky Pig for lunch.
Next Meetings: January 14, 2023, via Zoom and the next in-person meeting is April 8, location TBD.
Jan Gammon, ILHA Secretary