Called to Order: Cathie Nichols, the president, called the meeting to order at 9:30. Those in attendance introduced themselves and John Fitzsimmons shared a drawing he had done of a location in Wyoming. Joyce noted that Bob Owens is turning 92 and had a card for us to sign for him.
Secretary Report: Jan Gammon had sent out the minutes prior to the meeting and brought copies. The minutes were accepted.
Treasurer’s Report: Joyce Ausberger gave the year-end report and the current balances in the checking and investment account.
Membership Report: Dean Parr said we are up 2 members. One new Iowa member and one new Merchant Member (who had joined some time ago, but was not in his count.) Our totals are 60 Iowa, 172 National, 24 Comp, 11 Life, and 23 Merchant for a total of 290.
Director’s Report: Dean reported that the national treasury is down $10,000 from the New Jersey Conference not filling enough rooms at the hotel complex. Joyce hopes the next conference breaks even as they do not expect to make a profit on it. Dean will write a letter challenging the other states to make a $500 donation as Iowa will make that donation if other states do as well.
Clinton County: Cathie Nichols has copies of land release forms from Iowa Natural Heritage for members to review. She will use this form when asking land owners for permission to do the Wapsi River Bridges project.
Cedar County: Joe Goodlove said that Cedar County communities are having their usual winter activities, but none are focused on the Lincoln Highway.
Linn County: Rex (and his wife) fixed the 35th Street Byway sign arrow as it was pointing in the wrong direction. Johnson Ave is now open. There was a question about a missing marker and Rex will investigate. Dean Parr added that the History Center is now open in the former Douglas Mansion and formerly used as a funeral home. There is room if this group wants to hold an ILHA meeting there. (It is across from the fire station and has lots of parking.)
Benton County: Youngville has a meeting on Tuesday and Mike will be attending that.
Tama County: No report from Allan Richards. Tama Bridge addressed later in the meeting.
Marshall County: Harlan’s report is added to the minutes as an attachment. Highlights are two buildings on West Main Street are undergoing restoration work- Central State Bank Building and Evans Café building. The 61st Rose Festival will be held June13-16. Marshalltown has been fighting to get back on its feet from the tornado which traveled down Main Street and damaged historic buildings, many which are being demolished. The courthouse is undergoing restoration. The concrete marker in front of the library had some damage and will be restored. Harlan has been working on research to see what route the 1919 Army Convoy took through Marshall County. The Convoy was spread out 5-10 miles since most of the roads were dirt/gravel and kicked up quite a dust storm. And he found the Goodyear contingent had a band traveling with them. Bob Ausberger asked if the Convoy went through LaMoille. Harlan will get with Paul Gilger, who is laying out the 2019 Convoy route about Marshall County.
Story County: Carroll Stokesbary reported that LED light bulbs have been installed around Reed’s Station and it has helped bring the electric bill way down. Lighting up the station really adds to the ambiance. The station was open for Trick or Treaters and Carroll “Charlie Reed” handed out candy. Sandii Huemann-Kelly has moved on and the new managers are here at the meeting. Colo put a huge Christmas tree in the middle of a downtown intersection. It was really large. Joe Harper, who was Carrol’s predecessor as a tour guide at Reed-Niland has 3 broken ribs and is healing at a home in Knoxville. Joyce had a card for all to sign. Carroll’s report is included as an attachment to the minutes as well.
Boone County: John Fitzsimmons reported that there is still a problem with the Mamie Eisenhower Birthplace. Citizens have hired a lawyer to prevent the Society from selling it. John has talked to Mara, the former director several times. You can’t talk anything “historical” in Boone without upsetting people. Ogden had nice Christmas lights on Main Street.
Greene County: Bob Owens reported that Jan Gammon, Byway Coordinator, made a presentation to the Greene County supervisors about the work the Byway has been doing and the Corridor Management Plan. She will be attending all board of supervisors and city council meetings in the coming year. Jefferson has new wayfinding signs and used a designed lamp posts as bases for the signs. The Jefferson Main Street Program is doing a lot of restoration on downtown buildings. Scranton will celebrate 150 years in 2019. They have a new mural by the interpretive panel about the water tower. Grand Junction Museum is not getting a lot of visitors because it is winter. The beautician that worked in the back of the building has moved out and gone to Jefferson. So there won’t be anyone there to open the museum on a daily basis.
Carroll County: No report from Barbara Hackfort.
Crawford County: No report. Need to contact Teresa Keairnes to see if she will accept the Consul position and get her listed in the newsletter/website.
Harrison County: Kathy Dirks sent in a report. She had hoped to attend but due to weather, did not. The Highway 30 Bypass being planned for Missouri Valley has 3 alternatives now. The good news is Highway 30 will still go by the Welcome Center! Harrison County Tourism has done 2’ x 3’ panels for each of the 10 communities in the county. Logan’s highlights the Courthouse (on the National Register), the band shell, and a downtown building.
Pottawattamie County: No Report.
Membership Committee: Cathie Nichols, Bob Ausberger, Joyce Ausberger, and Jan Gammon have formed a membership committee. If anyone is interested in being on this committee, please let Cathie know. The group held a pre-meeting and identified some strategies to get new LHA members.
The committee challenges each consul to get 4 new members in their county before the next meeting. Margaret Elbert does “Welcome” bags for the city of Ames and she will put information about the ILHA/LHA in them for new residents. She does 30-40 visits every month. Joyce received a check for someone for $25 and that doesn’t match any of the membership fees, so Dean will investigate it. Dean will send out renewal notices again in February. Cathie reported that she signed up Rita Hart as a member. She ran for Iowa Lt. Gov. this past fall.
Jeff Benson Endowment Fund: Bob Ausberger received a call from David Dahlquist who started this Endowment Fund with an initial $10,000. The account has now grown to $14,000. Margaret Elbert (Jeff’s wife) will match any donation up to $5,000. They believe that David gets a printout of donations and that might be the best way to track it. Margaret will be in contact with David for a list of new donations. Jan reported the donation form is on the ILHA website with the address to send donations. Donations are tax deductible. Joyce said in 2018, the ILHA gave $2,000 to the fund and received $800 back but wasn’t sure if it was earmarked for certain projects. Margaret thought it was for “innovative” projects, however that might be defined.
Reed-Niland Corner: Bob and Joyce Ausberger were afraid the Café might be shut down for a period of time after Sandii’s retirement. While they were eating at the Lucky Pig in Ogden one night, they approached a lady there about it. She declined but said that someone running the DMACC cafeteria in Boone might be interested. So Bob and Joyce stopped in and talked to Charity Starbuck. She was interested and things have progressed. Charity and her husband, Arlo, are in attendance today and report that they will sign the lease this week and live on-site for a bit with their two kids (daughter, age 10, and son, age 7). Arlo will drive back and forth to his security job with the Iowa National Guard, and then join Charity at the Café/motel after they get a feel for the business. Charity has a culinary degree and is working on a Business Administration degree. They will do some interior painting to freshen it up and have a draft of their menu for LHA members to review. They will have a soft opening to test things and a grand opening. The motel will be open and Christy will run that as well. Arlo is excited to have the Farmer’s Market there and Classic Car Roll-ins. Mike Kelly said that the ILHA still needs to support further restoration there as some units, bath house, etc. need work done yet.
1919 Convoy: Jan Gammon passed out the itinerary for the LHA Army Convoy this summer. They will start Aug 30 on a pre-tour gathering in Washington, D.C. and be in Iowa Sept 6, overnighting in Marshalltown, and Sept 7, overnighting in Council Bluffs. Joyce and Bob are considering going on this trip.
New Officers/Consuls: Harlan respectfully declined the vice-presidency. Bob nominated Mary Preston and she agreed. All were in favor. Jan will contact Teresa Keairnes in Crawford and someone is needed in Pottawattamie yet.
501C3 Status: Meredith Ponder is having to start over with this process and received 5 years of treasurer reports from Joyce. Meredith hopes to have this submitted before the end of January. Mary Preston has submitted one before and it took about a month to hear back. Meredith will use her credit card for payment and will need reimbursed from the treasury for the fee.
Committee and Project Reports
Newsletter/Facebook/Website Report: Meredith emailed in a report. She had planned on attending, but with weather report decided to stay put. The website is going fine, though she could use more upcoming events. Newsletter was full of submitted articles. She appreciates this effort. Social media is going well. She will be out of the country almost all of March. Not sure of her access to email. But you can try to contact her if you need her and she will try to respond.
Prairie Rivers of Iowa /Coordinator Report: Jan Gammon reported she received a $500 grant from Allegra (marketing and printing firm in Urbandale) for a tri-fold brochure regarding the Lincoln Highway, the 1919 Army Convoy, re-enactments, Dwight Eisenhower, and Mamie Eisenhower. She will go to a ceremony Feb. 13 to receive the grant.
Jan also submitted a grant to the Tama County Community Foundation for an interpretive panel to go in the Montour cemetery about Henry Ostermann and losing his life on a nearby curve. An extension has been submitted for the Benton County Community Foundation Grant for the Youngville oil room project.
Jan is still researching for the American Society of Civil Engineers Historic Landmark Award. She is working on other grants and projects and will share them as they develop. The Iowa Tourism Conference is Feb 6-8 in Altoona and she will attend.
Tama Bridge: With the grants Prairie Rivers of Iowa (Jan) has been able to secure on behalf of the city and donations from citizens, banks, and other groups, the funding goal has been reached. A request letter had been sent to the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa before the goal had been met. Jan and the Mayor of Tama, Mike Carnahan, had a meeting set up with the Tribal Council and presented about the bridge project and the need for funding above and beyond the initial goal as the engineer has come back with a $10,000-$20,000 increase in the project due to some re-engineering of the approach of the bridge. The City will still move forward with the project, but wanted the Sac and Fox to be a part of it, if they wish. They will decide and get back to them.
Montour Gas Station: Jan attended the Montour City Council Meeting in January and talked to them about forming a group to take on the gas station once it has been restored. The ILHA does not want to own the property but is interested in helping with grant writing and restoration. There was much excitement about this from the residents in attendance and the city council. It will be put on the agenda for the February City Council meeting (Feb 4 at 5:30 PM). Current property owners (Kupka family), the ILHA, and the end user all need to be agreeable to the ownership transfer and how it is being restored. We did have a verbal estimate on the roof repairs of $5,000, but need a more comprehensive estimate for fundraising purposes.
Wapsi/Syracuse Report: Cathie had already passed out copies of the release form and had nothing else further to add.
Preston Station Update: Mary Preston is working with the City on a grant application and has passed the first round to qualify for the National Register of Historic Places. The woman who is helping her is working with the King Tower now and will move on to Preston’s soon. Mary is working on a priority list. She hopes to restore the Station first, then the motel (as there is nowhere to stay in Belle Plaine). She is working with Ryan Prochaska to build out a timeline. Garry, Mary’s husband, is being referred to as “little George” by some residents.
Herring Hotel Update:
Bob and Joyce report that a temporary roof has been put on the west lower roof. The State has given Kristine Pope /Foundation some money and might give more if progress is shown. Although, it is believed the city is still going forward with the condemnation process. Kristine Pope did not attend the last Belle Plaine City Council meeting, but feels that she is doing what is being requested of her and would like it taken off the demolition list. It is reported they would like to see her cover the plywood with white plastic.
Other comments/news: Cathy noted the Forum is looking for articles and Dean is looking for news from Iowa to share in the Forum as well. Joyce mentioned that the Rabel’s (LHA members visiting the meeting from Minnesota) received an award at last summer’s conference for driving the entire length of the Lincoln Highway. They also received a certificate from the Governor of Nevada for surviving the Loneliest Road.
The next meeting will be held in Belle Plaine, probably at the Museum. The July meeting will be in Harrison County and the October in Clinton County. Exact locations will be in the newsletter.
It was moved by Lyell to adjourn. Carroll seconded. Motion passed.