KENMARE Visitors to the Lakeview County Historical Society pioneer village in Kenmare can venture into the past this summer thanks to new and old displays.
Work was still under way Saturday on one display, a vintage beauty salon that is located in the Duffy, a building that used to be the Conservation Civilian Corps barracks and has been undergoing extensive renovation.
Historical society president Bryan Quigley said a volunteer with the historical society painted the floor in a checkered pattern. She looked up old photos on the Internet of shops from the 1920s and 1930s to determine how it should look. In the next week or two, volunteers will also paint the walls in the building and install period furniture.
Bryan Quigley, president of the Lake County Historical Society in Kenmare, shows off improvements made to the pioneer village museum.
Quigley said work is still being done on various improvement projects at the museum, including the Duffy building and the village blacksmith shop, both of which needed new foundations after suffering water damage in the spring of 2011.
The Duffy had started to sink into the mud because of moisture in the spring of 2011 and the floor was heaving on the west side of the building. Money was raised from various sources for new foundations at both the Duffy and the blacksmith shop The Kenmare Vets Gaming Commission gave the museum a $5,000 grant to start the process and other grant funding came from 2012 Pioneer Funds and Ward County Commssion. Donations were given during the museum's big fundraiser, the annual Pioneer Days. Quigley said the total cost of the project was over $20,000.
The foundations were laid last fall on both buildings. Quigley said the Duffy building should be open to visitors in time for the Pioneer Days, which will be held this year on July 14. The blacksmith shop, which still needs more work, might not be ready by then.
The museum has a total of 18 buildings, connected with a wooden boardwalk. They range from a butcher's shop, a post office, a bank, a dentist's office, an optometrist's office, a residence, a church, a windmill, a homestead and a a school house.
The historical society also received a $4,000 grant from the St. Joseph's Community Foundation that is being used to bulid a handicapped accessible ramp into the Duffy building and widen the boardwalk from the Kenmare News building to Cindy's Miliary Shop, the museum's hat display building. Quigley said he's glad the museum will now be accessible to more people.
Quigley said the museum will have some new exhibits this year, even though they had to be creative to find room for more. For instance, there will be some unique stationary engines in front of the new Rytter Implement Museum. The museum built a building for tractors and implements that need to be kept out of the weather back in 2011. Many of the vintage vehicles are on loan from their owners, while others have been donated. Some of the vehicles on display include a 1928 McCormick Deering 10-20, a 1940 John Deere H, a 1970 John Deere, a 1936 WK 40 McCormick Deering, a 1954 International W4, a 1948 WC Allis Chalmers, a 1941 General GG, a 1944 D-3 Coop , a 7-foot McCormick Deering Biner, an International Harvester Threshing Machine, a 1949 Kenmare Fire Department truck, and a 1946 Ford car.
The big event of the summer is the Pioneer Day event on July 14. This year, rural Lutheran churches Beetlehem, Elmdale and Trinity will hold their regular church service at the Hartland Lutheran Church at the museum.
Other events on the schedule include a tour, a scavenger hunt, children's games, hymn singing, a log cutting contest, a pig roast, a raffle drawing, and a one-act play put on by community volunteers. This year's play will be a melodrama entitled "The Matchmaker's Daughter or The Villain Picked Her Off."
Admission to the museum during Pioneer Day is also free, but free will offerings will be accepted.
The museum is open from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday during the summer months and from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. It is also open by appointment. People who want to arrange a tour can call Quigley at 467-3444 or 240-4505. Admission is free, but a free will offering is requested.