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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Historic Signs for Bennington

Bennington is “wearing its history on its sleeve” these day through the efforts of the Bennington Historic Society.  The Society designed and installed 16 street signs that show and describe old historic photographs; some going back to the 1890’s and the signs are located where those photographs were originally taken.  

The project also created brass plaques for those historic buildings over a century old.  Both types of signs describe the photo and events at that time.  The project was funded through donations from individuals, families and businesses that sponsored individual signs.   Others have expressed interest in sponsoring additional signs.  We anticipate having additional signs made.

Key members of the design committee included: Louis Musel, Jan and Bob McKelvie, Diane Warrick and Gordon Mueller.

l-r: Bob McKalvie, Lois Musel, Gordon Mueller, Diane Warrick, Jan McKalvie

The images are located in the Historic Business District and positioned on street light poles to show visitors and residents “then & now”.  Gordon Mueller, Society President offered; “This is a great project honoring the founders of our great town.   It’s important to remember their contribution. Support has been outstanding and we thank everyone for their support and interest.” 

Sign Locations

Early Boots and LaddersDa

In another 'Interview' event the Society interviewed Dale Smith and Larry Arp about their early years on the Bennington Fire and Rescue Squads.  Both joined in the early 1960's and combined provided the Bennington Community more than 75 years of volunteer service.  Questions included 'why' they joined; some of the worst and best calls; and advice they would give those thinking about serving.  The central theme was that people need to volunteer.

About 40 people attended to listen to early stories and events by these two renown Community volunteers.  Refreshments and drinks were served. (Who brought those delicious brownies?).  The section was video taped for posterity.    

Dale Smith, Larry Arp, Gordon Mueller--The Bennington Historical Society

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Fall Antique Appraisal Show

The Bennington Historical Society Held its 3rd Antique Appraisal Show November 8th.  Jeff Spencer and Gene Mueller were the hosts and the appraisers.  
Bennington Historical Society-- Antique Appraisal Show-- Lois Musel getting finding out about a century old tobacco and smoking feature from Jeff Spencer.  
Jeff described and discussed the history and value of about 30 different antiques brought in by Society members and the public. Some information surprised the group; some disappointed owners but everyone had a good time.  

The oldest item was a family trunk that Jeff estimated to be 200 to 250 years old and from Germany.  The trunk was hand built of mahogany and of dove-tail construction.  It was a jem.

Lyle Sass and Jeff Spencer discussing the history and value of a 200+year old family trunk.

Items ranged from Chinese and American porcelain, silver ware, old photos, guns, cameras, old post cards, an unusual pencil sharpener, smoking material and pocket watches.  The most expensive item was a collection of pocket watches valued at nearly $4,000 to a cigar box that produced the comment; "well I have some bad news."  We all had fun and learned something new.  Our thanks once again goes to Jeff and Gene for sharing their time and expertise.  
Jan and Ivar share some very old family photographs, some predating the Civil War. 

Linda Klabunde and Linda Mueller collected donations and kept the peace.   

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Sass Irises are being put to 'BED'

Lyle Sass submitted a grant to the Bennington Community Foundation for funding to help support the Bennington Historical Society's Sass Iris Project.  The Foundation approved a $2,000 grant which will significantly help in getting Sass Irises reintroduced into Bennington.  Two propagation beds, each containing 62 varieties of Sass Irises are being planted at two different locations.  One is located between the Society's Museum and the Sportsman's Bar. The other is located on the north end of town were Molley and Stark Street intersect.  

The Bennington Historical Society planting Sass Irises  Lyle Sass (center) giving orders to his troops. 
The Society's goal is to reintroduce over 100 varieties of irises developed by Hans and Jacob Sass.  The registered place of origin is "Bennington, NE."   Bennington is predominantly known on the World Map of Flowers.   

The propagation beds consist of plastic circles; each holding a different variety of irises.  These plants will multiply and their roots spread allowing the harvest of root material that can be planted in other locations.  Each type is carefully marked.

Sass Irises
 If you are interested in helping with the project let us know.  There is a previous article about this project on this blog or Goggle 'Sass Irises' for more information.  

Sass Iris Project; l-r. Bob and Ruth Zaruba, Lyle Sass, Linda and Gordon Mueller.  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fort Calhoun Cemetery

Linda and I visited the old Fort Calhoun cemetery.  During the research for our presentation (YouTube-Early German Settlement) we discovered the early settlers in southern Washington County used the Fort Calhoun cemetery prior to the establishment of the German Cemetery in the late 1870's.  We were amazed at what we discovered in terms of local and national history.  There were so many stories.   

Fort Calhoun Cemetery, Fort Calhoun, Nebraska
The old portion of the cemetery is located at the very top of the hill and probably overlook the Missouri River at one time.  The oldest marker I found was dated 1864.  We ran into the facility's care-taker and he said there were several older.  

We had a great conversation and he told us that a Nebraska Governor was buried here, his name was Lorenzo Crounse and he was Nebraska's 8th Governor and a veteran of the Civil War.   His family memorial had a metal compartment built inside and it was rumored that during prohibition, the cavity inside the marker was a popular drop-off.   You dropped off money and the next day you picked up your moon-shine.   
Governor Crounse's Monument
There were several veterans of the Civil War and those that served with the Nebraska Calvary that was detached to I believe Missouri during the 'rebellion'.  

I was really surprised to find a marker to "Unknown U.S.Soldiers" of the Civil War (GAR-Grand Army of the Republic).  I wondered who, how many and what battle fields they might have made the ultimate sacrifice?

The veterans didn't end there.  Along with WWI and WWII we also found veterans from the Spanish American War like Robert Greene.  And graves and markers have been swallowed up by vegetation and flower beds.

J.B. Kuony....I believe we found John's daughter; Josephine later in our walk. 

 A cemetery also tells stories of hardship and grief, especially for parents who lost many of their children in early childhood.  We found the small markers of 5 girls and someone had placed flowers at each grave. We wondered who?

Some markers told stories like Josephine who was the wife of W.G. Shockey and her parents were John and Regina Kuony.  She was born in Fort Calhoun in 1858, four years after Nebraska Territory was created by passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854.  She died at the early age of 25 at Manitou, Colorado in 1884.  I wonder if it was a mining camp?   It appears her father's marker was in the day lily bed.

And on some the message was quite simple "Father" and that apparently said it all.  He was also a veteran of the Civil War.  

Here is another veteran of the Spanish American War.  So much history, so many stories.   Please be respectful when you visit cemeteries.   Gordon

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

From Peral Harbor to Hiroshemia

    We are very proud to announce that we have changed or display at the museum to Honor all of the Vetrans who have served our great country from around the time of the Civil War to the present.
     It is so exciting for us that so many people have given us the opportunity to display their families pride in serving, whether at home or overseas.
 So here are just a few of the items we have collected.
                                                        Enjoy looking at them!

The mug Dick Musel was given by the guys on his ship. His ship was the one that picked up the first animal the US shot into space. A Monkey!
 While Time magazine told people about the war "Life" wanted them to see for them selves what was going on!
Posters like this have been used in times of war for hundreds of years.
this one is from WWI
 These are actually mortar shells. This is known as "Trench Art"
 While the soldiers were setting around with nothing to do, and I guess in WWI  that happened a  lot. The soldiers would carve pretty much anything they could get their hands on and mortar shells were plentiful.
 POW_MIA  Flag Viet Nam, Army blanket WWI, belonging to Ted Bunz,
Mortar case,  2 Civil War Cannon Balls 12lbers,  2 Mess Kits 1 WWI , 1 WWII, 1Aniti Aircraft mortar shell
and 1 60lb Backpack.
 Bob and Ruth Zaruba We are happy to pay special tribute to Their son-in-law United States Marine Corps Sniper
 J. Robinson.
Hello All     I have been very remiss in getting these pictures to you in a timely fashion. I'm sorry about that and promise to do better in the future.
 Here are some more pictures of our Antique road show. Hope you enjoy them.

                 Deb Almquist brought a Swedish Bible from the Gottsch family

                                               Addie  has this beautiful mantel clock

                                              Joyce Graybill and Joann Warwick

                                    Silver coffee set from one of Bennington's hotels

                                      Green glass, Art Deco vase 1925-1930 $50
                                                  This was in perfect condition!