MY VISIT TO HERITAGE PARK
Primghar, O'Brien County, Iowa
Park open by appointment by calling 712.957.2581, 712.757.5715, or 712.757.0011.(as of 8/4/2012)
A look into the Past-Heritage park, Primghar Iowa.
Step into a Log Cabin, Home, Church, Bank, Hotel = exhibits of milliner/tailor, military, (Civil War, Spanish, WWI, WWII, Vietnam) Media, library, railway, bed chamber, dining room, photography, music.
O’Brien County Tourism News
Heritage Park Hours September 2 are 1-3 p.m. First Sunday of each month April – October
Appointments Monday – Saturday Call 957-2581 or 757-5715 or 757-0011
O'Brien County doesn't differ from many other counties--there is history residents are proud of, and they share it with you. This sampling of the contents of Heritage Park may lead you to visit. If you visit with someone--a neighbor, kids, grandkids, a school class--you can share the items and the memories they will bring.
When I walk through the various buildings with their varied contents I want an explanation, a reason, and to understand how the items were practical, state of the art, advances in technology. For example, this old cast iron check printer is built like an anvil--who, back then, would think that a laser printer would someday replace that relic. How does that old printer work? How many checks would it print in an hour? How much effort is it to use? I'd like to explore these questions with a former user--but probably no one remains who has used it. I'd like to wonder about it with my grandchildren--and maybe explain something that I have used--while I can.
Yes, there are objects and there is information. These bound tax lists from the 1800's are available for research to bona fide users. They would be a lot of work to go through--not like a data base search of nowadays. But if you need the information, it may be here. Other records are archived in the Park: deed lists, microfilmed newspapers, treasure maps, etc. (true?)
Among those other documents are family bibles. Some just represent old printings of the bible, mostly in the King James Version. Some however do contain family genealogies. These are housed in the first building moved into Heritage Park, the Philby Church.
One of four stained glass windows on the north wall of the Philby Church. The windows were donated when the Reform Church on Washington Avenue in Sheldon was remodeled. Philby Church (also known as Baker Church) was built in 1903 and served a Methodist congregation until 1974 when it was given to the OCHS. It's good to talk to someone as you go through the Park--you might find out that the Philby Church was a Lutheran Church (before 1903?) and that it had a semicircular apse until a 1954 remodeling.
This home organ, in the church, was rebuilt by Johnny Klink in the 1970s. Although not known to have been played in the wedding that was held at the park, it could have been for it still plays. The chimes in the background came from the Philby Church. Come look around here for yourself.
Volunteer fire departments in the old days involved much more manpower than today. Here we see a hose reel with a tongue with a clevis as if it was meant to be hitched onto another vehicle, maybe the pumper. If you can, find an old firefighter or a history buff to bring along to explain it to you (and you can pass it on to us).
And speaking of needing manpower. Here is a two row planter (today a tractor drawn planter can do 24 rows at a time). How it was used: Two people operate this planter, one person drives the team (top) and the other swings the lever left at one mark and then right 42 inches further along. Notice the concave shape of the wheels - to help pack the earth properly over the seed. All told five people could do about 8 acres a day. Also in the picture is a later planter that replaced the lever operator with a trip wire. Wouldn't this be a great chance to visit with your kids and illustrate the meaning of manual labor and the importance of agriculture to us all.
This 1929 Ford does run. The Edwards family donated the car which formerly belonged to Mr. Klink, an uncle.
Many household items on display. Share with someone how the home was different "in the old days." And tools of all sorts -- amazing tools -- are on display.
Relate early TV experience (pre cable, in-common watching making for community shared experiences).
This is in the era of running water. Note ornate spigots. It was in the old Skee house at the site of the present day Catholic Church in Primghar.
The obligatory one room school is represented by Center Township #3 Rural School. It was moved to the park in 1976. It is furnished as it was in the early days.
Classes are held there occassionally by local schools. Here is a chance to be amazed at the way those small schools operated. The teacher was responsible for maintenance, cleaning, sweeping, warmth, nurse duties--everything. But that's a story for you to spin.
The O'Brien County Historical Society was first formed in 1941, but was dropped during World War II, and was re-established in 1970 by various clubs in the County. In 1973, by-laws were revised to establish the Society's status as a non-profit organization.
Heritage Park, in the center of the county, came into being by a gift of a plot of ground from Harold and Agnes Metcalf, former Primghar residents, of Fairmont, MN, in 1974. It has grown to 11 buildings since then.