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Friday, Mar. 6, 2015

Historical society up-date

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I have been unable to visit our Marcus Historical Society--Reed Center for quite some time so it was a real pleasure when I was able to go there recently and see how nicely things are falling into place.

The building it self, which was once a Lutheran church, has an aura of earlier days about it, which aids your transition from present to past the moment you step inside. First, you see the plaque honoring Carl and Hazel Reed.

They are the couple whose family, led by younger son Bob and wife, Maxine of Orlando, FL, gave the initial bequest enabling the Society to buy the building and transform it. Mr. Reed was the local station agent so a railroad ticket window, made from wood from the two old Marcus depots is appropriately located near their portraits in the entrance area.

The contents of the building are fascinating, and so are the stories of the dedicated folks who have labored long and tirelessly to turn a dream into reality. They are doing this with skill and care, preserving the past they love.

The sanctuary had been divided into Sunday school rooms many years ago, so they were ready to accommodate the divisions of memorabilia now being accumulated. It is a policy of the Society, in most every instance, to accept only things, which have a direct Marcus connection. These materials may either be donated or loaned, and a record of the exact status of each acquisition is meticulously kept.

Now I would like to introduce you to a few of the rooms. One of the first is devoted to legendary physician, Michael Francis Joynt, a native of Emmetsburg. He established his practice immediately following his graduation from the University of Iowa Medical School in 1910, and continued here until his retirement fifty-five years later. His doctor's bag, the one in which he "delivered" 3,300 babies, as well as the log book in which he kept a record of those births, are there.

The Church and Centennial Room contains many fascinating things from local churches, as well as objects relating to the celebration of our Centennial Year in 1971. Half of a nearby room is devoted to Armed Forces uniforms from our nation's many conflicts. The other half holds trophies and uniforms of the softball teams. The men's team was the Marcus Merchants, and there was a women's team in the 1940's, called the Red Wings. There is also a huge scrapbook containing all of the accounts of the Marcus Merchants' games over their many memorable seasons.

The Sewing Room, which every woman will love to examine, displays a fine old treadle sewing machine, a dress form and many other dressmaking accessories, as well as a great collection of children's toys. The Kitchen Room is of equal fascination. Displays include a collection of wooden utensils, old cook books, pots and pans, coffee-making devices, early toasters and more. Admiration for our foremothers' fortitude increases at every turn.

Just as I suspected, there is material here for much more than a single column. So I will tell you next week of some of the remarkable folks who are making all of this happen. My goal is to arouse your interest sufficiently for you to come see the Marcus Historical Society--Reed Center for yourselves!