Issue Number 2February 21, 2002
The Brick Board Bugle
Herriman Mansion website: http://freepages.history.rootsweb.com/~herrimanmansion/index.html
This is the second issue of what I hope will continue to be a regular newsletter to help inform the friends and supporters of the proposed Herriman Mansion project about its progress. This "bugle" will "toot" about whatever seems to be significant about the action to preserve the Herriman Mansion, commonly referred to as "The Brick"
My son, who is maintaining the website, recently referred to it as "The Brickboard Jungle". I sometimes feel that is where the project is stalled but do hope with the support of enough interested individuals it will become less of a "jungle" and we will have a pleasant tune to sound with this "bugle" (newsletter).
The efforts currently under way to help move the project along include the following: Ed Gage is having the Illyria-Wadena Community Betterment Association charter revised to allow tax-deductible donations to be made. It is my understanding that the association will serve as an interim conduit, or umbrella, to allow The Brick Board or similar committee type structure to function in the near-term. Ed has been functioning as the interim local area coordinator for this group. The project needs to function with local Wadena area leadership to have the most influence and success. I need to move away from being the focal point; however, I plan to continue my support of the effort from my home in California where I can.
Another significant task that is underway is research and construction of a title history from abstracts and deeds for the Herriman property. The effort that Tex Heyer and his associate Jan are undertaking is of significant importance to the project and the effort to get the property added to the National Register of Historic Places. Jan hopes to have some time to do some more work on this effort in March.
I am currently collecting the information needed to prepare an application to be considered by the Iowa State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) at the state level. We have a Certification Of Eligibility so the application, with proper documentation, should be approved at the state level to be forwarded to the National level.
To date, the other planned volunteer assistance with some of this research has not materialized.
Janell Bradley had promoted my idea of restoring the Herriman Mansion in an article published in the Fayette Leader on September 26, 2001. It has been promoted in writing by others in the past; however, I hope the overall outcome from this article and other promotional efforts is to make the proposed project known to more people and gain some enthusiastic supporters. I did mentioned a letter from a lady in Hazleton in the first newsletter. The original edition released had erroneously said it included a copy of an article about her father. It should have said her grandfather. Also, I had misspelled the first name of Mr. Thore Thompson, the farmer near Wadena., who assisted her grandfather in getting started farming in the 1930s.
In early December I received another letter, this one from a Bertha Schuchmann from Arlington, Iowa. Bertha's great-great-aunt, Matt Guin Herriman, was the first wife of Jessie Herriman, the son of Major David B. Herriman who was a co-founder of what is now the IMT Insurance Company. Bertha has written a book "Remember Mee" about some of her ancestors and their descendants. These are examples of the rich rural history that is related to the Wadena area and the Herriman Mansion. This book can be ordered from Bertha. Write to her for a brochure at: 3552 80th Street, Arlington, IA 50606. Here is the cover from Bertha's book:
As stated in the first issue of this newsletter, publicity on the activities of the local committee and individuals supporting the project is needed. Also, the importance of the Herriman Mansion and the status of the progress being made on the project needs to be frequently displayed before the local community. Interestingly, on February 20th I received a phone call from Orlan Lobe, a Northeast Iowa reporter for the Cedar Rapids Gazette. He said he has driven by the Herriman Mansion many times and is interested in doing an article on the restoration project when the timing is right.
Laverne Swenson continues to be a rich source of ideas and suggestions. Kim Tschudy from Wisconsin, has also been quite supportive and interested in the Herriman Mansion project. He has certainly provided important moral support for the near-term. I look forward to his continued involvement.
Dean Schwarz, Decorah, Iowa, is the man mentioned in the previous newsletter who had looked at the Herriman Mansion with the thought of restoring it. He is a professional potter and, as I later learned, an avid writer of family history. While his book Paddled Tails from Tattled Tales: An Autobiography of a Family, an intriguing collection of family stories, is fascinating reading it probably has little direct relationship to this project; however, I believe he could be a real asset to the project because of his interest in preserving history and historical properties such as the Herriman Mansion.
In early December William Frank Probert of Los Olivos, CA, formerly of Wadena, sent me a package of material he had received from the heirs of Bess Tschantz when she died in Phoenix a few years ago. Bess, also a former Wadena resident, had saved newspaper articles on the Herrimans and the mansion over the years. This package has been and will continue to be very beneficial to my research and for the website material on the project.
Herriman Mansion - About 1949
Herriman Mansion website
My son, Vipal Prem, has established an interim website on RootsWeb. A permanent website with its own domain name is to be considered as the project matures. Your feedback will help with the refinement of this website and the later development of the permanent site. From the Herriman Mansion restoration project website there are links to two on-line photo album websites which show the condition of the mansion and provide other visual and textual information that offers possibilities for the preservation and use of the property for public benefit. I have also placed a page on the Newspapers of Fayette County Online website and items on two community websites with links to our RootsWeb site. (URLs on first page next to the drawing.)
Thanks To Supporters
Many thanks to Ed Gage who has been serving as the focal point in the Wadena area and to Allen Knox who has provided some additional valuable contacts.
The application for addition to the National Register of Historic Places has to be a priority task. I have not made any significant progress other than gathering much more data for use in this effort. Hiring a professional to assure a quality product is probably the optimum approach but funds are needed. This application is very important step in the march toward being listed on the National Register. While some funding is available with the Certification of Eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places we now have, listing is necessary to be eligible for much of the private and government funding that is available.
Another near-term task is doing some stabilization of the property to prevent or minimize further deterioration. Kim Tschudy had suggested covering the leaking roofs with tarps. This would involve a significant expense and would require the approval of the property owner. No action has been accomplished on this item.
The important near-term task of entering into some form of discussions and negotiations with the property owner, Mr. Eldon Lenth, has been stalled as I have not been able to make contact with him. We need to get an agreement on the property being available for the purpose of preservation as a historic property. I would be open to suggestions, comments, or offers of support on this or any of the other near-term tasks.
Next Issue of the Bugle
I plan for another issue to be out in late April or early May. Any suggestions or inputs including material to be included can be sent to my new email address.
Previous Issues of the Brick Board Bugle