Newtown-Avoca Historical Society & Sweet Vale of Avoca Museum
Photos of Current Happenings . . . (Lastest Photos on Page 3)
When the west branch of the West Nishnabotna River in Pottawattamie County Iowa gets angry you know you need to be prepared for the worst. (March 13, 2019)
Back at the Avoca Museum Dr. Roy Schultz's Himalayan Tahr taken in New Zealand is "high and dry."
Not so much so for all the animals on the green carpeted floor. They were in for a move to "higher ground."
Tops of sturdy items, tables, display cabinets, whatever we could find, were all used to give a bit more safety to various Museum items.
Could there possibly be a bed with our collection of beautiful quilts underneath this stack of boxes?
The mannequins might get wet feet, but their long dresses will be high and dry!
We believe the river has crested by noon on March 14th. This is the water on the south side of the Museum in the morning.
We are so fortunate that the Museum was built on raised ground.
This view is the northwest corner of the Museum where you can see how much water surrounded our Museum. In Avoca's Flood of 1993, water actually came into the Museum.
Around 11:30 a.m. on March 15th, Mary Pearson snapped the following pictures of the Newtown Country School at Edgington Park. Notice all the debris from the fields that the sign has stopped. (This flood water would be from the east branch of the West Nishnabotna River.)
Quite a bit of erosion is visible around the east end of the steps that lead up to the front door of the schoolhouse.
There was some minor erosion to both the northeast and northwest corners of the schoolhouse, this being the northeast corner. Happy to report that no water entered the building!
The following three photos were taken by Mary Pearson at the Octagon Building at Graceland Cemetery in Avoca on March 22, 2019. The windows have been removed for restoration.
Restoration expert Terry Philips told Mary that the trim around the windows was put in with square nails indicating that windows were not removed whenever the mullions (grilles) were replaced, with replacement being from the inside.
Coverings in place while the windows are being restored off-site.
Special THANKS to Nancy Collins who gave a very informative program at the Avoca Museum on April 14, 2019 titled "Getting Your Stuff Together"!
Among other things, Nancy delved into the question, "What happens after death?"
Attention was directed to "What happens if you become incapacitated?"
A nice-sized crowd of around thirty individuals were in attendance at the Avoca Museum April 14th.
Nancy spoke to a very attentive audience who went home with new thoughts to consider and also reinforcement of old knowledge!
April 18, 2019 the electricians began the process of changing out the Museum's old flourescent lights for led panels. First area of lights worked on was the south side since after the flood we decided to put in new carpet before putting the animal floor displays back in place. Note the coloring of...
Electrician Allan Sievers removes old flourescent bulbs.
Ty Johnk works on removing the old flourescent panel.
Looking down the south wall with Doc Shultz's animal collection after the new carpet and floor exhibits have been put in place - May 2, 2019.
Doc Roy Schultz Sheep Grand Slam exhibit.
Gearing up for Avoca's 150th celebration by displaying some Centennial dresses and bonnets from 1969. These three were made by Iva Marie Holtz and worn by her three daughters.
TIME to dig up the 1969 buried Time Capsule in preparation for Avoca's 150th celebration in July. The digging happened June 7, 2019. Here's the empty hole and marker.
Part-time city employee John Butcher empties a bucket of dirt into the hole.
Not all work is done by machine, so John takes shovel in hand . . .
. . . And here you see the huge 1969 Time Capsule!!!! What could be inside?? Find out when the contents are displayed July 4th from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and July 5th from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the United Church of Avoca during the 150th celebration.
Aren't these "Selfie Stations" about the coolest you have ever seen? Thanks to AHSTW art teacher Katie Clark and some of her art students, the stations are ready to be moved from the school to storage to await their use during Avoca's 150th celebration in July. Special thanks to Avoca's Rotary Clu...
Avoca 150th Committee members John Butcher and J Pearson chose June 17, 2019 to remove the 1969 Time Capsule from its cement culvert. Here they are beginning the process of knocking away the cement with sledge hammers.
City employees Mike Petersen and Drew Becker assist by helping cut the reinforcement wire in the cement around the Time Capsule.
After much breaking away of the cement and clipping the wires, the blue Time Capsule begins to be exposed.
J Pearson, Mike Petersen, and Drew Becker take a break as John Butcher examines the Time Capsule. The Time Capsule was made of heavy galvanized sheet metal with a blue fiberglass covering.
John Butcher uses an electric grinder with cut-off wheel to cut the end off the Time Capsule while J Pearson holds it steady.
John Butcher is excited to see one of the envelopes was for descendants of his old neighbors Ronald & Ivy Sutton. Mary Pearson holds some of the envelopes from the Time Capsule while J Pearson reaches in for more. Drew Becker and Mike Petersen look on.
Paper in Time Capsule which stated that the final sealing was by Gerrit Feekes, Greg Feekes, and Lawrence Carroll "Best Sheet Metal Men State of Iowa." Other names on the paper were Marie Feekes, Julie Feekes, and Larry Feekes.
Written on the metal inside the Time Capsule was "Built by Garrett Feekes & Lyle Peters April 6, 1969." Other names inside the capsule were Al Nielsen and L. Carroll.
July 2, 2019 with progress being made at the Octagon Prayer Chapel. Plywood is out of the windows, and painting is happening.
From the outside looking in as restoration expert Terry Philips applies some gray paint to the inside of a window.
The "Master" at work trying to get the windows in for Avoca's Sesquicentennial festivities starting July 3, 2019.
The 1938 Avoca Fire Truck gets ready for the July 4th, 2019 Parade!!
This detail leaves no doubt that this is a 1938 model used by the Avoca Volunteer Fire Department!!
Neat License Plate Topper crafted locally by Campbell's Welding.
Updated photo after Terry Philips left the Octagon Building after the renovated windows are set in place. Now his next project is to repair the windows above the two entry doors.
What an amazing transformation with these renovated windows in our Octagon Prayer Chapel at the Avoca Cemetery.
The 1938 Avoca Volunteer Fire Truck is ready for the public to view on the last day of Avoca’s 150th Sesquicentennial celebration on July 6, 2019.
The Historical Society offered Trolley rides around historic Avoca on July 5, 2019 during Avoca’s Sesquicentennial celebration.
The last Trolley ride of the day arrives back at the boarding place at the Courthouse. Would you believe EVERY trip out was a “full house” of interested spectators?
Historical Society member Julie Miller Young was an extremely knowledgeable guide on some of the trips into the community . . .
Bob & Barb Brown's daughters Wanda and Janet shared an amazing program at the Avoca Museum on July 14, 2019 as they "took us with them" on their trip to Thailand.
Wanda Schuler and Janet Graham talking about their experience in Thailand with a beautiful photo on the screen in the background. Of special note would be the flowers painted on Wanda's pant leg while in Thailand. She said it maybe took 5 minutes for the person to paint it.
Janet and Wanda pose with Avoca resident Leo Bargenquast who has also been to Thailand. He was able to answer some questions they asked him during their presentation.
At the end of the Thailand presentation, Bill Johnson shared a brass utensil set from Thailand that was made from used military brass salvaged in Vietnam after that war. (Leo Bargenquast, Bob Brown, and Janet Graham view the set.)
A drive by the Newtown/Avoca Historical Society's Memory Garden on July 18, 2019 showed lots of pretty flowers in bloom now. This main sign was donated in memory of Ivan Troll and Mr/Mrs Carl Noller.
Here's a nice view of the gazebo and one of the brick pathways leading to it.
Lucky horseshoes draw the eye to the lilies in the background.
Even with the excessively hot weather, the flowers just seemed to pop with their striking colors . . .
August 18, 2019 was a special program of photos and information about the 1969 Time Capsule presented by Time Capsule Committee member John Butcher. Here Mary Pearson reads the very entertaining letter from a 12-year-old that was in the Capsule.
Members from the Historical Society and the community visit about items in the Time Capsule.
The 1938 Fire Truck belonging to the Historical Society was entered in the Masonic Lodge Car Show on September 8, 2019 at Edgington Park.
It was entered in Category T which was Trucks - Stock, 1954 and Older.
John Butcher holds the first place trophy the 1938 Fire Truck received!
The sign says it all!
September 15, 2019 found Joyce True and family sharing with the community the amazing wood carvings of her late husband Bill True.
Perhaps you have noticed this amazing wood carving when you have signed the guest book at the Avoca Museum?
Mary Pearson visits with Joyce True about some of the intricate details of some of Bill's carvings. In the right of the photo are Bill's first carving (tall Native American) and last carving (mid-sized Native American).
The humor in Bill's carvings was very evident!
The detail was mind boggling!
One more example for you to see. If you weren't there, you missed a "once-in-a-lifetime" treat!
Visitors enjoying socializing after viewing the carvings.
September 24, 2019 was the day the Time Capsule Committee chose to bury the 2019 capsule.
John Butcher and J Pearson return 1969 items and new items to the 2019 Time Capsule. Being placed in this photo are several envelopes from various families to their descendants to be opened in 2069!
John uses the city backhoe to dig the hole for the 2019 Time Capsule at the courtyard in the same place where the 1969 capsule was buried.
2019 Time Capsule with a few notes and autographs . . . ready to be buried!
J helps direct the capsule as John operates the levers.
. . . almost to its final resting place . . .
John and J ready for the final touches setting the capsule stone in place.
THE OLD MUSEUM SIGN has seen its better days so is being replaced. Last view of it in place in front of the Sweet Vale of Avoca Museum on October 6, 2019.
This whole part of the sign was buried in cement and was quite a chore to remove.
Next the lilac bushes were destined to be moved.
John Butcher ready to take the lilac bushes to the Memory Garden.
The lone item left in the triangle now is the light pole. Next task will be the removal of dirt and pouring of concrete before the new sign is put in place.
October 8, 2019 J Pearson, Larry Petersen, and Devin Datus put new down spouts on the northeast and northwest corners of the Newtown School at Edgington Memorial Park.
Ty Johnk with Sievers Electric of Walnut is back October 9, 2019 to continue the work of replacing our old "yellow" lights with new LEDs. Wait to see the change there will be in viewing our displays with the new lights!!
A second day, October 10, 2019 and Ty Johnk continues with the task of replacing the light panels.
October 20, 2019 found a good crowd of community members gathering at the Museum to listen as Julie Miller guided those in attendance "down memory lane."
Herb Rock shares details and what he remembers about the 1937 incident where Night Watch George Barker shot WPA worker Robert Moore who didn't want his home quarantined.
Sandy Petersen relates a story told by Todd VanBeck about a "dead body found in a bathtub" . . .
Everyone seems quite attentive to the old photos being shared on the screen. We thank all those who came and especially those who shared their stories and comments!! What a fun afternoon!!
November 8, 2019 was a chilly fall day but John Butcher and helper Roger Heilig ordered cement from Stowe Red-E-Mix to pour the sidewalk in the Museum triangle.
The cement in the triangle beginning the drying process.
November 23, 2019 Larry Ploen and John Butcher begin the process of erecting the new sign at the Museum by determining the placement for the anchor brackets.
John Butcher and Larry Ploen get the triangular framework in place with supporting horizontal braces for the three sign panels.
John Butcher and Larry Ploen square up one of the panels before it is permanently attached to the framework.
A view of the completed sign with the panel that would be viewed from the south approach.
An amazing surprise was seeing the rock and brickwork done surrounding the Octagon Building at the Avoca Cemetery when driving past there November 25, 2019!
Closeup of the plaque by the Octagon Building telling of it being on the National Register of Historic Places. November 25, 2019.
Thought you might like to see the 2019 Time Capsule plaque which arrived December 20th. It will compliment the 1969 plaque on the rock in the courtyard.
Guess who was at the Museum February 11, 2020? No other than Allan Sievers of Sievers Electric of Walnut finishing up the change-over from flourescent light to LEDs!
Allan's helper Jason removes old flourescent bulbs before removing the old light panel. Mary Pearson assists.
These two side-by-side photos show the difference in lighting if you compare same things. For instance, the research center in the upper photo to the research center in the lower photo. See how much lighter it is. Even look at the coloring in the tables in the two photos. (Courtesy of Mary Pears...
In this closeup of the research center, note that we have moved lights directly over the table which really lights up the area so much!! Stop by and see what a remarkable difference the LED lights are making throughout the Museum!
It's about time I caught you up with the Octagon Prayer Chapel . . . Here's updated photos after Terry Philips had completed the two windows above the two doors earlier this fall. Photos taken February 14, 2020.
This photo is of the Prayer Chapel from the south looking north.
As you can see, the windows above the north door and the south door look identical. Here's a closer photo of the south window.
AHSTW School employee Josh Peterson delivers several pieces saved from the old Avoca school to the Sweet Vale of Avoca Museum on March 6, 2020.
Pieces saved for a future project remembering the "old school" . . .
The large 1925 cornerstone from the "old school."
March 11, 2020 sun set adding a light to the window at the Octagon Prayer Chapel at Graceland Cemetery.
Gary Collins showing some of his World War II memorabilia to Jim Hansen after his interesting presentation at the Museum on March 15, 2020. Bill Johnson views other items from Gary's collection.
Gary Collins talking about his "Collins & Co." saddle made in Omaha, Nebraska.
A nice crowd gathered to hear Collins' history, including Gary telling about this painting of which the family at one time owned the original.
May 1, 2020 finds perfect spring weather for John Butcher to prepare to get the Sesquicentennial Time Capsule plaque set in place.
Plaque in place with security measures while the construction adhesive bonds.
May 3, 2020 new look for the Time Capsule still located in the courtyard.
Remember back in October 2019 when the lilac bushes were dug up and removed from in front of the Museum? Well, here they are May 3, 2020 showing great signs of life in the Memory Garden!!
In fact, I even saw this grouping of buds that look like they want to bloom . . .
September 1, 2020. After no monthly meetings of the Newtown-Avoca Historical Society since COVID-19 started, we finally got together around the firepit for an evening of cooking out and socializing.
Closer photo of members and guests enjoying a beautiful evening at the Museum!
March 6, 2021. Avoca has a beautiful city park named Edgington Memorial Park on old highway 83 east of town - address is 800 East High Street.
Layout of Edgington Memorial Park from the Pottawattamie County Assessor's website.
Gracing Edgington Memorial Park is this beautiful American Flag display donated in Loving Memory of Collette DeSchamp Guyer, May 1, 1959 - September 27, 2019.
Memorial plaque on one of the landscaping rocks at the foot of the flagpole.
Neighboring town of Shelby celebrated 150 years (plus one) with a parade on June 26, 2021. The Historical Society entered a float congratulating Shelby and also advertising the June/July Quilt Show at the Sweet Vale of Avoca Museum. (Courtesy Mary Pearson)
The Float Committee putting some last minutes touches on the float before parade time. (Courtesy Mary Pearson)
Float Committee and helpers pose for a picture as parade time draws near: Sandy Petersen, Ty Lewis, Cash Kaiser, Sabrina Lewis, John, Yvonne, & Iver Engesser, and Jenna Lewis. (Courtesy Mary Pearson)
The Flag of the United States of America greeted the parade entries as they headed up Main Street for the July 4th, 2021 parade!
The Float Committee and riders ready for the parade -- Arla Pickham, Colleen Sulley, Lydia & Katie Clark, Mary Pearson, Ty Lewis, John Butcher.
The other side of the float -- John Butcher, Ty Lewis, Mary Pearson, Jenna & Sabrina Lewis, Yvonne & Iver Engesser, Mason Clark, John Engesser.
Our neighboring town of Walnut celebrated their Sesquicentennial on July 31st. Wishing Walnut congratulations and riding on the Society's float in their parade were Katie & Lydia Clark, Sandy Petersen, Mary Pearson and Mason Clark.
The Sweet Vale of Avoca Museum got new gutters installed on November 8, 2021. Here the installer is working on the north side of the Museum. (Courtesy Mary Pearson)
A look at the new gutters from the top, with the maintenance staff looking forward to no more "cleaning gutters"! (Courtesy Mary Pearson)
November 21, 2021 found us giving a presentation on the meaning of the 13 folds when a flag is folded. J Pearson and Brian Lewis from the American Legion did the presentation.
Brian making one of the early folds . . .
The next fold will come onto the blue field.
J tucks in the last edge with stars uppermost reminding us of our national motto, "In God We Trust."
Brian hands the properly folded triangular "pillow" to J.
Visitors to the Museum to view various military uniforms in our collection included Barb Schueman along with her granddaughter Abigail Plymale and daughter Roxanne Plymale. They are posing with Diz Schueman's uniform they had donated earlier this year.
American Legion member Bill Dea posed for a picture beside his dad's (Dick Dea) Navy uniform.
Donations to the Sweet Vale of Avoca Museum include various items of Miss America 1974 Rebecca Ann King. This dress is the one Rebecca wore when she was crowned Miss Colorado 1973. In the photograph she is wearing the dress she wore when she was crowned Miss America 1974.
A group of individuals from the O'Neill, NE area participated in a "Mystery Bus Tour" that brought them to the Avoca, IA Courthouse and Sweet Vale of Avoca Museum! (Courtesy Mary Pearson)
The "Mystery Tour" group pose with the Judge's Bench in the Courthouse. (Courtesy Mary Pearson)
Individuals from the "Mystery Tour" assume different roles during their courthouse tour! (Courtesy Mary Pearson) SPECIAL THANKS to tour guides Mary & J Pearson, Sandy Petersen, Arla Pickham and Barbara Butcher!
In this album you will find photographs of current things/happenings we hope you will find interesting about our Society. Keep checking back to see if we have added more photos!