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Historical Preservation Survey To Be Conducted

By Staff | Jun 5, 2008

Through a grant from the Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation and Iowa Lakes Resourced Conservation and Development, the West Bend Historical Society will be taking on a project of completing a survey of Palo Alto County’s historic resources

Sheriffa Jones, an architectural historian who works with the Iowa Lakes RC&D, has been hired by the West Bend Historical to manage this preservation survey effort. As the manager of the survey, Jones will survey all of the incorporated towns and communities in Palo Alto County. As part of the project, Iowa Lakes RC&D is being assisted in the survey by the Palo Alto County office of Iowa State University Extension and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency. The three organizations will cooperatively survey the rural, unincorporated areas of the county for historical features.

“With the changes taking place in rural landscapes, communities, and disappearing farmsteads and buildings, the project’s purpose is to create a data base that will help preserve the heritage and can be used as a historical record for the county,” Jones explained.

When the survey project is completed, the finished database will include a website listing the historic resources found during the survey, such as schools, churches and barns. As a result of this survey and website, it is the hope of the West Bend Historical Society and Iowa Lakes RC&D believe that tourism will increase in Palo Alto County with the knowledge supplied through the website. Then, through the increase in tourism, there will be a greater demand to implement preservation as an economic development strategy in the communities of the county.

The survey and resulting information will not only provide opportunities for tourism, but also for volunteerism and community involvement by area residents. Becoming involved in a historical renovation or restoration project is a great way for an individual or family to benefit their community in a positive manner. It is also a wonderful means to learn more about a community’s history and heritage.

Persons wanting more information on the survey or who are interested in volunteering in any aspect of the project are invited to contact Sheriffa Jones or Brittney Jepsen at Iowa Lakes RC&D at 712-262-2083 by June 16th. There will be a volunteer training workshop scheduled for a later date.