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On Aug. 8, Helen and I attended the Town Builders program at the Historical Society Visitors Center. The program on the early businesses in Kalona was well attended. Much of the information was about the early hardware stores, doctors, saloons, that dated to before Kalona was incorporated in 1879.
Charles Berryhill, portrayed by Trent Yoder, told of how he purchased tracts of land that had been given to soldiers for fighting in various wars. He purchased the 40-acre parcels at a very low price and made a fortune selling the land in and around Kalona. You might check the abstract of your home or business to see if he might have been the original owner.
A hat was passed at the end of the event and around $300 was raised.
Streetscape project chair Janet Ferry is planning another Town Builders program to feature businesses that were started in the 1890’s including The Kalona News, banks, funeral homes, etc. If you have any information about any of the early Kalona businesses, be sure to get in touch with Janet Ferry or the Kalona Historical Village Visitors Center at 656-3232.
Where has the summer gone?
It seems like only yesterday that Helen and I were expecting the arrival of our two grandchildren, Mason, 11, and Ryann, 7, from Georgia while their parents, Scott and Brandi Slechta, were preparing for a move into a new home. They questioned if we really wanted them for three weeks, but we assured them that although we were 75 years old, we’d enjoy having Mason and Ryann.
And we survived.
The two certainly lightened up their grandparent’s home at 816 10th Street. Thanks for the help from Beryl’s three children, Camden, 16; Emily, 14; and Eva, 11; things really went well.
We had the luxury of having the Shiloh fireworks and the Wellman 4th of July parade the first week. They made a very good haul of candy at the parade, but then the problem was keeping them from eating too much candy the rest of the time here.
The second week; was highlighted by a Bible camp at Kalona City Park.
The Kalona Public Library really was of a big assistance with their variety of children’s activities. The summer reading activities sponsored by Hills Bank & Trust Co., was very much enjoyed by Eva, Mason and Ryann. They also enjoyed being able to check out books to take home.
Just about every day we seemed to windup with a stop at Yotty’s Ice Cream shop. Mason also enjoyed being able to go to the Kalona Elementary School grounds to shoot baskets, at least until they were removed the last week he was here. The playgrounds at the Kalona Elementary School and Kalona City Park were also well utilized.
One day we took five of our grandchildren to Adventureland. All five had a great time. Helen and I really appreciated the security and safety of the Adventureland grounds. We were able to relax and let the grand kids roam the park freely and enjoy the variety of rides. The older ones made sure the two younger ones were under control while their grandparents hung out so we could be of assistance when needed. I offered to go on the Monster with Emily, but she kindly told me the seats were too small for me!
Adventureland is a real asset for Iowa. We had hoped to get them to the Washington County Fair, but it was just too hot and we just got too busy.
After Mason and Ryann went back to Georgia to enjoy their new home in Buford, I resumed volunteering at the Kalona Chamber of Commerce office. Visitors to Kalona this week included people from The Netherlands, Australia, Sweden, India, Denmark, Chile, Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Virginia, Indiana, Illinois Missouri, Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, Alabama, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Hawaii, Colorado as well as from all across Iowa.
Not everyone visiting the Chamber office is a tourist. Some are looking for antique stores, fabric shops, quilt shops, etc. Last week there were a couple of gentleman from the Quad Cities looking for places in Kalona for their wives to shop when they bring their antique car club to visit Kalona.
A number of people staying at the campgrounds in the Amanas made a day trip to Kalona.
One couple from Virginia made Iowa the final state to visit in their quest of visiting all 50 sates. They had spent the previous night at Ethel’s Gourmet Bed and Breakfast and were quite impressed with that as well as the Kalona community. They had visited other Amish areas so they didn’t have a lot of questions about the Amish on the ByWays tours, but they did return to visit some of the tours again as well as stores in Kalona.
Work has finally begun on tearing down the Community building to make way for the new facility. City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh estimates that it will be 10 to 12 months before the new center opens. Meanwhile the Y activities have been moved to the old Performance Therapy building in Bulltowne Mall.
It is good to hear that the Amish are recycling much of the materials from the old Community Building. Some of the hardwood flooring in the gym will be repurposed and some of it may be used in the Kalona school section of the new Streetscape building on the Kalona Historical Village grounds.