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Historic preservation commission needing old photos of downtown area

Pictures must be turned in to Osceola Historic Preservation Commission by Monday.

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014 10:15 a.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014 10:16 a.m. CST

A last call is being issued for old pictures of Osceola’s downtown area.

Osceola Historic Preservation Commission is needing the pictures for an intensive survey and evaluation.

“We’re finishing up our research work,” said Ann Diehl with Osceola Historic Preservation Commission. “I’ve had 10 or 12 people … researching old newspapers for businesses that might have moved in and out of the downtown buildings. It’s an intensive study of the downtown business district.”

Grant money

Last year, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) awarded $91,051 to 12 Iowa cities and counties to support historic preservation programs.

Osceola received $11,702 in grant funding.

The grant awards are from DCA’s certified local government program, a partnership between local, state and national governments focused on promoting historic preservation at the local level.

Osceola Historic Preservation Commission will undertake an intensive survey of its downtown, documenting historical and architectural significance of local buildings.

The project will also determine whether Osceola’s downtown area is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Many of the buildings in the town’s square are from the 1870s to the 20th century.

“To be on the historic register, you can’t just be a grand old building or a beautiful, beautiful old house,” Diehl said. “There has to be something important — either somebody important was in there, somebody did something important for the town or an important act (happened).”

There has been more than 450 hours of research donated by volunteers for this project, so far.

Still needed

Diehl said many old pictures, snapshots or other images are still needed for the project.

The survey area goes around the square and a half-block from each corner of the square. Pictures should be taken from the 1960s and older.

“We have a lot of Main Street (but) that doesn’t mean we don’t want anymore,” Diehl said. “We have a lot of them because there tends to be a lot of postcards taken.”

Diehl said she wanted to remind people to check old scrapbooks. Pictures don’t necessarily need to have the building be the main focus of the image.

Diehl said old pictures could be of a parade or a relative with a building in the background.

Osceola Historic Preservation Commission needs the pictures in by Monday. They can be turned into Diehl or Ed Stoll.

“We’d rather have too many pictures than not enough,” Diehl said.

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