Hillsboro Historical Society preserves city?s treasurers

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BY JULIE ANDERSON
The Hillsboro Historical Society works to maintain the heritage of Hillsboro. The 12-member board is involved in a number of events throughout year, providing people with the opportunity to learn more about Hillsboro?s history.

The group meets once a month and stays busy throughout the year with projects and activities.

?We want to preserve the unique history of Hillsboro and educate people about the history,? said Peggy Goertzen, society chair.

The society currently is raising funds to develop a Werderhaus, which is a uniquely designed house built by Mennonites a century ago in Poland. The replica will serve as a visitors? center and an area to display and store artifacts.

Goertzen said they would like to display historical transportation items on the lower floor and would like to be able to rotate the exhibits.

The society also is looking at moving in and restoring the Heinrich Bartel stone house, currently located on the Glen Kliewer farm north of Hillsboro. The limestone house was built in the 1870s.

?This would reflect the stone quarrying era of our history,? Goertzen said. ?We don?t have any particular items from that time.?

This project would be possible in part because of money donated from the Bartel family.

The historical society recently completed work on the Friesen Mill and now has a $15,000 endowment in place to maintain it.

Each year, the group participates in different activities throughout the year, including the Hillsboro Folk Festival, an annual dinner, the Arts & Crafts Fair and the Schaeffler Open House.

?The activities draw a lot of people from all over,? Goertzen said. ?There are some people really interested in seeing where their forebearers came from.?

This year?s fund-raiser will be held March 16 at the Parkview Activity Center. The speaker will be Kansas Secretary of State Ron Thornburg and Lonn Richards will provide the musical entertainment.

The group also is responsible for managing historical properties.

In the future, Goertzen would like to see more room to display their artifacts. Now they have to rent storage units to keep things in while they are not on display.

?You want to properly take care of things,? Goertzen said.

Recently, the historical society was given a collection of bank memorabilia from Emprise Bank.

Funding for the group comes from the city and fund-raising. The city pays the salaries for the historical society staff. Board members raise funds for their activities and projects.

Funds are raised by selling gift items and historical books, as well as money from the annual activities the group is involved in.

Members of the society include Goertzen; Ray Funk, vice chair; Morene Fisher, secretary; Carolyn Winter, treasurer; Jim Peters, Cari Garbo, Willis Ensz, Holly Nickel, Peni Ens, Glenn Goertz and Richard Wall. David Wiebe is the museum curator and Verden Harms and Kermit Ratzlaff are assistants.

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