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Display building for historical artifacts nearly complete



by Trinity Gruenberg

    A new building has appeared in McNair Park at the end of February. 

    A collaborative effort between the Verndale Historical Society (VHS) and the city of Verndale, with assistance from the Verndale Fire Department, made it possible to construct a display building to house a replica of the gristmill and water pumper fire truck.

    The gristmill was a vital part of establishing Verndale in the height of the wheat trade. The mill burned down and was rebuilt, powered by the Crow Wing River. The dam broke and essentially ended the mill. The Verndale Historical Society created a replica of the historic building. 

    The fire truck was the first water pumper truck acquired by the Verndale Fire Department.  

    Neither of these objects had a place to be displayed. The VHS approached the city with an idea to have a display building in the park.

    “We wanted a prominent place to display them,” said VHS Treasurer Bill Hess. 

    The city gave the VHS their blessing. Between fundraisers and member donations, they raised most of the $27,000 to construct the building. The Verndale Fire Department donated the time and materials to pour the cement foundation. JR Construction donated a day’s worth of labor during the construction of the building which only took a few days. 

    They received a $1000 grant from Todd/Wadena Electric through Operation Round Up to put towards the project, but they are still $3000 short to finish the interior of the building. 

    Inside, they plan to have motion activated lights that will turn on when someone approaches the building to view the gristmill replica and the fire truck. 

    “In the future, we would like to have an interactive board,” said Hess.

    Once the interior is finished, the items will be moved inside for all to view. 

    If you wish to donate to the project, donations can be mailed to the Verndale Historical Society, 17460 County Road 7, Verndale, MN 56481.

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