Back Print

The Decorah Historic Preservation Commission is looking for volunteers to research downtown Decorah.

Posted: Mon, Sep 7, 2015 7:46 PM

The Decorah Historic Preservation Commission is looking for volunteers to research downtown Decorah.

The Commission has received a $25,000 State of Iowa Historical Resource Development Project grant to support a National Register of Historic Places nomination for the downtown Decorah commercial district. The Commission has also received pledges for the required $6,500 matching funds.  Now the Commission is seeking volunteers to complete over 800 hours of research in the next 12 months.

According to Commission chair Mark Z. Muggli, "Volunteers do not need to be experienced researchers. They just have to have a few hours of extra time, a desire to learn about the buildings of downtown Decorah and the passion to help Decorah achieve this important cultural milestone."

Volunteers will be able to choose their area of focus, whether a single building, a city block, or a decade in the downtown's history. Commission member Diane Scholl noted the special importance of historic photographs that document the changes in each building's appearance.

Building owners may want to do research on their own properties.  "This would be an excellent time for owners to come forward and let us know about historical materials they might have on their buildings," said Commission member Susan Jacobsen.

Volunteers will receive any necessary orientation. All volunteers will be invited to take part in a workshop at the Decorah Public Library led by Iowa City researcher Jan Olive Full from 10:00 a.m. until noon Friday, September 25th, in the public meeting room on the library's lower level.

The proposed historic district will likely include the seven blocks of Water Street between the old Milwaukee Train Depot and the Vesterheim Museum, as well as the adjoining one-block sections of Washington, Winnebago, and Court Streets.

The Decorah Historic Preservation Commission is a Certified Local Government advisory body to the City. The Commission's current members are Sarah Frydenlund, Jody Holland, Susan Jacobsen, Judd Larson, Mary Hull Mohr, Mark Z. Muggli, and Diane Scholl.

Volunteers should contact Commission research coordinators Jody Holland at or (515) 344-0538 or Diane Scholl at or (563) 382-4802