Buena Vista Historical Museum

214 West 5th Street
Storm Lake, IA 50588


About Us:

A group of women met on March 15, 1960, at the home of Mrs. Bennett Marshall to form an organization to stimulate interest in the heritage of Storm Lake, and to generate action for its preservation. Miss Inez Young, city librarian, told of receiving numerous inquiries from people who had items of historic value which they wished to preserve and exhibit. The need for a society to organize this effort and to establish a center to exhibit historical artifacts became clear.

It appeared certain that public awareness of an organization dedicated to collecting and protecting these items would result in a welcome and generous response. And so it proved. Meetings continued throughout the summer with increased interest and participation countywide. An organizational meeting was set for September 29, 1960 in the Little Theater, Buena Vista College.

Due to capable planning, this meeting records a signal achievement in parliamentary action: articles of incorporation (the work of Wendell Edson) accepted and signed; a three-year slate of officers and revolving board of Directors elected; and an ambitious program of committee-action in place. The new officers were Basil Rice, president; Miss Inez Young, vice-president; Mrs. Luther Johnson, secretary; and Mrs. Walter Luhmann, treasurer.

The first major gift to the society was the donation of the Prairie Log Home by Mr. and Mrs. Oscar "Ossie" Anderson of Rembrandt. As the society flourished, and the need for display space became critical, the city library prepared to move from the old Carnegie library building to new quarters. The Society arranged a lease with the city to use the Carnegie building as its primary museum to house our collections.

When space again was needed, the need was met through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Melander of Alta, who donated the old Ford building at 214 West 5th Street. This is now our main museum. The Elk Township county school house was acquired in 1996, and is now located in Sunrise Park along the northeast shore of Storm Lake.

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