On November 19, 2022, at a noon Rotary meeting, the Clay County Historic Preservation Commission (CCHPC) presented four preservation awards. Before the awards were presented, the attendees learned about the CCHPC. The mission of the CCHPC is to promote, advise, and educate residents of Clay County, SD about the importance of preserving historical sites by:
This year’s awards fell under one category: Long-term preservation and renovation of a structure by individuals or organizations. In addition, a special recognition award was given to Evelyn Schlenker for Preservation advocacy and documentation.
The Historic Burbank School #10
The first award lauded the preservation of the Historic Burbank School #10, a structure that was constructed in 1910 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The group that has worked hard to preserve the structure is the Burbank Historical School District #10 and Park Association that was represented at the ceremony by Linda Hawley and Rebecca Kruse.
The Association has held multiple, successful fundraising events to restore the building. Below current picture of the schoolhouse.
408 East Main Street: The Chi Omega House
Another structure that was well preserved by the current owners, Claude & Jean Garelik, is a home located at 408 East Main Street. The house, built before the turn of the 20th century, was owned by several people starting with Martin J. Lewis, brother of Adele Inman and Anna Thompson who lived in houses to the south. He built the house in the late 1900’s. The next long-time owner was Elon C. Barton, a very successful merchant and business partner of the Thompsons’. From 1937 to 1954, the house was used as a sorority house for Chi Omega. When they left to inhabit a newly built sorority house, the Trinity Lutheran Church purchased the house and then sold it to Niels Urup, a contractor and builder of several houses in Vermillion. The three subsequent owners were Sylvester Clifford, a Communications Disorders Professor, Ted and Karen Muenster, and Jonathan Van Patten, School of Law Professor. The Gareliks did much to renovate and preserve the historic quality of the house.
The only major change in the outside of the house from earlier picture when it was the Chi Omega house is the removal a railing on the second-floor level.
The Gothic Round Roof Barn 30081 456th Ave. Wakonda, SD
The next award went to Joe Sokolowski who has preserved and maintained a very large and majestic dairy barn that was preserved over one hundred and ten years. According to Jim Stone who surveyed the barn it was built about 1910 for Rasmus Conrad, an early Clay County settler. The large barn is 72 feet long, 36 feet wide, and 34 feet high with lofts for hay and grain. Large number of windows are located on the west and east walls. Four-foot-high concrete walls are on all sides of the exterior walls, with 2×6’ walls 4’ 6” tall, and 2×6’ walls on the north and south walls up to the rafters. The hayloft is supported by 6×6‘ posts with a 3-ply 2×10’ beam that supports 2×8’ joist for the hayloft floor. Mr. Sokolowski did a great job of bracing the roof and covering the roof and walls with steel.
Special Recognition Award
The last award was presented to Evelyn Schlenker, a member of CCHPC. Jim Wilson presented the award to Evelyn for publishing six books about the history of Vermillion and Clay County, as editor of the CCHPC section of the Joint Newsletter, an organizer of the Missouri Valley Historic Preservation Conference in 2018, preserving parts of the Thompson House in an exhibit at the W. H. Over Museum. This project was spearheaded by Jim Stone with assistance by Gary Bottolfson. She has been a steadfast advocate for preservation in the many talks she presented.